By Various (Dark Horse Books)
This collection of stories deals with the battle between Empire and Rebel from the viewpoint of the bad guys. Reprinting adventures from the comic Star Wars: Empire (specifically issues 13, 14 and 16 – 19) it contains “What Sin Loyalty” by Jeremy Barlow and Patrick Blaine wherein an imperial storm-trooper/clone ponders the imponderables and re-examines his values during the last moments of the Deathstar, followed by “The Savage Heart” by Paul Alden and Raul Trevino, a cinematic and painterly actioner with a crash-landed Darth Vader fighting his way back to civilisation.
The real gem here is Welles Hartley and Davide Fabri’s “To the Last Man” which has echoes of The Young Lions, Cross of Iron and Zulu. Janek Sunber is a junior officer in the imperial infantry who finds himself and his unit trapped on a jungle world facing impossible odds, and hampered at every turn by the inept officer-nobility ranked above him. Rounding out the volume is another outing for the Dark Lord of the Sith in “Target: Vader” by Ron Marz and Brian Ching, a fairly standard, if engagingly illustrated, tale of espionage and assassination.
Unlike most media-derived comic productions many of the Star Wars publications manage to rise above their “cashing-in” origins, and this book is a fine example of good comics as well as a welcome addition to the canon of the franchise.
Star Wars © 2004 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.