||Maybe it was my really, really low expectations,
combined with my lack of memory of most of the events in this book, but
it actually came off much better than I remembered it. There are still
many things that bugged me a lot, including the artwork, but in general,
I rather enjoyed the story. It was the way the story was depicted that
gives this book its low rating.
always big in the comics, and they always have been. Before there was a
huge Star Wars expanded universe, however, things were much bigger. More
recent comics bring things in line with the novels and movies. But when
Dark Empire series came out, the big things got bigger. In the
book, of course, there was the incredibly-super-sized Star Destroyer and
the world devastators. This book deals with battle droids, which are
necessarily smaller. But for every battle droid, there is one that is
even bigger. Then there are rancor-like beasts which eat the largest
battle droids! I do wonder why the driods didn't fire a single shot at
the creatures. If they could drag a gunship out of the sky, then they
should be able to decapitate the beasts, even if the creatures were endowed with
the Dark Side of the Force. They were, after all, killed by the
smugglers' ships' weapons.
Events and abilities, too, are bigger, though not as
big as Luke single-handedly taking out an AT-AT walker in the last book.
In this series, there are no limits as to how much a single person can
do, or how much damage can be repaired in no time. How the heck did they
evacuate Pinnacle Base so fast, when they had no warning? If they did
have warning, we should have seen it in these pages.
In fact, some major things are just missing from this
story, the most obvious one being Luke and Kam Solusar's first meeting
on Nespiss Station. Why wasn't that shown?
I also found that there was too much narrative input
in this story. The narrative boxes litter the pages, instead of letting
the story progress naturally through dialog, thought or actions. There
are so many exclamation points, as if the authors had to convince us
that Big! Things! Were! Happening! In! This! Book!!!! It just wasn't
But the worst thing about this book, the part I hate
most of all and find most unacceptable, is the Emperor's ability to
"empower" ordinary people (mostly losers, from what I could tell) with
the Dark Side of the Force. I have always maintained that Palpatine
would not allow more than one apprentice to the Dark Side power, and the
Prequels teachings about the Sith confirm this. I can accept Mara, as
she was mostly a messenger who knew Force-tricks, at the time. But people who become
instantly knowledgeable and agile with the Force, chief lieutenants who
were highly visible? No way.
The bad guys were bad for no reason other than to be
bad. Killing each other for petty reasons, firing into and destroying
crowds... there is no reason for this, and the Emperor's rule could not
survive such misuse of power. Fear that your planet will be destroyed by
the Death Star is one thing -the targets would have been carefully
selected. These cases show an unpredictability that would lead to
unrestrainable revolt, because people would not have anything to lose.
Any sense of reality in the Star Wars universe is
carelessly thrown out in this book.
I did enjoy the story, though, which I wish had been
given a better setting. The failed attack on Byss was engaging, and I
like that it failed, but did give us a look at the Galaxy Gun, a weapon
that could send planet-killing projectiles through hyperspece (why do
they have to be intelligent, though?). Han and Leia's romp through Nar
Shadda, however, was mostly wasted space, as it was silly, stupid and
Luke's story, however, takes him to Ossus, which
brings the planet back into the current generation. It is unfortunate
that we never get to see the results of the archaeology of Ossus, or the
great finds that they uncovered, in future books. I thought at first that Luke's
discovery of the Padawan system in Vector Prime might be one result, but
there were no real Padawans in as seen in
The Phantom Menace in the time
of the Knights of the Old Republic. There is not much Ossus in this
book, but it could have been a minefield for the writers -maybe too much
of one, as it gives us too much information.
Finally, we come to the artwork, which is really
lousy. Called "stylistic" in the forward, I find it difficult to look
at. People are so angular, with no detail at all, and completely
unrecognizable as themselves -even aliens such as Ackbar. There is very
little color with which to distinguish details, anyway.
The book ends with a cliff-hanger, to a sequel which
is, if memory serves, really awful, and often difficult-to-find, even
when it was first released.
||I'm tired of the reincarnating Emperor. This is getting
to be a very worn concept. But the biggest problem I have with this
story is the ability to transfer Force powers to ordinary people. I am sorry, but that just goes too far.
The story itself is fairly decent. We get to travel to
all sorts of ancient Jedi locations. The best one, of course, is Ossus. Through the holocron, Luke has discovered this ancient place
of Jedi power. He also discovers a people who have descended from
the Jedi four thousand years ago, the ones who for the most part had to
evacuate the planet because of the Sith War.
Two of them, youngsters, join Luke, and one of them falls in
love with Luke. They discover the ancient Jedi library, and get help
from the old tree Jedi from The Sith War in destroying the Emperor's chief
When all his dark side adepts are killed, however, the Emperor
simply creates more. I find that completely unacceptable.
Meanwhile, Leia and Han have gone back to Nar Shadda to seek
out Vima da Boda. They hope that Vima can teach their children in
the ways of the Force, things that even Luke might not be able to do. They
of course meet up with Boba Fett, and outwit him again. I'm beginning
to think that Fett's reputation was undeserved. But maybe he was
really good until Return of the Jedi, where he turned
stupid. Now, every time we meet him, he is still stupid.
But between his attack, and an Imperial attack, the Falcon is
driven into some unexplored nebula, that has never appeared in any book
before or since, even though it seems to be very close to Nar Shadda. Inside, they meet a former Jedi, encased in a mechanical bubble suit, who
was chased into hiding by Darth Vader. They fit some outdated weapons
onto the Falcon, and leave with the Jedi. Boba Fett quickly descends
on them, but is outmatched by this ancient technology, for which he has
no shields. Fett disappears from the Star Wars universe for a long
time after this. It's probably just as well.
Between all these Jedi being found, Luke hopes to start the resurrection
of the Jedi Knights. But his hopes are dashed when he discovers the
Emperor has unleashed another superweapon upon the galaxy, the Galaxy Gun,
which can fire a planet-smashing torpedo through hyperspace. He destroys
the current Rebel base, but they were able to evacuate in time, leading
to a silly suspense period where we are led to believe that all the leaders
of the Alliance have been killed.
The Emperor then goes after Leia's kids, especially the one who
is in her womb, and ready to enter the world. An assault on the world
where they are being hidden fails, and they manage to escape to the new
Rebel headquarters. There, Anakin Solo is born, and Luke sees some
light come into the world, even though the Emperor is still bringing the
galaxy to its knees.
I was disappointed that they ended this volume this way, without
a firm conclusion, but it did seem to fit, nevertheless, as Anakin's birth
forms a new turning point in the Star Wars Universe.