Turn Back the Clock
Star Wars: Dark Empire I and II
Distributed By: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Since Dark Horse Comics took over the Star Wars comics mantle from Marvel, I haven't really purchased many Star Wars comics. That's not to say that some of the Star Wars comic book series produced by Dark Horse aren't good. It's just that I don't have an endless supply of money and must be selective when selecting the comic book series I am going to follow. I often wait for trade paperbacks to appear so I can snatch up whole series at a time. But sometimes, I wish I was a tad bit more selective.
I wanted to read Dark Empire I and II by Tom Veitch because these were supposed to be two stories that were very important to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They tell the tale of Luke Skywalker’s experimentation with and fall to the Dark Side. It all begins with the discovery that the Emperor's spirit lives on, despite the destruction of his body aboard the second Death Star. Knowing that the Dark Side was slowly destroying his body, the Emperor prepared clones of himself, which he would eventually transfer his soul into, abandoning his ravaged body for a newer, youthful one. Luke finds the cloned Emperor. Realizing if he truly wants to begin training future Jedi he must learn all of the ways of the Force, Luke becomes the cloned Emperor’s apprentice, believing he can battle the temptation of the Dark Side while learning its secrets. Meanwhile, the New Emperor has taken over Coruscant and a new battle has begun between the Empire and the New Republic.
While significant in the tales of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, I strongly urge you not to waste your money on these trade paperbacks. The storyline is pretty lame. With all of the warnings Obi-Wan and Yoda issued about the temptation of the Dark Side, you would think that Luke would be a bit less enthusiastic about learning from the Emperor. The outcome of the story is perfectly predictable and there was absolutely no reason for it to be told in two trade paperbacks.
Not only does the storyline lack luster, but the artwork is absolutely atrocious. In no way do any of these characters resemble our favorite heroes. Leia, who is pregnant with Anakin Solo during this story, is an ugly, obese, drab rendition of the Princess we all love.
I bought Dark Empire I and II because I wanted to understand the vague references made in the novels about Luke's battle with the Dark Side. I also thought it would be interesting to see Luke fall to the Dark Side and wondered how he crawled his way back to the Light Side. I never imagined it would be anything like this tale.
Of course, die-hard Star Wars fans may want these trade paperbacks anyway, if only to add continuity to their vast Expanded Universe book collection. So, I strongly urge you to follow my example – I purchased my comics on eBay. This way, if you agree with my assessment of the trade paperbacks, you won’t have paid that much to get them!