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A graphic novel by Scott Allie and Brian Horton (2003, Dark Horse Comics)
Empire comics #1-4
Set immediately prior to Star Wars: A New Hope

Several senior Imperial officers attempt to stage a coup against Darth Vader and the Emperor.



Read on August 17th, 2014, a soft graphic novel  
    I can't say that I enjoyed this comic any more the second time around. The artwork wasn't anything spectacular, and the story didn't make up for it. Maybe it's just too hard to draw political dramas in comics, where most people are just talking, and the only real action is Vader choking some officers. For the first comics in this series, it didn't get off to a great start.  


Read on June 19th, 2005, a soft graphic novel  
    A very mixed bag, in terms of art, story and characters.

A lot of this comic was very confusing, especially when dealing with the chronology of the plot. There are several storylines, and they are all mixed, sometimes with panels from all of them on the same page.

The main storyline is about a coup attempt against Vader and the Emperor. There is no motivation, except Vader's use of stormtroopers as target practice. Grand Moff Trachta apparently wants more power for himself. He coerces Moff Kadir and a bunch of other senior officers into this plan. Unfortunately for Trachta, once the plan is set into motion, the Imperial officers turn on him, eventually removing him from the chain of command -permanently.

The Emperor seems unaware of the developing mutiny, which is unlikely, but is also pleasantly amused when the trap is sprung. Even when the troops loyal to the mutineers come into the throne room, he is unconcerned, and lets his Royal Guards take care of most of them. He uses Force lightning on Kadir, but keeps the Moff alive because of his resourcefulness. However, when he finds out that Kadir was not the mastermind behind the coup attempt, he kills the Moff outright.

One of the conspirators appears to get away. The guy with the stripe down his face, whom I take to be Gauer, is the one who actually killed Trachta. But when the plan failed, and he heard the stormtroopers being massacred, he ran away. We don't know what happened to him, unless it is dealt with in a future story. Gauer doesn't seem to be a Moff, or even in the real chain of command. In the author's note at the end, he is called an assassin. Why, then, would he be included in the coup? Why would Vader ask that Gauer go on the mission the Emperor wants him to take?

At one point, the Emperor's shuttle explodes, and it seems as if the Emperor was waiting for this to happen. Nothing comes of it, which seems to be typical of this story.

Vader's mission to Dargulli also takes on a strange and confusing context. The mission is diverted because of a Rebel ship, and I was led into believing that this was a trap by the conspirators. Perhaps that's how the authors wanted the readers to think. As expected, the Rebel ship explodes in the docking bay of the Star Destroyer. But although the captain (who is a conspirator, too) seems relieved that Vader was expelled into open space, Vader doesn't sense any duplicity when he comes back on board, protected by his suit and the Force. They work together to destroy the actual Rebel ship with a procedure that was really too technical to work in a comic setting, but shows a bit of Anakin, nonetheless.

And speaking of Anakin... is there any reason that Vader would be going through an identity crisis at this time? He thinks back on his first meeting with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, his discussions with Padmé (who is drawn terribly), and various other discussions with his former Master. I see no purpose to this, and I seriously doubt that Vader was wondering about the path he took twenty years in the past just before he comes across Ben Kenobi again in A New Hope.

Revenge of the Sith left it unclear about whether the Emperor knew that Anakin's child (or children) survived -or even if Padmé survived. His discussion during The Empire Strikes Back makes sense, because Luke was discovered before that. But for the Emperor to entice Vader with the idea that the lightsaber-wielding person on Dargulli might be his offspring does not, at this point in the timeline. I would think that the Emperor would have spent a lot of energy trying to find Padmé and the child if he knew that they survived.

In the end, Vader chooses the Dark Side again, and kills the woman (who just wanted to become a Sith Apprentice, after all...), and fends off a bunch of thugs, with the help of Boba Fett. When he returns to the ship, he kills all of the stormtroopers sent to kill him in the real trap.

The artwork was mainly good, but degraded into featureless blobs for people at times. There was not much in the way of interesting backgrounds or colors. The best artwork comes on the cover of the trade paperback.

Despite my many complaints about this book, I was intrigued by the story. I wish it could have been presented much better, perhaps removing a lot of the extraneous stuff and filling out some detail. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to the plot to help decide what was filler and what should have been kept.


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