The Crimson Empire Saga begins with an ending. It starts with defeat of Emperor Palpatine by the Rebel Alliance and the fall of his tyrannical Galactic Empire. However this isn’t Palpatine’s story. This is the story of one of his crimson-clad guards, Kir Kanos. Kanos is out to get revenge for the Emperor, both on the Rebel Alliance and on his fellow guards who tried to betray the Empire at a critical time, allowing the Rebel Alliance to succeed.
Kanos is a classical anti-hero who wants to hurt the right people but for all the wrong reasons. The plot is wildly complex and very long, spanning several comic series, all of which are collected here to tell the complete story of his journey from revenge to redemption. While some series are better than others, none is outright bad. The tale as a whole is an epic worth reading, even if it’s a dense one. It’s especially worth it for Star Wars fans, as this is a valuable addition to the Star Wars Expanded Universe; it enhances the canon of the movies and makes the universe richer, rather than bogging it down as other examples in the Star Wars EU do.
Because the book is a compilation of three mini-series as well as a handful of issues from other Star Wars comic series, there are several different artists from different time periods. It’s fascinating to see how comic art and coloring have changed over the past decade and a half. The overall quality of the art is good.
These are Star Wars comics published by Dark Horse, so keep them out of the hands of anyone 15 and younger. There is violence, sex, and politics. This is a well-written, well-drawn book that would be a great addition to any collection. Two warnings, however: First, if you don’t like Star Wars, this won’t sell you on it. If you do, it’s wonderful and really expands the setting. Second, make sure you have a lot of time to read it. It’s very long and fairly dense, not something you can skim through. However, if you’re still interested in it despite that, you won’t be disappointed.
Star Wars:The Crimson Empire Saga
by Mike Richardson, Randy Stradley
Art by Paul Gulacy, P. Craig Russell, Randy Emberlin
Dark Horse, 2012