Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin (Anglais) Relié – 3 décembre 2013
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Unfortunately, I was pretty underwhelmed. With a title like "The Ninth Assassin" I was hoping for a wuxia-style drama with plenty of fights and duels and an interesting story). The first issue's setup is good - nice interesting way of setting the scene, and introducing the titular Ninth Assassin. There's a nice scene that makes him look to be an interesting character. After the first issue, though, it falls apart. Despite the title, Vader spends most of his time fighting a strange cult on a backwater planet, and the Ninth Assassin merely happens to be following Vader along, with their eventual showdown feeling like an afterthought.
The biggest flaw of the story is that Vader is never in danger at any point. He slices his way through the jungle planet's creatures with ease, wipes out the cult with ease, and defeats the assassin without any problem. This does not have the makings of a dramatic story. Neither the cult or the Assassin are interesting or get a chance to truly shine, and instead become instantly forgettable foes. The reader learns nothing new about Vader.
The artwork is good - nice and bright and bold, though the splash pages aren't always stunning. Ultimately, a fairly middling offering. If all you want is Darth Vader kicking butt, you'll probably like it, but if you want more, look elsewhere.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
The real business of building a Galactic Empire truly took place in those fitful days following the events depicting cinematically in STAR WARS: EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH. That’s when Darth Vader – at Emperor Palpatine’s behest – went about the thuggish business of bringing rebellious star systems under Imperial control. In the process, Vader naturally broke a few eggs – meaning to say that he killed innocent people in order to instill fear – and it’s this fertile time that Tim Siedell and his creative crew seek to mine in DARTH VADER AND THE NINTH ASSASSIN.
Essentially, the story boils down to these elements:
A. Vader kills a powerful businessman’s son, and that father wants his vengeance.
B. Said angry dad hires his very own lethal assassin to put Vader six feet under.
C. Eight failed attempts later, said angry dad finally finds a ‘Ninth Assassin’ who just may be up to the task (hence the miniseries’ title).
D. Vader and the Ninth Assassin play a game of galaxy-wide cat-and-mouse, attempting to bring all of this to closure in five issues.
I guess there’s nothing wrong with the idea of plunking a lumbering menace like Vader into the unlikely position of conducting a police procedural – which is basically how a large chunk of NINTH ASSASSIN plays to the audience – but what Siedell accomplishes here is a very far cry from anything that could be called “Vader, P.I.” This largely nameless assassin crafts a compelling idea – he needs to get the Dark Lord out of his element and into foreign territory, away from the Empire’s prying eyes, where the deed can be done in quiet; so he hatches a plot to imperil the Emperor (or so we’re lead to believe). Unfortunately, for all of the man’s cunning, more time is spent with this somewhat goofy subplot – there’s a secret cult on a distant deserted world that somehow has foreseen Vader’s rise to power (it’s never quite clear, but, in the end, comes off more as a fabrication than anything else). When the two finally go mano-a-mano for the big finish (or what seems like a big finish), it’s a surprisingly short and ineffectual showdown, so much so one wonders what so much ado was about.
The artwork is perpetually appealing, as is the case with most of Dark Horse’s forays in the galaxy far, far away, which only underscores why this NINTH ASSASSIN is little more than a one-time affair.
STAR WARS: DARTH VADER AND THE NINTH ASSASSIN is published by Dark Horse Comics. The script is written by Tim Siedell; the pencils are done by Stephen Thompson and Ivan Fernandez; the inks have been provided by Mark Irwin, Denis Freitas, Drew Geraci, and Jason Gorder; the colors have been done by Michael Atiyeh; and the lettering was completed by Michael Heisler. As you well should know by now, STAR WARS is the creation of George Lucas. The volume collects individual issues previously published in five installments, and all of this comes with a cover price of $24.99 (USA).
(MILDLY) RECOMMENDED. Meh. As much as I liked some of the elements leading into DARTH VADER AND THE NINTH ASSASSIN, where it eventually took readers was through a web of ideas and themes that have already been amply explored in the vast STAR WARS Universe. Yeah, we know Palpatine is always pulling Vader’s strings. Yeah, we know that Vader is always looking for another way to please his master. If the only tweak you can bring to the material is that you posit the Dark Lord into a set of circumstances that require him to behave like Sherlock Holmes, then maybe the tale isn’t one worth exploring further after all. It’s fine for a one-off read; trust me when I conclude it has virtually zero re-read quality.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital reading copy of STAR WARS: DARTH VADER AND THE NINTH ASSASSIN by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
A lot of the action that happens is simple implied and you don't ever get to see it. They show pictures of the first 8 assassins and their dead bodies but nothing else. I could have rolled with that but the way the 9th assassin was handled just seemed very anti-climatic. After that i thought i would at least get to see a fight with the guy that 'hired' the assassin, nope don't get to see that fight either.
overall it is an entertaining read but it's more action based than plot. I'm not sure why this series is released in hardback only. It wouldn't be as big of a deal if you could get the book in TP, it would be much cheaper to find used that way.