Best issue of the series thus far. And with that said I feel like this series is making a fool out of me because I’m not the type of reviewer that says that every month about a series. Yet this series, Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin, continues to surprise the hell out of me. I don’t want to be a broken record, but each time I think the series is going to calm down or have a disappointing turn, it punches me in the gut and sprays me in the face with a squirt gun full of bleach. Frankly, it’s getting ridiculous so I’m just going to say that each issue will continue to somehow be better than the last starting now… and the three other times before this issue. Vader entered the temple of the headless snake and was worshiped by the people inside instantly. It was a bit confusing to him, to have so many people bowing before him as if he were a lord (Sith Lord if you know what I mean). After that his inbred mush-faced guide begins walking him through the temple and telling him about the prophecy of his arrival. He’s to cut the head off of two snakes and leave the third snake alive forever and ever. The third snake is the chaos that will spread throughout the galaxy. He meets with the three elders of the cult and they tell him more about what he’s supposed to do and he nearly kills them, but then they get excited for their deaths… Vader ignores them and continues to ask how the weapon they have works. His ebola-faced guide tells him that in order to enter the chamber he must first be cleansed. He takes Vader to a room and tells him to look into a glowing pot of water. There he sees some pretty awesome things involving both his old master and current master.
The reason I was surprised by this issue so much was due to the fact that so much happens in the beginning that you begin to feel like the ending is going to be a disappointment. It happens a lot in comics; they kick off with a great start, but then just leave you on a cliffhanger and assume that’s enough to bring you back. Not here, there’s resolution. In fact that last page was probably my favorite and should be yours as well.
Siedell continues to find new ways of making Darth Vader a complete and total bad-ass. If I walked into a temple where an entire society was living and functioning and they all had creepy ass faces I would probably shit my pants and prepare to be their next meal. Of course I don’t have Jedi/Sith abilities, but even still Vader walks into unknown territory and just plays along with the crazies until he gets what he wants. Siedell is writing the best Star Wars title currently being published. Sorry other SW titles, but you don’t even compare. When the “expanded universe” first became popular it was because of stories like this that actually added weight to the franchise and the characters.
The art on this series continues to be amazing. It’s a different artist from the last issue yet again, but I honestly couldn’t spot the difference. The landscape was very different from the last issue and each artist manages to illustrate Vader very realistically. It’s quite amazing and Thompson does a great job of drawing so many disgustingly creepy cultists. Also, again the final page is spectacular.
I’m not joking when I say that this series ups the ante every issue. Usually when that occurs, the series stumbles and who knows that could happen in the next issue, but for now it manages to impress me each and every month. How many other comics make a reader that excited? Hell, I haven’t enjoyed a Star Wars comic this much in years! Do yourself a favor and pick this series up because it’s not receiving nearly enough praise for how good it is and it’s well worth it.
Writer: Tim Siedell
Artist: Stephen Thompson
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 7/17/13