Publisher/Year: Dark Horse, 2006
Artist: Cam Kennedy
Writer: Tom Veitch
Collects: Star Wars: Dark Empire II #1-6, Star Wars: Empire’s End #1-2
I loved the Star Wars movies, for all their faults (particularly in episodes 1-3). Still, I have studiously avoided the various novel and graphic excursions into the post-film era, so I've remained ignorant of the changes that have been wrought in the lives of Luke, Leia, Han and all the rest.
Dark Empire II obviously follows hard on the heels of Dark Empire I, but for some reason Dark Horse sent me only the second book in the series. So much is confusing for a neophyte like myself that the book is fairly incomprehensible -- but let's assume that most of the people reading this book had previously devoured every iota of text printed in the Star Wars line.
OK, so Emperor Palpatine is back from the dead, his spirit inhabiting a youthful clone of his dead body -- for a second time, apparently, since Luke seems to have killed the emperor already in the previous book. Let's accept that the emperor has the power to imbue countless people and creatures with his "dark force," giving them Jedi-like abilities without lessening his own strength at all. And let's pick up the flow as Luke seeks out the few surviving and potential Jedi’s in an attempt to restore the Old Republic. Oh, and Boba Fett, the bounty hunter killed badly in Return of the Jedi, has been resurrected, too, and he's still chasing Han Solo for the late Jabba's reward.
Accepting the storyline as is, I still had a few problems with this book. First, the art is terrible. Luke, Han and Leia never look like Luke, Han and Leia. Implied motion is static. Postures are awkward. And the color palette seems to have been limited to the extent that numerous pages are almost monochromatic; with the exception of a few details, everything is greenish on one page, orangeish on another, and so on.
Second, the dialogue sounds clumsy and forced. George Lucas could write better dialogue than this, and if you saw Attack of the Clones, you know that's saying something.
And, third, the action zips by so quickly that you might start wondering why they even bothered. There's not much drama or suspense when a conflict takes only a page or two to resolve.
In scouting around, I've seen much better Star Wars comics on the shelves. While Dark Empire II might make more sense after reading Dark Empire I, I'd still call this one a book worth skipping.