Monday, May 4, 2009

COMIC REVIEW - Star Wars: Dark Empire (Dark Horse Miniseries - 1992)

Written by Tom Veitch
Art by Cam Kennedy

So this was the first piece of Star Wars Expanded Universe fare that I think I've read as a younger fellow.  Oh, I have dabbled in the Marvel comics stuff and maybe that Splinter Of The Mind's Eye novel, but in terms of new stories set in that galaxy far, far away that took the narrative beyond the Star Wars trilogy - there was only one - Dark Empire was the first thing that opened up. I wouldn't get around to the novels until much later down the road, but the comics were easy reads... as were the video games that would come along later, but I digress.

Dark Empire takes place some years after Return Of The Jedi. The leadership of the former Rebel Alliance now head the New Republic and they're still fighting the remnants of that evil Galactic Empire after all this time. The first thing you notice about this comic is the artwork, which has really rough-looking characters that somewhat resemble those classic characters you know and love, but updated to keep with the times. Luke Skywalker has darker-colored Jedi robes, foreshadowing the dark turn he would take as the series would progress. Leia has heir hair down. The various ships and setpieces are probably the real highlight of the art because they look a little better, but even to this day, I am baffled by the coloring, which seems very all over the place, cloudy, and doesn't help the line art all that much.

As for the story itself... like I said, the Republic is still fighting the Empire and the Emperor is back from the dead in a new clone body, which makes me wonder if this was something that could've happened in whatever sequels would've followed if George Lucas would've gone in that direction. Luke takes a bit of a dark turn and things go to hell... but they eventually get better. For the time, I thought it was a fairly enjoyable little read and even coming back to it years after the fact, it might not be the one of the better Star Wars stories... and the subsequent miniseries, Dark Empire II and Empire's End, actually turn out far worse than this one, but it's an enjoyable little romp regardless.

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