Publisher: Dark Horse
File Type: .CBR
Schedule: Monthly (Ongoing)
Writers: Welles Hartley & Mick Harrison
Artist: Douglas Wheatley
Dark Horse's Star Wars titles have always been a cut above the source material of the
prequels in my eyes, but having Lucas bring the saga to a close has proved an unexpected
boon for the titles. Dark Times is the fourth book to be launched in this new, post-movie
era, and it might be the best of the bunch. Following directly on the heels of 'Order 66?,
the order that turned the clone troopers against the Jedi, Dark Times tells the story of a
Jedi who has joined forces with his former enemies in a battle against a growing Empire that
fans of the Star Wars saga know he’s destined to lose. It’s an oddly dark setting for Star Wars,
but one filled with potential for heroism and action, and the creators of Star Wars: Dark Times
are off to a good start on that score.
Dark Times is actually the follow up to a story that closed out the Star Wars: Republic title,
written by Welles Hartley. However, one needn’t have read that story to follow Dark Times,
which is very approachable to anyone with the barest familiarity with the Star Wars universe.
The general notion of the aftermath of a war and what happens to the losing side is a fairly
universal story, and the Star Wars specific touches, like Darth Vader’s grief and anger over
events in Episode III or references to Order 66 and Clone troopers are very much background
details. Like the best Dark Horse comics, this is a science-fiction and adventure story first,
and a Star Wars story second. Hartley builds his story around interesting characters and plots,
rather than around continuity minutiae.
As I noted above, Dark Times earns its title with a fairly dark tone. The final struggle waged
by now-renegade Jedi Dass Jennir and his troops is a doomed one, and while the action is well-
choreographed, the end result is not the usual heroic triumph. Instead, it’s more of the noble
sacrifice, as the soldiers try to stall to give their loved ones time to escape off-world. The
end result of that fight is the one that will drive the rest of this story arc, and I like that
it is dark but not as brutally dark as it could have been. To offer a minor spoiler, the families
and non-combatants aren’t slaughtered, but merely placed in a situation of great jeopardy.
Star Wars Dark Times interior page Dark Times carries with it all the wonder and imagination
of the Star Wars universe. Hartley and Harrison bring to life some very interesting characters,
especially the crew of the starship that shows up in the last few pages, and Wheatley does an
astounding job with the character designs. There are also lush backgrounds, like the forested
world on which the first issue is mostly set or a gorgeously detailed spaceport full of well-
imagined starships. And exciting action sequences, as Wheatley brings to life a really clever
moment by Hartley and Harrison in which the Jedi cuts down a tree with his lightsaber to impede
some Imperial tanks.