Erm … it’s a bit difficult to figure what to make of Dark Horse’s DARK EMPIRE II. Rarely does a title seem so entirely unnecessary much less a crass attempt to cash in on a middling first entry (namely DARK EMPIRE) but that’s honestly about the best I can figure come the “big finish” … which isn’t so much a “big finish” as it is a set of circumstances leaving our heroes dangling for, yet, another inevitable installment.
Look, I get that the first business of any company is to obviously create another sell for the future, but DARK EMPIRE II really serves little to no purpose. The events of the first installment basically are used lightly as a catalyst to kinda/sorta start everything over. This means that despite being bested now in the movies and in the first series Emperor Palpatine is back yet one more time to dole out what he sees as retribution to the Rebellion for wiping out his Empire. Having this resurrection come so quickly on the heels of his last demise even smacks heavily of commercialization at its very worst.
The only significant plot development (so far as the characters are concerned) is the impending birth of Leia and Han’s third child (it’ll be named Anakin); otherwise, everything else here feels ridiculously listless, as if they are narrative sequences loosely strung together to cash in on DARK EMPIRE’s popularity (which I’ve admitted in my review of it I never quite understood). As for the other elements? Granted this was a story told before the mythology of the Prequel Trilogy had been put into place, but Dark Force Droids? Really? Nothing about the ‘science’ of the Force in the Original Trilogy so much as hinted that the Force could become sentient inside of a droid’s limited mind, and this curious development comes with little to no explanation other than, “Yep, that’s what we’re doing now.”
Artistically, Dark Empire II takes that almost monochromatic style of the original and injects it with some steroids. Entire plotlines within the main story are given their own color scheme (i.e. this planet’s events are going to be depicted in green; that planet’s events are going to be depicted in blue; etc.). So what started out as a pleasant enough diversion giving the first mini some character really veers off into a bizarre art project. I’m all for giving these series (and miniseries) their own aesthetic appeal, but this pushed the envelope a bit too far.
Even worse, DARK EMPIRE II ends on an obvious cliffhanger, perhaps implying that with this iteration Dark Horse really was only interested in figuring out some way to stretch out the incoming cash flow while not having the courtesy to pony up a complete storyline.
(MILDLY) RECOMMENDED. Hey, if you’re like me, then you’ve learned to take what you can get when it comes to new adventures in that galaxy far, far away. Still, DARK EMPIRE II feels and reads so very much like an afterthought – once Veitch and his crew finished their first mini (let’s say it was the only set of ideas they had), someone tasked them to go back to the well. What they came up with? Well, after reading it, I almost wish I hadn’t it was so disappointing.
I wasn't crazy about the first Star Wars: Dark Empire Trilogy HC (Star Wars (Dark Horse)), but thought it had some redeeming value. By contrast, Star Wars: Dark Empire II 2nd Edition is just bad. The main villains are a bunch of Dark Jedi working for Palpatine who can't seem to do anything right. There really isn't much of a plot. The worst part is the Galaxy Gun. If you're sick of super-duper weapons, you'll hate the plot device. The Galaxy Gun can just fire a single missile and take out any planet. … more
A full-cast production dramatizes the struggle of the Rebel Alliance as they once again confront the Empire and its evil Emperor, returned from the dead and bent on the destruction of Luke Skywalker and his friends.