One of the truths when reading a Star Wars comic is the belief that you’ll get information that’ll flesh out the movie narrative. We all want more and Star Wars comics offer potentially more entertainment from everything from the characters to plot details that lead to the bigger events. This month we get the next installment with far more story to read, but still a reliance on great art. That brings up the simple question, is it good?
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
Check out our review of #3 here.
Content is key. If your comic is short on story or short on art you’ll probably get a lower grade. A balance needs to be struck, which is why some of the best comics are written and drawn by a single person. Last month I wasn’t too happy with Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #3 because a huge chunk of it had no words; just tons of, admittedly, great art. This month we get the next installment with far more story to read, but still a reliance on great art. This series takes place only a few months after Episode 3 and offers plenty of tidbits to flesh out the story until A New Hope. So far this series has introduced a cult even Darth Vader and the Emperor fear and at the same time an assassin is tailing Darth Vader.
Time for a vision quest!
The previous three issues were told with incredible clarity, though at a rather slow rate for my tastes. Issue #2 was incredible, but #1 and #3 both leaned too much on the art to keep the reader happy. This issue, writer Tim Siedell has Darth Vader discover a secret cult that isn’t all smoke and mirrors. In fact, their power source shows Darth a set of three futures, two of which we know to become true and a third that’ll make Galactus fans chitter with glee.
It’s this bit that helps separate this from other Star Wars comics and make the story matter. It seems the events in this issue may have a resounding effect on Darth Vader, at least subliminally, so that when he does have to make a choice between Luke and the Emperor he’ll end up making the right one.
If this is the future, why doesn’t he look like Alec Guinness?
This cult seems to have been worshipping Darth Vader for quite awhile, or at least a visually similar effigy. It makes you wonder if the assassin following Darth was the true savior as he has a similar looking helmet. Most of this issue deals with Vader learning about the cult and his choice in dealing with them. That means a second straight issue with no assassin sightings or plot development. Funny, considering the title of the series, but it’s always welcome when the story is surprising and interesting as it is here.
Penciler Stephen Thompson continues to dazzle and seems to be having some fun with the radiation poisoning these cultists are getting. Their rotting flesh and missing teeth look disturbingly gross and one particular dude seems to have a cleft forehead that’ll make you shiver in disgust.
Galactus Darth Vader!
- Beautiful art
- Compelling connection to the original trilogy
- Where’s the assassin?!
- Flat villains
Ultimately this issue offers a nice side quest for Darth Vader, but doesn’t push the assassin story forward much, if at all. The art is good, and the connection to the overarching movie universe is strong enough to make any fan giddy with anticipation. Once again the art will blow you away and there’s plenty of story and dialogue to keep you guessing at every turn.
Is It Good?
Yes. This up and down series, in the single issue format at least, is turning out to be an incredibly rich and satisfying tale indeed.
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