SPOILER REVIEW: "Darth Vader #9: Into the Fire, Part IV: The Assassin Returns" by Greg Pak
If you enjoy action and odd humor, this issue had both in spades. It felt like a major departure from what we've been getting in this arc with its dark and gritty depiction of Vader surviving and rebuilding himself sans Force on Mustafar, as well as his flashbacks to his life as Anakin and the lies Palpatine told him. Honestly, this change in tone didn't really stick the landing for me, but it was still fun and oddly funny regardless.
Ochi of Bestoon has returned to Mustafar (I didn't realize he had left the planet in the first place...) and has brought back with him the sassy Droid Crush Pirates of Bestoon. Yes, I said sassy droid pirates. I would love to know more about their history! Apparently the assassin has promised these pirates high technology and "The Empire's greatest weapon!" but all they encounter is a Vader who has scavenged decrepit droid parts to fix his broken body...certainly nothing new or shiny. These droid pirates are none to pleased with Ochi's lie and nearly kill him, while also attempting to kill Vader, and of course failing miserably, but Vader pulls Ochi to safety just in the nick of time. The action throughout this section of the issue is pretty stellar in its illustrative depiction! So I will give the comic that for sure. The lettering of the sound words is gorgeously descriptive and really pulled me into the story.
As for the humor, the droids are very talkative and one says, "This is karked." in response to the misinformation provided by Ochi. I love when Star Wars comes up with new curse words! And the droids keep being sassy, saying things that show how highly they regard themselves, only to have Vader continually knock them down a few pegs.
The humor continues as Vader and Ochi arrive at Anakin's abandoned Jedi starfighter and there's a large escape pod parked next to it. Well, there's only room for one in the starfighter so guess what Vader plans on doing with Ochi? Let's just say Ochi goes from being a tough, scary dude to being a total wimp, something I had not expected at all! During this transformation of Ochi into a simpering weakling, he does give in and shows Vader how to use the wayfinder, telling the dark lord that it will take him to Exegol, a planet Vader is not familiar with.
I couldn't be more excited to see what Vader finds on Exegol!!! Will there be Sith acolytes there?? Will it look the same as in Rise of Skywalker?? Or will it have a newer appearance since this takes place more than 30 years before the Skywalker Saga finale?? The next issue can't come soon enough.
SCORE: 7/10 - the sassy droids gave this issue a boost, but Ochi's change of demeanor just really threw me off
"Darth Vader #9: Into the Fire, Part IV: The Assassin Returns" written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Raffaele Ienco and Neeraj Menon
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