Star Wars
Empire - Betrayal

Author: Scott Allie
Artist: Ryan Benjamin
Titan Books
RRP: £11.99
ISBN 1 84023 655 8
Available now

Before the events of
Star Wars: A New Hope, as the Death Star is readied for its first mission, a cabal of Grand Moffs and Imperial Officers embark on a dangerous mission to assassinate Emperor Palatine and Darth Vader and seize control of the Empire. When word reaches Vader that a Jedi has made an appearance on a backwater world, the cabal makes its move. Their plans are further complicated by the actions of the bounty hunter Boba Fett. And, of course, they may have underestimated the cunning of their primary target: Emperor Palatine...

Betrayal is the first of a new line of graphic novels set during the early days of the Rebellion, when the Empire controlled the galaxy.

Fans who are eagerly awaiting the third movie, I'm afraid I gave up the ghost after the dull efforts of Attack of the Clones, will love this graphic novel - as will fans of the original trilogy.

While we already suspected as such, it was interesting to discover that Grand Moff Tarkin is only one of a number of Grand Moffs under Palatine's control. And Vader is not alone in wanting to impress The Emperor - others are after his place at Palatine's side.

The writing is fluid and engaging, but it is the artwork that really sticks out. Ryan Benjamin's style is original and quirky. I loved his interpretation of the stormtroopers - which are very slightly different to the movie versions in that they have more pronounced side cheek armour on their helmets which gives them an almost chipmunk look. Now that sounds crazy, but it looks more menacing.

Anyone who is interested in the events leading up to Vader's arrival at Tarkin's Death Star will find this an enjoyable read.

Darren Rea

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