REVIEW: Darth Vader And The Ninth Assassin #2 (of 5)

by

Or – “I Find Your Lack Of Faith Disturbing…”

As the Empire dawns, the Dark Lord of the Sith and his nefarious master work to consolidate their absolute power.  We know from Star Wars that it worked, but it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters…  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

DarthVaderCoverDARTH VADER AND THE NINTH ASSASSIN #2
Writer: Tim Siedell
Penciler: Stephen Thompson
Inker: Mark Irwin
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Editor: Dave Marshall
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in Darth Vader And The Ninth Assassin: “The Clone Wars have come to a long-awaited end.  The galaxy is now under a new government, and expected to bow to any and all dictates of Emperor Palpatine and his mysterious apprentice Darth Vader…”  But things are not yet entirely under the thumb of Palpatine’s iron fist, whatever that means, and some still harbor a hidden distaste for the new regime.  When an assassin comes after the man once known as Anakin Skywalker, things get interesting for the newly-minted Vader.

PRETTY TO LOOK AT…

There’s a strange kind of feeling that I get when it comes to the Star Wars expanded universe…  We all have our internal compass of what stories “really happened,” and which didn’t, and many of the endless tales of the EU are waay of the beaten path of things I accept as real.  (The fact that the writers of the stories often seem to be warring against each other to make sure their guys are the coolest doesn’t help, he said about everything involved Mandalorians.)  Still, this book feels appropriate to the tone of the movie universe, taking place after Episode III, as a young Vader works to help solidify his boss’s power.  The opening sequence is fascinating, too, as a shuttle docks on a Star Destroyer with a mysterious man inside.  He screams something, and explodes, leaving the commander to smirk about the awkward and unsuccessful attempt at sabotage…  until a giant beam slices his entire ship in two, causing it to explode.  I really like this moment, and it does give me a reason to consider that Vader and Palpatine might actually have a fight on their hands…

WEIRDLY DISTANT.

Of course, worrying about their fates is made a little bit less engaging, as I saw both of their deaths on the big screen roughly 3 decades ago.  That sort of thing can be overcome by a sufficiently engaging story, but this issue feels very remote story-wise, with vague discussion of ancient evils, and blocked senses, leaving Vader somewhat blind to the future.  The issue fades to black as Vader flies off into danger (having executed a couple of Crimson Guardsmen guys for their incompetence), with a promise that danger awaits, but throghout the issue he uses his mighty telekinetic Force-powers to take down anything that bother him, and even if things go pear-shaped, there’s never any real show of weakness that engages me in the story…

THE BOTTOM LINE: LIGHT-WEIGHT, BUT NOT BAD.

As far as things go, the dialogue is such that you can hear Ian Macwhozits and The CNN Guy reading the lines without much trouble, and Vader is his usual nasty self throughout.  Artistically, things are strong, with spaceships, armor and mutated Sith all looking great, but the story just sort of meanders through a lethal day-in-the-life, and the worries we are supposed to have (Will the Empire get on it’s feet?  Is Vader in danger?) already have defined canonical answers, which leaves us with just another bit of EU story-telling.  Darth Vader and The Ninth Assassin #2 isn’t a bad story, and with other characters, could be a pretty good one, but is lacking in consequences because of the Star Wars universe, earning an average 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  If you love Vader, or can’t get enough Star Wars, this is probably a book for you…

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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