Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.

Chapter By Chapter Star Wars - Shadows Of The Empire

When we last left our heroes Luke was playing with his Easy Bake Crystal Oven, Vader tried to bump off Xizor, and that’s pretty much it. A quick skim tells me that this chapter won’t be any different.

For our heroes, everyone meets up at Ben’s old place, where Luke is still cooking the jewel he needs for the lightsaber. Lando tells him that they may have found Boba Fett, and Luke wants to rush out. He still has some of that impetuous nature that Yoda was concerned about but he wants to save his friend, has been sitting around waiting, and wants to get in the air again. Chewie (as translated by Threepio) suggests getting help from the Alliance. Leia will call them and Luke suggests Rogue Squadron, Wedge’s group and a future Chapter By Chapter may get into some of their solo adventures (no pun intended) as I do have some of that novel series.

There is some examination of Luke. Leia notes feeling for Luke but not the same as with Han, whom she is very much in love with. (And we all know why.) The narrator also mentions that everyone in our group likes Luke, but oddly it doesn’t feel like a character suggesting it was either the Force or that Luke is just that nice a guy. If it was intended to be more of Leia’s thoughts it didn’t come off that way as I read it.

So what’s our guest villain up to? Apparently there is a spy among the Vigos, the lieutenants of Black Sun, and Xizor knows who it is. Of course, it’s the human because humans are treacherous. Xizor/the narrator even tells us that. (Of course he also notes that the Hutt Vigo would stage a coup.) I don’t know what kind of betrayal Green planned and Xizor doesn’t care if he’s from the Empire, the Rebels, or a rival. I thinks this scene is just to show how merciless Xizor is, along with Guri.

Then we get more of Xizor’s plan for Vader. Not only does Xizor plan to kill Luke to embarrass Darth Vader, but to frame Vader for the death, keeping Black Sun out of “view”. This is after he learned Luke was Anakin’s son, and he knows Anakin is Vader, so there seems to be a flaw here. Sure, in hindsight we know Anakin/Vader killed Padme but that was a rage-induced accident because Obi-Wan snuck aboard. However, the prequels had yet to take place when this book came out so at the time we really didn’t know what happened to Luke and Leia’s mother or the details of their being split up. Xizor apparently thinks the Emperor is stupid. Bringing the prequels back, Anakin didn’t know about the twins if I recall correctly, just that Padme was pregnant. Bringing his to the Dark Side as his apprentice would make up for that. (Notice that he didn’t threaten to kill Leia to goad Luke during the final battle on the second Death Star but to turn her to the Dark Side.)

Without the prequels, Luke is still his son so of course he’d try to find a way to save him. Xizor himself even noted that previously. I’m pretty sure the Emperor would see through that ruse, but we’ll have to see. I know the comics aren’t in continuity with the novels (and now neither of them are in continuity at all) but we saw back in Star Wars Tales #9 that the Emperor is willing to mess with his apprentices to keep them in line. In The Clone Wars he had Dookoo kill Asajj Ventress, as SFDebris pointed out their most competent and loyal assassin, to prove the Count’s only loyalty. A dumb idea, but that’s how Darth Sidious rolls. It’s all about power and manipulation. No surprise he turned out to be a politician, is there?

So far the hero side of the story feels stalled while the villain is getting stuff done. It might have been better to have good guys and bad guys swap chapters rather than share one. This would move the hero plot along faster and still give the villain plot more development time. But I’m still enjoying it so far. Next week we’ll see what chapter 5 does.

 

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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