Thursday, August 1, 2013

Star Wars Rediscovered: Dark Empire II Review

"But now I see clearly...The Emperor and his evil cannot withstand the light of the Jedi!"

Welcome to Star Wars Rediscovered and my review of Dark Empire II. Will it live up to the fantastic original series? Read on after the jump to find out!

Writer: Tom Veitch
Artist: Cam Kennedy
Lettering: Todd Klein
Cover Art: Dave Dorman

Cover Art

I really like the cover art to issue #1, we have Luke running from an explosion and attacking ships while looking very Dark Side in how he is dressed. Dorman's use of colours is great, with the paleness of the sky contrasting nicely with Luke's dark clothing. I also like how his green lightsaber almost pops off the cover.
Issue #2's cover art is just as good as issue #1, we have Boba Fett blasting the reader and Chewbacca leaping from behind to attack him. I love the grittiness here, Dorman does a great job. 
The cover art to issue #3 is as usual with Dorman excellent. We have a gnarled old tree that has imprisoned a woman with Luke and Kam looking on. I love the amount of detail in the tree and how alive it looks, Dorman does a great job again. I also love how the colour of the sky contrasts against the darkness of the tree and Luke's dark clothing.  
Issue #4's cover art was fine, with Han facing off against Fett, certainly a respectable cover by Dorman. 
I think the issue #5 cover art is good, we have a hulking monster looming behind Lando and the droids. The level of detail on the faces is brilliant. 
Issue #6's cover art is my favourite of this entire series. I love how it is like a roll call of our heroes with them all poised for battle. The level of detail is excellent and the characters all look like the people they are meant to be. 


The first issue starts off after the conclusion of Dark Empire with both the Republic and the Empire striving to strengthen their own positions. The highlight of this first issue was the appearance of The Emperor at the end, I kind of expected it but it was nice to know that are heroes are going to have a battle on their hands in this series. 
In the second issue we have Han, Chewie, Leia and Salla heading to Nar Shaddaa to try and find the old Jedi woman Vima-Da-Boda who had previously given Leia an ancient lightsaber. Battling through both Imperials and Boba Fett they do manage to locate her and bring her back to the Falcon. Fett is definitely the highlight of this issue he is shown twice to be a formidable opponent to anyone, firstly when being attacked by two Dark Side warriors he manages to still attack them even while being Force choked and secondly while trying to collect the bounty on Solo is attacked by Chewie and not only injures him but manages to escape alive. 
Issue #3 returns to Luke and Kam who travel to Ossus an old Jedi world looking for artefacts and maybe even Jedi. They encounter a tribe called the Ysanna who are minor Force users and after a brief test of power recognise Luke & Kam for the powerful Jedi they are and join forces with them to battle Sedriss and his Darksiders, who have been tasked by the Emperor to bring the Jedi back alive. The Jedi along with the tribe are victorious but not before Sedriss realising he has lost takes a woman hostage and threatens to kill her unless Luke joing with the Emperor. Unfortunately the tree that he has chosen to
stand in front of is no ordinary tree but an ancient Jedi who awakens and in a battle of immense power both Sedress and the tree who is called Ood Bnar are seemingly destroyed and the woman is saved. The ground where the tree should be is shattered to reveal a stash of ancient lightsabers that still work which Luke takes as an omen that the Jedi will be reborn. 
Issue #4 deals with the discovery of an ancient invaluable Jedi library on Ossus and Lando, Zef and the droids stashed inside war droids with a plan to strike the Empire. Another plot point has the Falcon escaping from Nar Shaddaa, being attacked by Fett, escaping through a gas cloud and being picked up by a primitive space faring race. Although all of these separate plots are good I do feel that there are too many for one issue and that it might have been better to at most just two for half an issue each. The highlight of this issue was Luke and Kam on Ossus, I like the prospect of Luke finding an entire race of people that could be potential Jedi. 
In issue #5 we have the continuation of various plots. Lando and the droids who are inside the war droids manage to get to the heart of the Imperial citadel thanks to the droids special shielding however it is no use against the claws of the Emperors genetically bred monsters that force the Rebels to be rescued by their friends. We then rejoin Han and Leia who are with the primitive space faring race called the Ganathians. They are friendly and help the Han with the Falcon's repairs, their leader is an old Jedi who was badly injured by Darth Vader in the past and wants to help the Jedi. They leave the Ganathians ship and defeat Fett who is waiting for them and travel to New Alderaan to see their
children. Finally we rejoin Luke who is training the potential Jedi from the tribe, they both have good potential and one has a connection to Luke that they both feel. They travel to the rebel base but arrive at the same time as the missile that the Emperor fired from his new weapon, this missile hits the planet and completely destroys it. The highlight of this crammed issue was definitely the final splash page of the base being destroyed. We have the potential of the entire rebel movement being completely obliterated and the victory of the Emperor. This was a great cliffhanger to end on and I cannot see how the rebels are going to survive this. 
This final issue deals with the fall out of the Emperors crushing of the rebel base and his attack on New Alderaan. All our heroes come together on New Alderaan to await the birth of Han and Leia's child but the peaceful time is interrupted by the Emperors forces who have learned of the location of the remaining rebels by torturing a rebel pilot. The dark siders poison Luke, kill the Jam the Jedi in training and destroy the settlement. It is only thanks to Han and Lando who arrive in the nick of time that anyone escapes with their lives. They all travel to the Auril system where both Mon Mothma and Ackbar happen to be alive and well. They said that they had evacuated the rebel base just before it was destroyed. I find this hard to believe as they would unlikely to have had any warning of the attack and certainly not enough time to evacuate everyone. We are left with Luke's vision that the Jedi order will be rebuilt and thrive and that the Emperor will be defeated, while this is all well and good I really want to find out how they will find a new base and just how the Jedi order will be rebuilt. 

Interior Artwork

The artwork within this series was just brilliant. Here are some of my favourite panels. Fett on his knees in issue #2 being Force choked and yet still managing to fire his weapons is a very cool sight. I love the lighting in this panel. 
Sadress's two Darkside warriors killing a large group of innocent people in the hopes that they are also attacking the old Jedi woman is quite a sight and the panel where one of them turns to the reader and states that Sadress wants her dead is great. The use of colour in this panel is really good, the use if green makes him look really eerie and very evil. 
The panel where the Falcon lands in the deepest level of the spaceport city is done really well. It really sets the atmosphere of the environment, the use of shadow in concealing so much of the scene and yet there being just enough light for use to see two hulking figures watching the Falcon works really well. 
I love the panel in issue #3 where Luke and Kam are wading into battle against Sadress and his minions. The use of the colour red really emphasises the bloodiness of the battle and the ink work is incredible. 
The panel of issue #4 of the Emperor imparting some of his power to his new Dark Side warriors was very cool. The use of shadow makes the entire scene very menacing and the colours look richly painted. 
I love the panel in issue #6 where Luke and his companions have returned from the destruction of the rebel base. They all look so sullen and determined, it is a brilliant image. 
I love the panels of Luke's anguished dream connection with the Emperor. The sudden change of colours to make it look washed out and dream like works to great effect and the image of Luke shouting that he is not his father and throwing the helmet down was epic.

Conclusion & Rating

Overall I think that this was a thoroughly good series, the artwork was fantastic and there were some genuine moments of peril. What lets this series down though is in the obvious comparison to Dark Empire (read my review of Dark Empire here, it simply did not achieve the brilliance of that first series, there was just too much going on within the plot for most of the six issues that made it feel slightly convoluted. However it still is a really good read and I do recommend it. 

Rating: 7/10 - Death Star

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Jarmir said...

Thanks for your continual reviews of these Star Wars comics. I'm really enjoying them

Adrian Roberts said...

Thanks Jarmir, I'm glad your enjoying reading them. What's been your favourite review so far?

Jarmir said...

Probably Ghost Prison . Made me want to search for it

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