Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4

Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 (of 5)

Writer: Tim Siedell
Penciller: Stephen Thompson
Inkers: Mark Irwin, Drew Geraci, Jason Gorder
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Ariel Olivetti

Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 takes a step toward The Twilight Zone as things get weird. The inhabitants of the Temple of the Headless Snake prove to be very strange, and their origins remain mysterious. They present Darth Vader with the offer of immense power: an incredible weapon, an army and the chance to rule the galaxy by himself. Will Vader remain loyal to the Empire? Will he take advantage of this opportunity to break free of his chains? Thankfully, this issue does not keep the reader hanging.

In the last issue, the assassin decided to let Vader venture into the temple by himself. It would appear that was a wise choice. The people who live in the temple are a rather odd lot. Their physical appearances are badly deformed, most likely due to the surging green beam of power that courses through their temple. They also seem to worship chaos and are eager to embrace the death of their fellow comrades. Whereas the Jedi believe in a balance of the Force, and the Sith believe in dominating it, the Temple of the Headless snake believes in chaos. They want someone who can fulfill their prophecy.

“One who can slay the Jedi snake. One who can destroy the Empire snake. One who can bring chaos to the galaxy at last.”

But their bizarre beliefs are just the tip of the iceberg. In order to receive the knowledge of their weapon, they make Vader go through a purification process. This involves an eerie green pool, creepy vines and an experience similar to the one Luke had on Dagaboh. But the Dark Lord doesn’t have visions of striking himself down or fighting his son, he sees his greatest foes: Obi-Wan and the Emperor. The scene is simultaneously cool and strange. It’s full of symbology. Yet it also raises many more questions.

At that point, Vader makes his choice.

Personally, I think he chose well and it wraps up the issue. As odd as this issue was, I liked the weirdness of it. It was a fun escape from the usual storylines that are done with Star Wars and a little reminiscent of some of the stories Paul S. Kemp and Troy Denning have been doing in the novels. This issue was definitely leaning toward the fantasy side of things instead of the sci-fi side.

The visuals in this issue were great looking and Stephen Thompson is back as the penciller. Vader is captured perfectly and gets some really awesome shots that are out of the ordinary during his vision. There is a definite nod to Ralph McQuarrie that creeps in there. The art team also does a great job of making the inhabitants of the temple look creepy, especially the high priests. My only teeny, tiny gripe is that the cover shows Vader fighting the monster from the last issue who has nothing to do with this one. It’s a cool looking cover and would have been great if it showed up on the previous one. Here, it just serves as a misrepresentation of what readers can expect.

With only one more issue to go, there’s still quite a bit that needs to be wrapped up. What will Vader do with his new gift? What will happen to the assassin? Will we actually see something unexpected? So far, this series has done a great job of doing the unexpected. This issue definitely captured it in full force. I’ll admit, it might be too weird for some Star Wars fans, but I liked it. A little variety helps spice up the EU and keeps the stories lively. I give Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin #4 a five out of five metal bikinis. It dares to go places that others might hesitate to venture, and by doing so, tells a story that stands apart.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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