Writer Tim Siedell and artist Stephen Thompson bring us a story shortly after the events of the Clone Wars and Order 66. At the beginning, Vader strikes down and kills a young man during a trade negotiation (classic Anakin!) which prompts the victim's father to seek aid in destroying Vader for revenge. He hires eight different assassins, all of whom end up dead before the story even begins. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and he calls upon a ninth assassin do what the other eight couldn't: Kill Vader.
Personally, there doesn't seem to be much threat here considering we know how things pan out for Vader in the end (Hint: he's still alive in the original trilogy.), but I still enjoyed the tone of the comic as a whole. This story begins, much like the aforementioned stories Ghost Prison and Purge, very dark. These comics are more mature than I ever would have expected, and so I really love seeing this side of the Star Wars universe.
There is something that never sits right with me, however, when it comes to the comics. This is mainly a personal quibble, but I never really "buy" the creatures in Star Wars comics. They just don't have that Star Wars "feel" to them and kind of come off as over-the-top, which really takes me out of the story sometimes. That's why when I saw a giant, red demonoid figure gracing the cover of this issue entitled "The Ninth Assassin," my mind had already assumed Vader and this creature would be duking it out and that was unsettling for me. That said, I did enjoy the way things turned out, and so, without giving away any spoilers, I'll mention this first issue has some nice twists towards the end that had me eager for Issue #2.
So far, The Ninth Assassin has the potential to be just as engrossing as the preceding Vader books and definitely worth picking up.