Hello all! We are back again this week with another retro review. This week, I’m taking you all back to the 90’s when Dark Horse comics were putting out great Star Wars stories for us to enjoy. I’ll be looking back into a fantastic story written by Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley titled, Star Wars: Crimson Empire. If you haven’t had the chance to read this mini-series, I’ll bet after reading this you will be looking to get your hands on these comics.
The timeline of this story takes place after, Return of the Jedi. The Empire is in turmoil. The Emperor is dead, and all of his clones have been destroyed. Control for the Empire is up for grabs. A small group has formed within the Empire to keep control but one man, Carnor Jax, is the highest in command. Jax plans to become the new dark lord and build the Empire back up and return to glory. There is one person in his way of achieving this and his name is Kir Kanos. Years before this time, Jax and Kanos were Imperial Guard’s for the Emperor. They trained and fought together, sworn to protect the Emperor at any cost. That time has passed and now, Jax wants nothing more than to eliminate Kanos.
The story begins on the planet Phaeda in the outer rim. Kir Kanos lands his ship in the docking bay and pays off the dock guard to keep his identity secret. Kanos then goes to a local cantina to have a drink. While there, he notices a couple Imperials sitting at a table. They notice Kanos eavesdropping on their conversation and one of the officers confronts him. Kanos politely asks the man to return to his table. The Imp doesn’t take the warning and they draw their blasters. Kanos pulls out a staff with blades on each end and takes out them all with ease. He is then met by a group of Stormtroopers and takes them all out by himself, amazing the crowd in the process. After taking down all of the Stormtroopers, Kanos is approached by a man saying he can offer him a safe place to stay. Kanos is hesitant at first but gives in and follows the stranger.
Lightyears away, Carnor Jax sits on his thrown aboard his Star Destroyer. One of his generals requests to speak to Jax about what has taken place on Phaeda. Jax is not pleased and expresses that Kanos is an imminent threat to him and the Empire. He orders the general that his top mission and only focus should be to capture Kanos.
Back on Phaeda, we discover the man who so kindly helped Kir Kanos escape is named, Tem Merkon. He leads Kanos to his hide out below the floor of his apartment. Merkon seems to be a clever man, he knows that not just anyone could do that damage to a group of Stormtroopers by himself. He states that he has only seen Jedi or Palpatines elite guard fight like that. Merkon leaves Kanos alone to rest and eat while he goes to find a group he knows who can help Kanos.
During this time in the story, we get to see a flash-back of Kanos time on the planet Yinchorr training to become an elite guard. He and Carnor Jax are in the middle of sparring, when to their surprise Palpatine shows up. All of the trainees are shocked and kneel before their leader. Then from the shadows, the great Darth Vader approaches the group. Palpatine requests the top student to come forward. This student goes by the name of Burr Danid. Vader asks him to step forward, and then tells him to attack and hold nothing back. Danid fought fiercely and with great effort, but Vader was merely toying with him during the spar. Vader puts Danid down, slices half of his arm off and kicks him down into the pit below. We then go back to present time, Kanos has a sweat break on his forehead from the flash-back. He then hears someone coming down into the bunker and draws his blaster.
Back at the cantina, the Imperials are questioning everyone about what had happened. The commanding general then shuts down all departures from the planet. He doesn’t intend this altercation to make is back to the ears of central command. Little does he know he is dealing with the greatest threat to the Empire.
Every time I read a Dark Horse Star Wars story I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the new Marvel stories and characters in the current comics but you really can’t beat the classics! I really like this storyline and find it interesting to learn more about the Imperial guard. As we have seen in the films, comics, and books the guard has always been some what mischievous. I will also say that the cover art by Dave Dorman is fantastic. If any of you have a chance to read this story you won’t regret it.