VADER DOWN – Full Crossover Series Review

All hail the Dark Lord of the Sith! Darth Vader is the quintessential bad ass and the anchor of the massive Star Wars Universe. We all know his character well because we’ve seen it all: his origin, his tragic descent/transformation, his ruthless enforcement, and his ultimate redemption. Vader is a good enough character that even after seeing all these character highlights, it’s easy to feel like you still haven’t seen enough. Thankfully, Marvel has us covered with their ongoing superb treatment of the Star Wars Universe.




VADER DOWN was their first “crossover” event which started as a standalone issue then continued split between their ongoing STAR WARS and DARTH VADER comic arcs. The full arc takes place through the following issues:


  • Vader Down, Part 1 (11/18/15)
  • Darth Vader #13 (11/25/15)
  • Star Wars #13 (12/2/15)
  • Darth Vader #14 (12/23/15)
  • Star Wars #14 (1/6/16)
  • Darth Vader #15 (1/6/16)


As a whole, VADER DOWN was just alright. I’m glad I followed the whole thing even though I felt slightly unfulfilled when it concluded. It’s hard not to have really high expectations when you think about Darth Vader facing the entire Rebel army alone. In reality, the six issues seemed to spend more time on the other characters. I get that the whole reason Vader crashed on the planet was because of Luke (in a great kamikaze move), but I sort of expected more of the focus to be on the actual Sith Lord. Fortunately, the scenes where he does face the rebel army were well done.

The best moments came from the terrifying confidence Vader exudes. When told to surrender because he’s surrounded, he replies, “All I am surrounded by is fear and dead men.” In all later moment Leia tells him that he and the Emperor will lose this war. Darth Vader responds something to the effect of, “men like the Emperor and I are above war. This is nothing but a series of executions.” The dialogue in these moments couldn’t possibly be better. I can practically hear James Earl Jones reading those lines.

One of the largest obstacles in comics is delivering the and appropriate balance of action and individual achievement while contributing to a larger story. VADER DOWN could be a much better read as a trade paper (preorder link above the picture) since it’s all there as one cohesive story. My first instinct was to give this 6 out of 10…. but Vader always gets bonus points with me!


My rating of the STAR WARS: VADER DOWN full crossover series is 7 out of 10.

7 out of 10

Batman #48 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

Batman #48 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo


Two words can summarize the latest issue of Scott Snyder’s current ongoing Batman story – “HOLY CRAP!”


I hadn’t planned on writing a review post of this one… but it left me reeling to the point where I have to at least give it a quick write up. Prior to this issue, the previous high point in the Mr. Bloom story arc was without question Issue #44 (also my favorite single issue of 2015). That issue, however, was set apart in the timeline so it can be classified slightly differently from the other entries regardless of relevance. Now, with the release of #48, we have two highpoints in this new era of the Dark Knight.


It is very hard to say anything about Batman #48 without spoilers. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the read quite as much if I’d gone into it with any knowledge apart from what I’d gathered reading the preceding issues. To prove it’s worth your attention, I’ll try to highlight my favorite points in vague-ish bullet points:


  • Having a core villain portrayed as any level of sympathetic character is a difficult task that this issue executes wonderfully.
  • Bloom is creepy as hell. He’s like an abstract painting of the unholy lovechild created by blending Gotham’s worst.
  • The punches come quick and then ending leaves you drooling for more.
  • I suspect Scott Snyder sold his soul to the devil. How else can he be involved in so many great stories?
  • Greg Capullo’s style brings impact and life to moments that could be easily forgotten in the hands of a lesser artist.
  • Knowing the finale (issue #50) is so close seriously heightens the tension.


My rating of Batman #48 is 9 out of 10. If you’re not reading this, YOU SHOULD BE. It doesn’t get much better.

