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Star Wars: Empire Volume 2 - Darklighter
Words by Paul Chadwick - Art by Doug Wheatley, Tomas Giorello - Published by Dark Horse (US), Titan Books (UK) - First published 2004 - Originally published as Star Wars: Empire 8-12, 15
Paul Chadwick is probably best known amongst serious comic fans for his fabulous Concrete (US/UK), but his association with Star Wars publisher Dark Horse has also lead to the occasional bit of work in George Lucas's sci-fi universe.
In this second volume in the Empire series he does a good job of fleshing out Biggs Darklighter, a secondary character and old friend of Luke Skywalker, who appeared in the first Star Wars movie for about 30 seconds. Back on Tatooine it was Biggs who taught Luke to fly and, by leaving the planet and going there himself, he encouraged Luke to consider joining the Imperial Academy. We follow Biggs through his TIE fighter training and his growing concern with the Empire's motivation and tactics, before he joins the Rebel Alliance and plays a pivotal role as Luke's wingman in the eventual destruction of the Death Star.
A second story in the book is another backgrounder, this time following the fate of rebel General Sewell through the eyes of his successor, telling the story of his life to a gathering of rebels at Sewell's funeral. Like Biggs, Sewell is a typically heroic character, though his life is turned upside by the Empire, leaving him little option but to fight for the other side.
Chadwick captures the spirit of the rebellion in this book - more than any of Lucas's character focused films have managed - giving a better understanding of the risks the rebels are taking and why. There's no deep politics here, just a straightforward hatred of an evil regime that leads those opposed to it to risk their lives and take action. But the stories, especially that of Biggs, helps bring more depth to the Star Wars universe and will make great reading for fans of the original films.
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