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Comic Book / Star Wars: Crimson Empire

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You didn't think Jedi were the only One Man Armys in the galaxy, did you?

"The elite soldiers of Emperor Palpatine's Royal Guard were among the most feared in the galaxy – so feared that after the Emperor's death, those who assumed power ordered the murder of all of them. But one, Kir Kanos, survived..."

Following the events of Dark Empire, Palpatine's Imperial guards have all been assassinated under the orders of one of their own, Carnor Jax, who has positioned himself to become the new leader of the Imperial Remnant forces. But all is not well for the new Emperor ascendant, as he knows that one of his former brothers-in-arms still lives: his long-time rival, Kir Kanos. While Jax dedicates all of his time and forces to hunting down the one man who can bring his rule crumbling down, Kanos allies himself with a band of Rebels as he begins a one-man war against the Empire — in the name of the former Emperor who he still swears allegiance to.

Crimson Empire was a series of Star Wars Legends comic books written by Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley. They were originally released by Dark Horse Comics in 1997 and 1998 as a six-issue monthly series, which was later compiled and sold as a trade paperback. Its first sequel, Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood, was released later in 1998 and 1999.

It is primarily acclaimed for the 12-page final duel between Kir Kanos and Carnor Jax. In late 2008, it was claimed that work on Crimson Empire III, the second sequel to Crimson Empire, would begin; Stradley later debunked this claim. At Celebration V it was announced that Crimson Empire III would be released in 2011. It was finally finished in September 2012.

This comic contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The series makes considerably more sense if you've read Dark Empire.
  • Arc Words: "Thus die all traitors."
  • Ascended Extra:
    • The entire point of the series is showing how badass the Royal Guard is.
    • Nom Anor is a HUGE one, originally debuting in this series.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Kir Kanos is this, in spades. A Retcon establishes that he's Force-sensitive, though.
    • Blim, weirdly enough, is said to be one, although it's more an Informed Attribute than anything else.
    • Sadeet is pretty awesome, too.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the third issue, Kir Kanos retells how he and another guard were the last survivors loyal to Palpatine. Facing an ambush, they drew straw (using a coin) to decide who would stay behind to allow the other a chance at escape. Kile Hannad, the other guard, won the draw, and the honor of dying in battle. Kir Kanos survived to fight another day.
  • Big Bad: Carnor Jax and Ennix Devian.
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • Xandel Carivus.
    • Subverted by Carnor Jax, who managed to take over the Empire and the Sith from Emperor Palpatine, despite only being a Royal Guard. Yet, from all sources, seems to have been a surprisingly competent ruler had his obsession of killing Kir Kanos not gotten in the way.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Happens to Blim off panel. One minute we see him about to snipe Kir Kanos, the next, he's lying there with a huge wonkin' hole in his head, courtesy of Sadeet the Trandoshan.
  • The Cameo: Gilad Pallaeon makes an appearance in the third arc.
  • Dark Lord: Carnor Jax was an aspiring Sith Lord and managed to pull this off quite well.
  • The Dragon:
    • Ennix Devian was sort of this to Emperor Palpatine (presumably for jobs Vader was overqualified for).
    • Blim to Jax.
  • Dragon Ascendant:
  • Played with in the first comic. Carnor Jax is way down the totem pole from The Dragon. His master, Lumiya, is further up the food chain, being The Dragon to Darth Vader. (effectively making Carnor Jax the Dragon to the Dragon to the Dragon).
  • Which makes Blim the Dragon to the Dragon to the Dragon to the Dragon!
  • Elective Mute: Blim. The sourcebook says he isn't a mute, but chooses to remain silent so people will underestimate him.
  • The Emperor: Carnor Jax is the ruler of the Imperial Remnant... temporarily. By all accounts he does appear to be a competent leader for the short time he was in charge, but his obsession with Kanos inevitably lead to his downfall.
  • General Failure: Jax thinks Wessel is this. "Wessel is a fool."
  • Honor Before Reason: A major theme of the comic. Played with in that despite his loyalty to him, Kanos is more than aware the Emperor was a complete jackass.
  • Info Dump: In the very first issue. Jax assumes the role of Mr. Exposition when he tells Wessel the entire basis of their plan — something Wessel should already know. Possibly justified, considering that Jax thinks Wessel is an idiot.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Xandel Carivus imprisons Feena D'asta, causing her father to send his entire fleet to rescue her. Whoops. It doesn't help that Carivus isn't even concerned about the safety of his own troops.
  • Obviously Evil:
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • Nom Anor turns out to be a scout for the Yuuzhan Vong.
    • Lumiya was retconned to be behind Carnor Jax.
  • Rite of Passage: The Emperor's guards have to fight Darth Vader to prove their worth. It's more of a learning experience for the other guards to see the poor soul get obliterated by Vader to make them feel like they need to push themselves harder to just become a fraction as good as the Sith Lord.
  • The Starscream: Carnor Jax to Palpatine.
  • You Have Failed Me: Jax wouldn't be a proper Imperial villain if he didn't do this. It's strongly implied he has Shev killed for disobeying orders and being an idiot.