I started with the stuff that related to the Old Republic Era because that's the part of the EU that I love the most to this day, with Drew Karpyshyn's Revan being my first experience with a legends novel (my first Star Wars novel I read that was not a novelization was James Luceno's Tarkin). I thought about waiting until I finished the Thrawn books but it probably would be fine because this comic started before the Zahn finished his trilogy anyway. Much like Heir, Dark Empire was highly praised upon its release and ended up being a massive hit, paving the way for other well received comic series like John Ostrander's Legacy and John Jackson Miller's Knights of the Old Republic. This comic shows how low our standards seemed to have been for Star Wars stories in the 90s. THE STORY: Heir to the Empire revived the Star Wars franchise in 1991 in the same way that The Force Awakens has done today. Sure enough, the story got published in the form of this comic book series, and people were blown away by it. The Republic is in danger, but things are not looking good for our heroes as Luke Skywalker himself succumbs to the dark influence of an old enemy. THE BAD: Nearly everything that Timothy Zahn did right in Heir to the Empire, Tom Veitch does wrong with Dark Empire. Maybe I would enjoy this if I was a star wars junkie in the 90s smoking some really strong pot, but because I'm a 21 year old man in the 2010s who doesn't drink or smoke, the visuals in this series just looks bad.
It was nice to think of this story as a MOVIE that could have come after Return of the Jedi, the movie as a fan I would have loved back in the 80's but never got.
The Good: Other than adaptations of the movies themselves, I'm unfamiliar with the world of Star Wars comics.
It isnt that I disliked the idea of exploring an Emperor Palpatine resurrected in the days of the New Republic fumbling to establish a firm footing; its just that so much of Tom Veitchs story felt like character retreads. If, however, youre accepting of a few modest hints at things to come, then read on ) Essentially, the story that unfolds here is that the Empire isnt quite as dead as our heroes Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa-Solo, Han Solo, and more long believed it to be. It would seem that his life essence has become a part of the living Dark Side much like Obi-wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Anakin Skywalker have merged with the Light Side elements; all the former Palpatine need do is pull a younger version of himself out of a clone canister and viola new Emperor! Just as was the thematic undercurrent for the Luke Skywalker character in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI (and many, many Extended Universe tales since then), this new Emperor wants to turn our hero to the Dark Side. The Emperor is the same as are all of our regular players so nothing new added to the mix pretty much leaves this tale tasting like something weve all had before. Heck, even the long-rumored dead Boba Fett shows up for what plays out like an almost obligator appearance, one meant to recapture the magic of the bounty hunters glory days instead of adding legitimacy to the web being spun here.
The main focus is Luke turning to the Dark Side, but being saved by love from family and friends.
The best thing about it is the surreal water color inking and art. Other people seem to not dig the art.