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We got an early look at Star Wars: Dark Times - A Spark Remains #2 and Star Wars: Darth Vader & the Ninth Assassin #5 thanks to the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics. B.J. Morgan read them, and wants to let you know what he thought!

 

Star Wars: Dark Times - A Spark Remains #2

 

The spark really does remain. Last issue, Dass Jennir and his band of misfits from the Uhumele had a happy reunion, but they quickly got down to the business of cooking up a plan to strike a blow against the Empire. The blow in question? Kill Darth Vader!

This issue doesn’t necessarily move that plot forward too much, but it does offer some great character interactions, especially between Dass Jennir and his lady love Ember. Jedi characters don’t often get love plots, and if they do, they are generally remembered as being laughably bad than anything else (**cough**cough**Anakin & Padme**cough**cough**). It was refreshing to see some interactions between Dass and Ember as they try to navigate this crazy little thing called love.

What didn’t work for me was the excitability over Dass and Ratt’s interactions and the continued subplot of bounty hunter Falco Sang. Bomo whips himself into a frenzy because Ratt and Dass are having secret conversations. This just strikes me as being overly dramatic. The fact that they were building up to an overly inconsequential confrontation between Bomo and Dass was dragged kicking and screaming throughout the issue, and was a little annoying.

 



On the Falco Sang front ... who really cares about this guy? At times, I think we Star Wars fans are guilty of putting too much of a premium on the importance of bounty hunters in a galaxy far, far away. Yes, bounty hunters can be cool, but there are also plenty of bounty hunters established during the time period this story is set that could be used without us having to be introduced to Falco Sang. The summation of his character thus far is to pretty much "try and cause a disruption in front of Darth Vader." The fight with Vader was equally as useless as those depicted in the last few issue of Dark Times.  

The first two issues haven’t been action-packed. Want fighting? Check out Darth Vader & the Ninth Assassin. Need character development? Dark Times is here for you, baby. For those looking for action within the pages of Dark Times, issue #2 ends on a cliffhanger that promises an explosive start to the next issue. Padawans have to show patience in training. Patience in reading this mini-series seems to be just an issue away from great reward.  

(Preview image courtesy of ComicBookResources.com.)



Star Wars: Darth Vader & the Ninth Assassin #5

 

 

This miniseries has alternated between frustrating and entertaining throughout its five issue run. While the speedy delivery of the series has been irksome, there have been some juicy revelations of the Star Wars mythos that been peppered throughout the series. The book seldom takes the time or the depth to dive into those discoveries. This mini-series is the Star Wars equivalent of being a mile wide and an inch deep. It’s a quality I appreciated early on in the mini-series that has now become more of an annoyance.  

My major complaint thus far about this series has been that there isn’t much to reading this comic. The story is being told mainly through visuals, lending a supersonic pace to the series. Readers who get upset because a comic that they purchased for $3.50 takes less than three or four minutes to read will find this series supremely frustrating. There are several pages in this issue that are bereft of dialogue or exposition. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Comic books are a visual medium after all. However, it’s less entertaining when the visuals don’t go any deeper than portraying fisticuffs, which is all readers are ever really treated to in this issue.

The recent Hawkeye #12 should be the textbook case for all future writers contemplating using sparse dialogue and exposition. That issue had depth and meaning, using the art to convey complex and relevant details about the story. This issue doesn’t even begin broach that level of artistry. Don’t get me wrong, the art for this series has provided solid, serviceable illustrations. Many fans might even argue that this is all licensed comics should be expected to do. I don’t agree with that at all. Just because this are someone else’s toys doesn’t mean that it can be devoid of art that capitalizes on ingenuity. Comics fans should demand visuals that offer more than punching and lightsaber slashing.

Another problem this issue has is its dialogue. Darth Vader has been the victim of some rather poor characterization lately. This miniseries has done a good job up to this point of portraying Vader as the bad-ass villain he’s meant to be. This issue inserts some rather specious dialogue that makes Vader come off as ham-fisted. While taking on the moniker’s assassin, Vader tells him, “When you apply for the next job, don’t mention that tree incident back there. Could be embarrassing.” Yes, it could be embarrassing... if a Darth Vader comic is published with that kind of dialogue coming from Darth Vader himself.

Like in my review for issue #4, I wish this review didn’t sound so negative. Ninth Assassin  has been entertaining, but it didn’t offer any new or particularly interesting insights into the Star Wars universe that are going to make me want to take the fifteen minutes to re-read this down the road. Even the parts dealing with the Death Star and prophecy touched on in issue three and four were glossed over so quickly that it lessened their impact. If the creative team is disinterested in their own plot devices, why should I take interest in them?  

 

Star Wars: Dark Times - A Spark Remains #2 and Star Wars: Darth Vader & The Ninth Assassin #5 will be available Wednesday August 21, 2013 from Dark Horse Comics.

 

What's your favorite Star Wars Comic? Let us know below!

 

More Dark Horse on MightyVille:

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #19: A MightyVille Advance Review

Get Drawn Into An Upcoming MIND MGMT Story!

STAR WARS Double-Shot Advance Review

 

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