Explore the Legends of Star Wars with this Darth Vader Tale
Prep for today's release of Darth Vader #21 with a look back at Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin!
We're in a Star Wars mood with today's releases of DARTH VADER #21 and STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI - ADAPTATION #6, so we thought we'd take a look back at a modern classic story from a galaxy far, far away....
In the wake of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith," but before "Star Wars: A New Hope", Darth Vader wasted no time in making his presence known as a fiercely loyal supporter of Emperor Palpatine. Fulfilling his master's orders with callous and deadly exactness, the Sith Lord made more than a few enemies, including an unnamed industrialist who wanted vengeance after Vader murdered his only son.
To exact that blood debt, the man hired a lineup of assassins, though they all failed. Eventually, the man found a mysterious masked killer who exacted a heavy price in exchange for his services... This is the story told in STAR WARS: DARTH VADER AND THE NINTH ASSASSIN, a five issue limited series in the Legends continuity written by Tim Siedell with pencils by Stephen Thompson and Iván Fernández.
At the time, the Empire found itself dealing with a terrorist group called the Headless Snake, which used devotees as human bombs and seemed to have control of a massive laser that could cut clean through a Star Destroyer. Vader investigated the cult's moon base on orders of the Emperor, though he felt his Jedi senses clouded.
On the strange world, Vader and his pair of Imperial Guards found death, destruction, and mutated monsters at every turn. Eventually, with the assassin watching his every move, Vader came to a large temple and entered, only to discover that the people therein seemed to think his visit was per-ordained...
An ancient society drew a story on their fortress walls—one depicting a huge, helmeted figure in black killing three snakes; the first two died, but the third lived forever. The people later explained that the first snake represented the Jedi, the second represented the Empire, and the third represented a new chaos brought to the galaxy. Needless to say, this did not sit well with the Sith Lord.
Unfortunately for the people in the temple, the cave drawings also showed how to use the giant laser weapon they called the Basis. After taking that information in and getting to the main chamber, Vader stole the crystal which magnified the beam and walked away as the building exploded around him.
Back outside, he and the assassin finally tangled. Vader found himself so impressed by his opponent's skill that he offered him a place in the Empire, which the masked individual refused. The Sith Lord responded by killing the attacker, before doing the same to his associate and then, finally, the wealthy man who ordered the assassins in the first place.
This series ends with a secret admission by the Emperor of his own involvement in the proceedings.
Speaking out loud to no one in particular, Palpatine admitted to clouding Vader's senses and even allowing himself to become the specific target of the Headless Snake. The whole endeavor turned out to be a test by Darth Sidious not only to get the weapon crystal, but also to gauge Anakin Skywalker's loyalty—which proved unflappable...at least for the time being.
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