Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost #3

Writer: Mike Richardson
Artist: Paul Gulacy
Colorist: Michael Bartolo
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Dave Dorman

I just love checking out the covers for this series. Dave Dorman has really been knocking out some great artwork that combines the emotion of action with gorgeous details. No cartoonish style here. Dave’s art cuts toward realism. The attention to detail, like the blaster bolts burning holes through Kir’s cape, really adds a layer of icing on the action. Below that icing there’s the stormtroopers grasping desperately in death. One is choking, the other trying to pull a deadly blade from his chest to no avail. Even in the background, there are bodies piling up, all adding to the drama. Kir Kanos appears starkly in his red armor like a crimson angel of death. It’s the perfect way to start the story. No eye candy here; this is a buffet.

Page one continues the feast with a nice full page panel of some snowtroopers manning an E-web blaster canon. The issue shows Han Solo in general mode, which is kind of neat to see again. As a plus, Han and Leia are both recognizable as themselves for the most part.

Art wise there was one shot that showcased Kir’s helmet that really caught my attention. It’s a scene of some Imperials giving a toast. Kir is barely in the panel. Yet the helmet is there on some kind of pedestal. All of the attention of the panel is on that helmet, which is beautifully illustrated. “The living emblem of Palaptine’s rule,” is the dialog bubble that rings true with the imagery. It just has a nice harmony to it; a strong sense of emotion.

I love the way Kanos' Royal Guard helmet is the center of attention in this panel. It's a striking image.

The panels also do a great job of capturing the people in each scene. Their posture and expressions do a perfect job of conveying the characters thoughts and feelings. Each scene has a real underlying vibe to it that reinforces the dialog. It adds a second dimension to the story, one truly told through imagery.

This is a good example of how the panels shift focus in a very cinematic way, enhances the emotion by showcasing different elements in each scene. This is especially apparent with the face shots.

The writing doesn’t slouch any either, as the writing of the characters is very strong. It’s easy to see where Kanos is coming from. His responses feel natural. His host, Devian, is on the face of it a caricature of the cultured villain. Yet his eccentricities, his pride, his selfishness, these characteristics don’t make him unbelievable as a character. Instead they define him and provide reason for actions. Rather than making him silly, they make sense. At this time for the Empire, Pellaeon is the sympathetic leader. Devian represents those who are disgruntled, whose misguided ambitions and egos demand the war continue. For people so far from reality, Devian is the perfect leader. The story does a good job of building that psychological layer. It’s a well crafted story from start to finish.

Great art and a great story earn Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost #3 a well deserved five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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