I for one dislike how little play the Imperial Guard gets in Star Wars. Here we have a group of silent, red robed sentries who look bad-ass enough to take out any Wookie that even bleats their way without much to show for themselves. (Shh, don’t tell George.) The wait is over, at least this week, as Darth Vader takes two of these guards on a mission to a swamp planet. Sadly this comic isn’t titled Imperial Guard and the Ninth Assassin, so I don’t see them coming out on top, but maybe this issue will! Is it good?
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #3 (Dark Horse Comics)
If you missed our review of #2 click here.
After the first issue, which was a bit slow and heavy on images with little to no dialogue issue number two blew me away. We witnessed the Emperor actually being afraid of something, a dark power that seems magic based, and Darth Vader unsure of who or what his enemy is. This issue follows Darth and his two Imperial Guards as they seemingly walk right into the Ninth Assassins’ trap. When I say walk, I mean that literally, because a huge chunk of this book is spent watching them walk through a swamp getting attacked by giant alien monsters.
Don’t make me use your middle names!
Because so much time is spent with Darth and the guards — not much is said. There also isn’t any narration to speak of which is probably a style choice more than anything. Usually in comics like this the main character thinks about things or pieces things together in his thoughts. By choosing not to have any of that this comic will breeze right by and could probably be read in literally a few minutes. There are 11 pages with no words on them save for sound effects and another 3 with a combined total of seven words. Talk about saving on black ink.
DUN DUNNN DUNNNNN!
That’s not to say Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #3 is lacking, because it’s really incredible what Ivan Fernandez is doing here. This could easily be a 15 minute read if you look at the beautiful art as long as it deserves. The monsters in the Star Wars universe are usually there for set dressing or cameo purposes. Here though, they get the main bits of action, chomping on guards and slithering away. Or getting their heads knocked in by Darth. Obviously this trek is important as far as the Ninth Assassins’ plan, but it probably should have been cut down a bit to leave more for the story.
No, I DON’T want to park where all the empty ships are…
- The art will floor you at times
- Imperial Guards get some play!
- The story progresses…but not to a satisfactory place
It’s hard to give this book a lower grade when the artwork and overarching story are so interesting, but much like film, comics can’t just be images. A story needs to be told, and while, yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, there should be a balance struck. More than likely this series will be phenomenal collected, but as single issues go this one goes by way too fast.
Is It Good?
Meh. It’s almost there, but if you’re a sucker for art you should buy this one for sure.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!