by Victoria Irwin
Darth Vader is not the type of guy to sit back and relax after someone attacks his Emperor. After a failed assassination attempt on Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader goes on a mission to investigate and presumably destroy the assassin in question. In the previous issues of this series, Darth Vader discovers the orbiting remains of an empty Star Destroyer and determines that it was destroyed by a single blast from a weapon on the moon below it. Vader’s entire guard is slain by an unknown assassin as he lands on the moon to discover what power the weapon must have had. He enters the Temple of the Headless Snake, a cult-like settlement on the moon that has latched onto a prophecy involving the visage of one looking quite like Vader. Amidst a sea of settler that appear to have a terrible form of leprosy, Vader is welcomed as a god. He gains access to the inner circle of the temple and faces off against the leaders of the Headless Snake cult.
Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin does a wonderful job of removing some of the sting of the era of Jar-Jar Binks. Tim Siedell does not mess around and try to make Darth Vader into some whiny child who just needs love and acceptance. He blatantly shows the complete disregard for carbon-based life forms that Vader was originally known for, in addition to his loyalty to the cause of the Emperor. Vader says little but has no qualms about destroying an entire moon to get the answers he came for. The Darth Vader in Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin feels like the version I was raised with.
Stephen Thompson’s pencils are wonderfully enhanced by the work of Mark Irwin, Drew Geraci and Jason Gorder on inks. Add in the grim and eerie color work of Michael Atiyeh and you get the complete package of a leprous cult bent on the desire to bring absolute chaos to the universe. So many panels could be single-handedly removed and turned into a poster or some form of marketing. The panels are well thought out and well structured. This is something that Dark Horse does over and over with their comic series. They take a core concept and insert a spread of incredible art work to give both the fans of the franchise and the general comic book reader something they can stare at for some time.
With well constructed art and a story-line that gives Darth Vader back some of his cold strength, Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin is a winner of Dark Horse. The story arc concluded with next months issue.