9 out of 10

Road to Disappointment: The Amazon Fire HD 6

Amazon normally deserves the all-around-awesome award. It’s because of this that I am pained to admit I’ve become quite disappointed with them recently. My disappointment is thanks to the Fire HD 6…. please allow me to provide some background to explain why…..

The Amazon Fire HD 6



My original intent was to get the newer 7″ version and ordered four (one for each family member) the day after Thanksgiving. Disclaimer – I’m not a Black Friday shopper. Our whole family is a firm supporter of Small Business Saturday. The order was shamefully placed on Black Friday only because I feared stock levels would quickly vanish and I’d be shit out of luck. A few days after placing the order I saw that it the status changed and now it wasn’t expected to be fulfilled until a month later – after Christmas. Fearing that my family’s “big present” wouldn’t arrive in time, I opted to cancel the order and pay MORE for the Fire HD 6 since that showed in stock. A quick glance at the technical aspects reaffirmed my decision; Fire HD 6 seemed like an all around better device and thus Christmas morning would be saved.


Soon after I received half of my order (the tablets meant for my wife and I) while the other half (which was meant for my kids) was evidently delayed. Every few days my inbox chimed with new Amazon-estimated anticipated delivery dates. Each time they sent a request for me to approved later deliveries. Them: “Do you still want your order?” Me: “Yes, god dammit. It’s all my kids want for Christmas.” Those dates came and went while my anxieties flourished. The whole purchase had transformed into a stressful experience – something that I’d never gotten from my dealings with Amazon.


The delay grew longer and longer until it was suddenly the week of Christmas – nearly a month after placing my original order. My trust in their online order tracking was totally diminished. Finally, I contacted Amazon support. As per their usual, they flexed their customer service muscle and resolved the issue. The colored tablets I ordered were no longer available so my kids had to settle for black ones (they’ll live). Amazon even credited me the difference for expedited shipping and the sale price to match what I originally paid. It took a second request before my refund was actually issued, but in the end I was satisfied.


All seemed to be well after the big reveal. My kids were ecstatic about having their own electronic escape. Amazon has structured an excellent parental control system so I can remotely stop their use before it turns into chemical dependence. It was a lot of fun watching them explore the functions while embracing different qualities in their own way. I was so pleased with the foothold Amazon had formed in my house, that I decided to sign up for their Prime Service to further my support. Amazon would have to share my soul with Google…. There’s plenty to go around.


It didn’t take long for my son to fill his 8GB memory capacity with stupid videos or animations of his own design. Since my own tablet had already become moderately full, I made my first Prime purchase a five pack of 16GB micro SD cards. Isn’t it nice how you can expand the capabilities of phones or tablets with a memory card the size of a multivitamin? But wait…. where the hell is the micro SD port? The Fire HD 6 inexplicably was not designed with any manner of card port. I’m kicking myself for not reviewing the specs for longer than a quick glance.


As a whole, the device could have been the best tablet/reader around for the price. The screen is bright (even if it could use a better night reading function), the sound is decent, and the learning curve isn’t insurmountable. I’d happily recommend it… but now I can’t do that. Yes, this review is more like a long rant. I probably would have received it better if my order experience went as smoothly as Amazon typically is. Without that buffer of satisfaction, I had little problem dropping my rating solely due to this unnecessary limitation. Otherwise you’d be reading an 8.5 review.


Amazon has supposedly addressed many of these failings in newer versions. Are improvements expected in new models? Of course! What has me angry is that this shouldn’t have been an area that needed improving. Hell, even the lesser version (that I originally TRIED to buy) has expandable memory. Remember Pocket PCs? I had one around 15 years ago back in High School. It took months upon months of saving to buy that big, dinky, and fairly useless device. Even with all of those qualities, I can say that IT HAD AN SD SLOT!


My rating of the Amazon Fire HD 6 is a shameful 4.5 out of 10.

4 out of 10Half a star.png


Next time I have a tablet purchase it will most likely be outside of Amazon. You let me down, Amazon. Kindly return some of my soul now.