By Boyd Reynolds | Staff Writer Published: 07/17/2013 10:00 am EST
Publish date: July 17, 2013 Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 picks up right where the last installment left off. In the Temple of the Ancient Snake, Darth Vader is looking for the culprit responsible for an assassination attempt on the Emperor. But an unexpected development awaits Vader—the creepy inhabitants of the temple have been waiting for him for over a thousand years. Vader is greeted by an old man who takes the Dark Lord of the Sith to a wall of hieroglyphics. There is a drawing of Vader defeating two snakes and chopping off the head a third. The followers believe Vader has been sent to be their leader. But it’s not wise to upset our favorite Sith Lord. The result is not what the temple-dwellers had hoped. Chaos ensues, as Vader wreaks havoc on the temple.
Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 is a decent read, but writer Tim Siedell’s fourth episode didn’t light a fire under me like last month’s edition did. What makes it less engaging than its predecessor are the inhabitants of the Temple of the Ancient Snake. They’re your standard old, wrinkly evil-doers who are plotting and scheming, or, in the case of this comic, waiting for their chaotic prophet to arrive. There weren’t many surprises, except one which piqued my interest.
The prophecy of Darth Vader bringing chaos to the galaxy is an interesting twist. He was believed by Qui-Gon Jinn to be the Chosen One, the one to bring balance to the Force. Now this eventually happened when Vader gave the Emperor the Bodyslam of the Century at the end of Episode VI—Return of the Jedi. But he did create much chaos in between. In an odd way, both prophecies came true, only taking many destructive paths along the way.
Stephen Thompson’s artwork is good inDarth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4. The most visually enticing sequence of panels is when Vader goes through the purification process in order to learn more about the weapon he covets—the Basis. Reminiscent of The Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo looked into the green waters of the Mirror of Galadriel, Vader too sees his possible future. He can become all powerful, the most powerful agent in the entire Star Wars universe, vanquishing two of his greatest mentors. For lack of a better term, the Ring of Power is laying before Vader. He has seen his destiny. Which path will he choose? And can he turn away from becoming the most powerful man in the universe? Come on guys, what man could really resist? Isn’t the temptation to be “the bomb” too tantalizing? Perhaps that’s only a concern for those of us who have succumbed to our darker halves before, wanting things to nurture us that are symbols of power, not feelings from a truer form—love, integrity, honor. You know, all that Jedi stuff. The dark side, once given a taste, has a seductive call. Vader succumbed to it. Would we be any different? I can only hope.
Overall, Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 is an above average comic, but not exceedingly so. Perhaps I was spoiled coming out of last month, where it was all Vader, all the time, his lightsaber cutting through all in his path. This episode was more subdued, much like Vader waiting for his chance to strike, as he finally did at comic’s end.