Star Wars – Hidden Empire #1: A Matter of Time
After the “War of the Bounty Hunters” and “Crimson Reign” multi-series crossover events, “Hidden Empire” has arrived to complete the trilogy. Leader of Crimson Dawn, Qi’ra, is tired of the evil that has rooted itself at the core of the galaxy. She has laid out a long and complicated plan full of hundreds of players. It is now time to put that plan into motion.
The final phase of the Qi’ra trilogy is here. After two long multi-series crossover events that lasted months at a time, the book can be closed in the saga of Crimson Dawn. This particular era is set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. These series effectively replaces the now Legends story of “Shadows of the Empire” in new canon. That is a tough order as it was a massive hit, beloved by many. It was a multi-media collaboration to tell the same story throughout a book, video game, comic series, and even a musical soundtrack. It was a complete success. To replace that seemed impossible. Despite that the sheer, almost crazy, amount of comic content from these three series revolving around Crimson Dawn is impressive to say the least. It encompassed the main Star Wars characters, all the bounty hunters that Vader hired to find the Millennium Falcon, Doctor Aphra and her cohorts, and even characters from the “Darth Vader” series. On top of that it introduced dozens of new characters that were good enough to stand toe to toe with those big names in “Star Wars.” This issue absolutely keeps that alive as it acts almost like a who’s who of famous “Star Wars” characters.
This new chapter weaves a very large story, even for an extra long issue as this was. In doing so, it runs through referencing tons of characters on every page. The Knights of Ren, Kho Phon Farrus from “Doctor Aphra,” and even Maul who is rarely mentioned in “Star Wars” comics is present. Those are only a few. It also quickly introduces a bunch of new characters thrown into the story as if they were already established characters. Qi’ra has so many agents that the series must throw in lots of new characters all the time, just to reiterate how big Qi’ra’s “Hidden Empire” really is. The main big character that takes front and center in this issue is Emperor Palpatine herself. Being a student of Maul, Qi’ra know all his secrets, and the bulk of the story here is that she plans to use those secrets against him by employing Dark Side tech Palpatine though dead an buried. Qu’ra does indeed show herself to have an upper hand against the Emperor, or so she thinks. For a brief satistifying moment Qi’ra manages to catch Palpatine off guard, which is no easy task. Needless to say, the issue ends with the promise of more interaction between the two as this series rolls on.
The art in this issue is fantastic. The ability to show so much and so many different characters and settings is impressive. The issue bleeds with bright color, not at any point sticking to a specific palette. It simply uses color where it makes sense, and when it does the color is poured on in a visually stunning way. Of course the impact on the overall saga is important, especially as a first issue, but the real star here is the narration. The Archivist begins the issue as a hologram telling this final chapter. Most of the issue is her explaining the story. She begins the story in a way that makes it seem like the fall of Crimson Dawn is about to happen. Instead of simply telling the story, the whole issue feels like the Archivist is telling the story of Qi’ra’s hubris. And as any student of Greek theater can explain, hubris never means a good outcome for the character infected with it.
A seemingly horrendous defeat turns out to be narrow victory instead. Qi’ra’s agents will not stop in attempting to accomplish her goals. The final battle continues.
Star Wars – Hidden Empire #1: The Beginning of the End
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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