Star Wars: Crimson Empire III – Empire Lost #5 and #6
Story by Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley
Art by Paul Gulacy
Colors by Michael Bartolo
Cover Art by Dave Dorman
Dark Horse Comics
Issue #5 Release Date: March 07, 2012
Issue #6 Release Date: April 25, 2012
Issue #5 Cover Price: $3.50
Issue #6 Cover Price: $3.50
The explosive and amplified conclusion to the Crimson Empire epic is finally here, reaching an ending that makes for a highly satisfying resolution to the series that began many years ago. Star Wars fans who have followed the adventures of Kir Kanos will thoroughly enjoy the last two issues of Empire Lost, a tale that also sets up what chronologically comes next for the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant.
Issues 5 & 6 conclusively tie together the loose ends left from the earlier installments, as Kir Kanos and Mirith Sinn journey to meet Imperial representative Feena D’asta, in an early effort to bring peace between the two major factions. They discover themselves betrayed, as antagonist Ennix Devian begins unleashing his strategy to open up his aim to retake the Empire under his own iron fist and perverted new order. Kanos and Sinn find themselves placed in a standpoint where they must stop Devian’s forces, to help any future chance at peace between the Republic and the Empire.
The plot writing of Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley has been exceptionally strong during the course of the third part of the Crimson Empire trilogy. There were a few elements thrown in that had nothing to do with the story (Chewbacca’s appearance was simply a cameo), but for the most part, everything that was set up from the beginning came to a head during these final two issues.
Issues five and six of Crimson Empire III ultimately reunite Kir Kanos with Mirith Sinn in battle, as the two are side by side with a common goal. We also get to see Kanos kick Stormtrooper ass big time, which has been a long time coming. The battle sequences are extraordinary, flowing nicely through the pages with frame layouts specifically designed to enhance the flow and enjoyment for those reading digitally, while still bearing the traditional readers in mind. Mark Gulacy‘s art and Michael Bartolo‘s colors are impressive in developing these sequences.
As with the previous issues, the artwork is mostly wonderful, with vigilant thought given to palette and tone, aiding in providing specific frames and sequences a feeling of depth. CG blurring is used sparingly in the battle sequences, which is nice – two much liberal use of computer tech can be an ounce overbearing at times, but these augmenting effects are used wisely. Gulacy does drop the ball on a couple of frames though – with a couple of characters having shots where their eyes are misaligned, giving a cross-eyed or wide-eyed “herp derp” form, which totally takes you out of the moment.
The closing moments of the final issue make for a pleasurable epilogue, and leave certain elements open for further exploration, while emphasizing this is indeed the conclusion of the Crimson Empire series. Should the creative team get back together at a later time to deepen the tales and histories of certain characters and settings, I would welcome the possibility, providing they don’t try and make it Crimson Empire IV… this series closes the chapter superbly, and anything further would not enrich it to my mind.
Dave Dorman, again, does a stellar performance in his cover artwork on both issues. Both capture touches of the story in a movie poster fashion that make for memorable imagery, and Dark Horse should certainly consider releasing prints/posters of these compositions. His cover for the final issue is particularly abounding with Star Wars related symbolism about how the story pans out; and I can’t help but think there’s a little bit of homage to John Romita Sr.’s Spider-Man No More artwork for the cover and from within the issue’s pages from 1967.
Thus we finally have come to the end of Crimson Empire; and what a hell of a ride it has been. In spite of my minor criticisms within these two issues, overall Crimson Empire III is a thrilling piece of work that Star Wars fans (specifically the EU nuts like me) will enjoy. On top of that, I think the grand sum efforts made for Crimson Empire I, II, and III have been significant contributions to the Expanded Star Wars Universe – showing us that this galaxy did not just need to concentrate on Skywalkers to give us a fantastic story with kick-ass action.
I raise my glass to Stradley, Richardson, Gulacy, Bartolo, and Dorman – and to letterer Michael Heisler (who I have neglected to mention until now in these reviews). Fine work by you all – and we all look forward to your future efforts in that galaxy far, far away that we fell in love with a long time ago…
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5