Star Wars: Dark Vader and the Ninth Assassin #3 (Dark Horse) is a strange mix of a weak script, good story, and great art. Gone is the mysterious, kuh-kah-kuh-kah-ing Dark Lord of the Sith, replaced by Tim Siedell’s inquisitive talk-loud fellow who can’t help but share all of his inner thoughts with the two equally chatty and nonchalant Imperial Guards—how unprofessional for the Empire’s highest level of service! Only in this book could Vader sound like Captain Kirk, and in fact the book reads much more like a Star Trek adventure than it does Star Wars.
This issue follows Vader and his red-robed companions to the nameless moon where the last issue started, in the midst of a Star Destroyer that was literally cut in half by a planet-side laser. I say that the script is weak, and the story good, because Vader uses the Force in a way that Star Wars fans have only dreamed they’d see, including jumping from a Lambda-class shuttle to the Star Destroyer wrecked and throwing a shut-off lightsaber hilt into the mouth of a lunar jungle beast, using the Force to ignite the beam and twirl the monster’s head off. The action explodes with Star Wars quality, but the script is uncomfortable to read; Siedell hasn’t mastered Vader’s voice.
The artistic talent of Iván Fernández (pencils), Denis Freitas (inks), and Michael Atiyeh (colors) bring to life the lush jungle world and Vader’s impressive feats, embodying the very sort of mainstream comics art—somewhere between realist and abstract, yet not cartoony—that typify most Star Wars books.
I’d say that Michael Atiyeh is one of the few colorists that I can recognize by name, not only because he’s one of the Star Wars Zone’s most used, but because his color-use makes the panels vibrant with life, and there’s never a dull moment with panel that are composed even of largely bland colors (I can count at least 4 or 5 shades of black/gray on Vader’s helmet in one panel!)
Issue #3 continues a very intriguing book, with Vader in a temple that you just have to read about and see for yourself. It’s not hard to ignore the clunky script, since several pages are entirely silent, so soak in the narrative art and enjoy!
Story: Tim Siedell Art: Iván Fernández, Denis Freitas, Michael Atiyeh
Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Read
Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.