Empire #4 Betrayal Part 4 (of 4)
Story: Scott Allie
Pencils: Ryan Benjamin
Inking: Curtis Arnold
Coloring: Dave Stewart
Lettering: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Brian Horton
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/01/2007)
The conspiracy against the Sith comes to an end. Vader fights off several freelancers on the planet Dargulli, with help from bounty hunter Boba Fett. Then he finds the object of his mission: a Force-using female who wants to become Vader's Sith apprentice and Vader must resist the temptation and prove his loyalty. Meanwhile on Coruscant the Emperor confronts Moff Kadir who just attempted to kill him. After showing Kadir that the rest of his plans have failed, he dispatches him with Force lightning. Vader then comes back to the palace after dispatching the traitorous Admiral Dezsetes and his stormtroopers and the Emperor is pleased by his apprentice's loyalty.
The Emperor had foreseen it all and uses the conspiracy to his advantage; it helped him in rooting out and eliminating traitors that work close to him. It's cool to see Boba's and Vader's interaction, especially in light of the Boba Fett: Enemy of the Empire series. As soon as Fett hears Vader is in town and in trouble, he drops a game he was about to join, and even betrays his gambling buddies when they join the mercenaries taking on the Dark Lord. Also, the fact that Vader strikes down the wanna-be-Sith lady instead of accepting her as his apprentice indicates that she was the first: he does take on some apprentices later on, such as Shira Brie and Vost Tyne. When Vader comes back to the Emperor's throne room, his next assignment is going in his Master's place to help in the final preparations of the Death Star, which of course leads directly into A New Hope. I do hope though that there is still some room in the continuity for Vader's presence on Ralltiir in the radio drama (which is also coincidentally the basis for the next story arc in this series). Although I was more excited at the beginning of this story, it turned out to be quite enjoyable but nothing extraordinary. It has some cool moments and deserves to be read at least once.
The artist must have had some fun drawing Vader, the Emperor and Boba Fett in this series, although they are not the best artistic representations I've seen. The action poses are nice, and it's cool to see a Dug in the Empire era. About the covers by Brian Horton: I think they were consistently good and represent the tone of the story very well.
An official prequel to A New Hope. Recommended although not essential.
Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended