This is one of the first Star Wars comics published by Dark Horse around 1991 and 1992. The Dark Empire storyline is told through two 6-issue miniseries titled Dark Empire I & Dark Empire II, and wraps up in a two issue series called Empire’s End. The Dark Empire story is set after the Thrawn Trilogy, which I also reviewed and enjoyed immensely. Dark Empire however, was actually pretty terrible.
The story has Emperor Palpatine (Darth Vader’s Master) returning from the dead as a clone, and he wants to destroy the Republic. Whenever you bring back a character from the dead, you always open yourself to harsh criticism, if the story was good, it could have worked, but unfortunately it wasn’t good. Luke Skywalker than precedes to partner with the Emperor rather quickly and join the dark side, claiming it’s the only way he can destroy them. This action by Luke seeming very out-of-character. At the end of Dark Empire I, Empire Palpatine is killed, and Luke joins the good guys once again.
Dark Empire II and Empire’s End II, has the Emperor returning from the dead..AGAIN, by jumping into another clone body and continuing his takeover. The Emperor also has access to a weapon that has the ability much like the Death Star to destroy planets. This is silly though, because the Death Star was such a huge endeavour that took years to build, and the Emperor should in no way have that technological ability.
In the Thrawn Trilogy we are under the impression that Luke, Leia, and Jorus C’baoth were the only Jedi left in the universe, and in Dark Empire it seems like everyone is a Jedi! There are maybe 10-20 Jedi characters introduced. Also in the Thrawn Trilogy, we are introduced to Mara Jade, who has a long rich history with the Emperor, and Mara Jade is not even present in this story. Luke is also given a new love interest (who also happens to be a Jedi) who he kisses, but there was no real build-up between these two characters, and it never went anywhere, and the whole thing seemed out-of-place.
The colouring inside this book is atrocious. It seems like only one or two colours are chosen per page, and no matter what is drawn, everything is done in that colour. It really drags the book down. Empire’s End (the final two issues) got a new artist and it did improve a bit, but not by much.
Overall this series was a real disappointment.