Just some quick notes. I first read the Dark Empire comics in a trade paperback version in 1997. I read it a few times since then, but not in a long time so my memories are a little fuzzy on things. Secondly, I read Dark Empire before I read the original Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, etc.) but thanks to The Essential Guide to Characters, was already familiar with Jacen and Jaina Solo and Anakin Solo. Thirdly, this is about the Dark Empire comics alone, I might write up something about Dark Empire II later. As far as Empire’s End goes, I’m familiar with it, though I’ve never read it, or even own it. I might buy it later on, I’m not sure yet. Now if I skip around a little, please forgive me, I’m writing this from memory.
The comic starts with the Millennium Falcon racing towards Coruscant to rescue Luke, Lando and Wedge and the crew of a crashed Star Destroyer that the New Republic stole. During the battle between the Empire and the New Republic, the star destroyer is so badly damaged that Luke uses the Force to safely land it on Coruscant’s surface. That would have been awesome to see, but unfortunately that all happened offscreen before the story starts. That still pisses me off. One of the coolest moments ever and you never see it! It was cool seeing Luke use the Force to take out an AT-AT walker (in Canon, years later, Darth Vader would use the Force to take out an AT-AT walker being piloted by Han Solo). Also a cute surprise was seeing that some of the New Republic troops fighting on Coruscant were two Ewoks. And yes, they were using blasters and some kind of a cannon thing. I don’t hate Ewoks, I just don’t. I don’t understand why some people have such rabid hate for them.
So Luke senses a disturbance in the Force and lets himself get scooped up by a Force Storm and finds himself in a cage in an Imperial dungeon ship that was used during the Clone Wars (I know this was before the Clone Wars was finalized in the Chronology, but even then, someone should have caught this error). The dungeon ship and cages were pretty cool. If they go back and do an Old Republic movie series with Jedi vs. Mandalorians, it would be cool to see those ships and cages being used by Mandalorians. So Luke ends up on the deep core world of Byss, not to be confused with the Outer Rim world of Byss. There he meets Palpatine, who has survived being thrown down the reactor shaft by transporting his consciousness to a clone body. The trouble is, Palpatine’s so powerful with the dark side that the clone bodies can’t handle his dark energy and he needs to take over a new clone body before the old one decays. And this is exactly what they should have taken an extra 15 or so seconds to explain in The Rise of Skywalker. Not knocking the movie as a whole, but some parts of it were just nonsense. Not everything should be solved by ancillary information published after the movie comes out!
The Emperor offers Luke command of all his military forces if he joins with the Emperor, and the Emperor makes the claim that this is how he lured Vader to the Dark Side. Of course George Lucas retconned this and what he wrote makes way more sense. See kids, George Lucas has been retconning and out right de-canonizing things way before Disney did! So sick of Disney haters hating on Disney for stuff The Maker did himself. Anyway, Luke agrees while secretly planning to use the new knowledge of the Dark Side to find a way to defeat the Emperor once and for all. And what does Luke do to turn to the Dark Side? Does he slaughter younglings? Does he deep fry Admiral Ackbar and feed him to his kids? No. He pledges himself to the Dark Side. That’s it. How fucking boring! That’s not really pledging yourself to the Dark Side, giving in to your hate and anger and what not. That’s just, “Oh, I’ll be evil now, but I’m still going to do good things, like sabotage the World Devastators behind my bosses back. Lame!
Now the World Devastators are pretty cool. They’re giant ships that use tractor beams to pull in ships, asteroids and planets and have factories inside them that churn out droid TIE fighters and other ships. They’re also the whole, “It’s super indestructible until the good guy who is pretending to be a bad guy sabotages them trope”. Yawn. It’s Christmas Eve, so I have a ton to do, so I’ll have to come back for Part 2 later. It will be about a very pregnant Leia Organa-Solo going to Nar Shada to visit Han’s ex-girlfriend and his old mechanic buddy to sneak on to the Emperor’s new homeworld and rescue Luke. So stay tuned for Part 2!