It’s easy to dismiss Star Wars as a sci-fi fairy tale for kids. However, one of the wonderful things about the extended Star Wars universe is that there’s truly something for everyone. While the films were always intended for a family audience, there are elements outside the movies that have taken the spirit of the films’ darkest moments and developed them. The appropriately named Dark Times takes this concept and runs with it.
Set after the Clone Wars, with the fledgling Empire mopping up what’s left of the resistance, the story hones in one of the last Jedi still in action. Dass Jennir is helping the Nosaurians fight against the clones, as they put up a last bastion of resistance against the Emperor. It’s a hopeless situation though, and after sending the women and children on evacuation ships, Jennir is left fighting alone with a Nosaurian called Bomo. They manage to escape from the planet, abandoning it to the Empire, and set off on a personal mission to find the evacuees, somewhat hampered by the fact that their ships were intercepted by the Empire and sold to slavers.
In the background, Darth Vader is still on a personal crusade to rid the universe of Jedis, though he does little in this book beyond pondering the Emperor’s motives and pacing about his base on Coruscant. No doubt we’ll see more of him in the future of the series.
The artwork is fantastic, capturing the magical strangeness of the Star Wars universe brilliantly, with exotic creatures, spaceships and locations. Jennir’s flowing white locks are faintly disturbing, but he obviously has the ability to use the force to keep it from getting in his eyes.
This is a superior work of science fiction, pulling in many elements that we know and love about Star Wars but with a general lack of hope that we haven’t really seen since The Empire Strikes Back. With a solid plot and tight dialogue, this is a cracking first installment of a series that promises to be amongst the darkest of Star Wars chapters to date.
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