In Review: Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #1

The cover: This image really frightened me. Not because it’s horrific, but because this creature/character is so unlike anything I’ve seen in a Star Wars book. This character looks more suited to be fighting Conan than my Sith favorite. This is a key scene from the book, but I would have gone with an image of Vader. I can’t blame artist Ariel Olivetti for the design of this character, but I can for the choice. Overall grade: C

The story: Taking place after Episode III, a father seeks revenge (ironic, given the final events of that film) for the death of his son at the hands of the Sith Lord. He seeks a new assassin to kill Vader, since the previous eight were unsuccessful. This is the basic premise of this story by Tim Siedell. Vader’s portrayal is solid, as is the grieving father. This was an average story until Page 18 when a new character enters, and the final page hammers home that this will, indeed, be a dark tale. It’s a long introduction, leaning more on art than story, but it has me wanting more. Overall grade: B

The art: This is a great visual book by penciller Stephen Thompson and inker Mark Irwin. From the first page’s establishment of the doomed son, the meeting room with the Dark Lord overseeing, to a dangerous swamp, and somewhere hidden, the detail on everything is impressive. Of special note are the characters’ faces, such as the father. The backgrounds are very lush and Page 18, panel one’s detail is awesome! I didn’t like the design of the cover character and I’m also uneasy with the look of the new character on the same page: looks great in profile, but too Dark Helmet from the front. The final page is ultra creepy! Overall grade: B+

The colors: Beautiful in every way, even in the swamp–who would have thought that? Particular highlights of Michael Atiyeh’s can be found in the following: Page 3, panel two; Page 7, panel one; Page 11, panel three; and Page 13, panel five. Overall grade: A

The letters: Mostly narration from Michael Heisler this issue. There are a few sound effects, three being very appropriately tiny. For those wanting more sound effects, the final panel of Page 12 will make you very happy! I was! Overall grade: A

The final line: I’m interested, but have a few concerns that I hope next issue will answer. Overall grade: B+

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