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A graphic novel by Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley (1999, Dark Horse Comics)
Crimson Empire, Book 3
10 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

Black Sun helps tear the Empire apart, while Kir Kanos continues his vendetta against those who betrayed the Emperor, and fulfilling his debt to a New Republic officer.



2 stars

Read on July 30th, 2000  
    The sequels are never as good as the originals...  In graphic novels, this has been true some of the time.  It is true in this case.  The scene ranges to too many places, even though the characters involved are few.  The topics are obscure, and it is unclear why Kanos does what he does, even for honoring a debt.

This story continues soon after the last one left off.  Jax, the next potential emperor, is dead, and the council is left with control of the Empire.  But there is infighting, and people are being murdered.  One person assumes control, but his strings are being pulled by some mysterious entity named Nom Anor.  It is unclear whether he is associated with Black Sun, which seems to be back in control of its vast empire.  I'm not up to date on the Black Sun saga, so I don't know if he is an important person there, perhaps even Guri.  [Actually, he turns out to be a Yuuzhan Vong!]

But while the council squabbles, the New Republic is gaining support.  And Black Sun has cloned the daughter, Feena D'Asta, of an important backer to the Imperial fleet, hoping to spy on the council's meetings.  A Hutt is involved, who is also raiding New Republic shipping lanes.  He is also playing a dangerous game with some creepy aliens (their faces look like they are always smiling in a very creepy way), giving them live hostages to hold their "ceremonies" around.  The ceremonies are mysterious, and I think they are meant to remain that way. 

Kir Kanos has a small part in this story, as he poses as a bounty hunter for the Hutt.  But he is unmasked by Black Sun.  The New Republic officer whom he saved (and she saved back) in the last book, Mirith Sinn, enters the employ of the Hutt, also.  She witnesses the real D'Asta, heavily drugged, and is all around spying on the Hutt.  She is betrayed by a former friend, and is given to the creepy aliens.  Kanos risks his life to save her, but is captured in the process. After a raid on Black Sun, Sinn returns to the Hutt to rescue Kanos. 

They return D'Asta's daughter to her father, who is engaged in a battle with the newly self-proclaimed emperor.  Kanos kills this man, but doesn't touch the council. 

We never get any more information on the mysterious Nom Anor, so I assume there will be a third volume in the saga.  Kanos was intent on killing everybody involved with destroying the Emperor's clone bodies in Empire's End, so I don't see the importance of masquerading as a bounty hunter.  He was going after the council, but is satisfied with killing the current head.  He is obviously in love with Sinn, and that is why he tries to save her, but I don't really know if it is in character.  I guess he has the patience, and the time, to wait on his revenge. 

The story was sorely lacking, even though it has many complex elements to it.  However, the artwork was stunning, once again.  The colours were very vibrant, and the textures were wonderfully apparent.  There were some cells that looked like they were made from many different layers.  The backgrounds stood back, seemed to get out of the way of the main action part of the cell.  It was wonderful. 

Unfortunately, it's not enough to bring the ragged story together.


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