"Star Wars: Dark Empire" Is a graphic novel that takes place a few years after the events of the Star Wars movies. The alliance gained considerable power, but the empire is still fighting back. Leia and Hans Solo have twins and Luke is a full Jedi Master.
The story really takes off when shortly into it you discover that while the Emperor technically died in the events of the movies he has clones across the galaxy and he is able to use the power of the Dark Side to transfer into these bodies making him practically immortal.
With the force of the Emperor behind them the Empire again begins to grow quickly using a new super weapon they have created. These include ships with built in droid factories able to create unmanned fighters during combat and devastators that, while weaker than the Death Star are easier to mass produce.
Convinced that he will be unable to beat the empire Luke agrees to become his apprentice in order to learn his secrets and while for a short while he leads the armies of the Emperor he is never truly on the side of the empire and he becomes powerful enough to destroy the emperor's clones and defeat him again.
Made by Dark Horse comics Dark Empire was published in the early nineties and was remarkable both because it was the first comic books in the Star Wars universe made by Dark Horse as well as because they followed the events of Timothy Zahn's "Grand Admiral Thrawn" trilogy.
There is a great deal here that the fans of Star Wars will love. From seeing what happens to the characters to the visual representations of so many great ideas and inventions of the Star Wars movies. This is, in my opinion, the stories that the Star Wars fans wanted instead of the prequels.
That said there are some problems. Though in many places the art is great it is often difficult to truly see which character is which by the art. Luke and Hans often appear in monochrome and it is difficult to tell which is which. Luckily most of the characters are very easy to tell apart as they are seven foot tall Wookies or droids. In addition to this the story sometimes moves a bit to quickly. The choice of Luke to work with the emperor happens within panels.
Even with its few flaws this is a fantastic story with a true Star Wars feel and a considerable amount of extra materials and anyone who considers himself a fan of the Star Wars movies should pick up this graphic novel and give it a chance.