If you’re looking for a Vader story that doesn’t go too deep and has a high body count, then this week’s Star Wars hardcover release will be right up your alley. Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin, written by Tim Siedell with art by Stephen Thompson and Ivan Fernandez, is an enjoyable enough tale even if it’s not precisely groundbreaking.
A father is heartbroken over his son’s death at the hands of Darth Vader so he hires eight assassins to try and enact revenge for him. All of them fail. He pays a high price to hire the titular ninth assassin who follows Vader to a more distant planet to track a dark and powerful force that seems to be blocking their senses. Darth Vader will have far more to deal with than he anticipated.
It’s a decent enough read if you’re looking for a Vader centric book. That’s actually the strength of the book or at least one of them. (The other strength would be the Emperor but that’s diving into spoiler territory.) It’s absolutely a Vader story. It only briefly dives deeper into his psyche with a handful of pages where he’s hallucinating but they’re very well done. While the overall story isn’t terribly involved, it’s a neat look at the idea of choice. Plus, of course, we get to see Vader kill people. A lot of people. It’s not rocks fall and everyone dies; it’s Vader happens and everyone dies.
The Ninth Assassin never really does anything beside stalk Vader. Slightly off panel, we see him kill a heck of a lot of people but other than that, he’s just a masked character who ultimately fails at his task. Other than that, readers get to learn nothing about him.
The artwork is serviceable and decent enough although not remarkable. The best page is the one where they come out of hyperspace mostly for how the glow of hyperspace was drawn and colored. The Ninth Assassin also has a neat looking character design. My one main critique is that occasionally Vader’s proportions look a little bit off.
Overall, it’s a decent enough book but it’s not new or exciting. The plotline where Vader tracks down the potential traitors is intriguing enough to catch your interest and keep you engage with the story. If you want more Vader then pick up the book. If you’re interested in seeing Vader as he’s still in the first few years of transitioning from being Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader than this is probably a book you should pick up. However, if you’re looking for a book with tons of layers and lots of fully developed characters than this is probably one you should skip. Again, I’m not saying that this is a poorly done book as it’s certainly enjoyable enough. It’s just likely not everyone’s cup of tea.
I give Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin a 3/5 and only casually recommend it.