May 15, 11
Read in May, 2011
Expanded Universe material is generally pretty hit or miss. I tend to stick to established characters from the film, because I would much rather read about the further exploits of characters I already like. Although this book has some familiar faces, I found it to be disappointing. The plot centers around an assassination attempt on Vader and Palpatine, which can be viewed two ways. On one hand, they're both alive in the movies, so the attempt clearly failed--what's the point of reading about a failed attempt? On the other hand, it might be interesting to read about why the attempt failed and what happened to the conspirators. Unfortunately, the story doesn't really deliver on this angle. Basically, the scheme is somehow uncovered, and the would-be assassins are all killed. Oh, and Boba Fett drops in for a cameo. Overall, it does not make a very compelling story.
The layout and art are particularly bad in this book. The central characters are mostly Imperial officers, who all look the same--white guys in grey uniforms with brown hair. It's really hard to tell them apart, which seems essential to this story. They perspective is also really skewed in the book. In one panel you'll see an Imperial officer from the front, but in the very next panel, you'll see him from behind, and now he's wearing a hat. And apparently he's been shot. Assuming, of course, that it's the same guy. It's very hard to tell, which also makes this story hard to follow.
I'm really interesting in Expanded Universe material that takes place around the time of the original trilogy, either before Episode IV or between IV and V. Because of that, I was really hoping that the EMPIRE series would deliver some interesting new tales. Unfortunately, it falls pretty flat.