It's a habit, with clockwork precision...
I come home at 4pm each weekday and turn on my laptop. I go about the mundane tasks that one would expect of any 30's something's male, while my ancient computer attempts to load its megabytes.
Finally, after about half an hour....
I login, check my Gmail, then gravitate over to the search engine tool bar. Here something happens; it is a shared excitement experienced with well over one million people worldwide. I begin to type knowing that today could be different to yesterday. Today I could finally find what I've been longing for since the summer of 2005...
"Star Wars Episode 7 News" is currently the most searched term on the Google website. This isn't surprising, as many are excited about the movie event of the decade. I have been my entire life a huge Star Wars fan. This is down to many factors, but if I had to pick one; it would simply be due to how effortlessly romantic the story is weaved around a family tragedy, while incorporating the mystical energy of the force that can make you move things around with your mind (and lightsabers).
Like every ridiculously impatient fan, this hunger for Star Wars goodness is being "just" quenched by turning to the vast array of novels and graphic novels that have continued on the story of the Skywalkers. Some stories focus around the three main characters of the original films, others drift off into different realms. This is where the epic tale, Crimson Empire can be found.
A thick and hefty blood-soaked tale of the last surviving member of Emperor Palpatine's Royal Guard. A brutal account of how a Galaxy controlling Empire might collapse, with no formal senate to officially reinstate a controlling form of government. From revenge to redemption, the story of Kir Kanos takes him from the deserts of Yinchorr, to the halls of Imperial power, and to the inner circle of the New Republic.
When I was a teenager, I loved all of the expanded universe novels. The first trilogy that I read was the Dark Empire series. After those, my hunger for anything Star Wars hit a scale of absolute ravenous! Crimson Empire is ostensibly a continuation of the Dark Empire I and II series. With The Royal Guards set as the main antagonists of the story. Before Crimson Empire very little was known for these tall, red and menacing looking characters. In fact, the only Star Wars film that they appear in is The Return of the Jedi and get a mere 10 minutes screen time.
Kir Kanos, one of the Emperor's finest, has remained loyal to his fallen master despite his assassination from the rebel traitors Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Kanos' fuelled with a vengeance that surges him to acts of ultra violence, attempts to track down those responsible for destroying the Empire. This holds as the main theme of the story making it perhaps not the best comic for an under 16 year old audience. Nevertheless, it is rich with fabulous storytelling and various intertwining plots that keep the reader highly entertained.
In spite of its size, the graphic novel can be read at a great pace and holds host to some of the best Star Wars artwork you're likely to see for a novel of its size. The story is classically structured yet effective, and many of the Star Wars fans will recognise places and locations used.
Written by Mike Robinson, Randy Stradley and Paul Gulacy. Published by Dark Horse Comics and available to buy at Amazon.