Comic Review | Star Wars: Hidden Empire #4
Can Qi’ra overcome Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Hidden Empire #4? Or is the power of the Sith too strong?
Hidden Empire is debuting its penultimate issue and the excitement building inside me is about to burst. I haven’t been anticipating something Star Wars related since the weeks and months before The Force Awakens‘ release in 2015! The Hidden Empire series is using a tried-and-true technique to move the action as agonizingly slowly as possible. Leaving us with cliffhangers that leave us burning for more. Who is the ancient Sith Lord locked in the Fermata Cage? Will he be a problem for Vader and Palpatine or will it be an anti-climactic dud?
THE MYSTERIOUS SITH LORD!
Those questions will be answered soon and for now, we get to see some fun Empire vs Crimson Dawn filler. Lady Qi’ra deploys her fleet against the Executor and the Executor’s target is none other than the Axamine space station that premiered in a story told over 200 years prior in the Into the Dark book. Back in those High Republic days, the station contained the ancient threat of the Drengir. And even centuries later, its dark side presence still lingers and is picked up by Emperor Palpatine!
Seeing Palpatine in a vulnerable position is always interesting. And he really takes a hands-on approach in this comic, giving the admiral direct orders himself from the bridge of the Executor. He seems much more patient than Vader. And even when the admiral tells the Emperor that there may be a delay in the destruction of the station, the Emperor does not kill or punish him. That’s what I expected and this shows a clear difference between the Emperor’s and Vader’s ruling style.
Vader is much more impatient and the Emperor rarely directly commands his military but seems to be far better at it. I also loved seeing Vader and Palpatine having a brief sparring match with lightsabers in the beginning. Palpatine remarks he hasn’t used his saber in quite some time and ends the fight after a few blows. Why? Is the Emperor rusty and doesn’t want Vader to know his fragility? “Enough,” he says after barely dealing with some strikes. This could be a subtle nod that the Emperor is getting old and is not as infallible as he once was.
We are close to Return of the Jedi by several months. And we all know that in the 1983 movie, the Emperor did NOT sense the presence of Luke Skywalker on the Sanctuary Moon. The cracks are there and perhaps Palpy should just stick to Force lightning! Lastly, I am so impressed by the bravery and determination of Lady Qi’ra in her quest to eradicate the Sith and restore freedom to the galaxy. She is an excellent motivational speaker, addressing her fleet before deployment and Palpatine himself admits she is quite clever. Crimson Dawn is a criminal organization but Qi’ra has more compassion than her predecessors Maul and Dryden. I believe that yes, she wants to commit criminal acts – but if she understands the Sith are a growth on the galaxy that needs to be removed, she could prove a powerful ally in future eras.
I CANNOT wait for the finale and hope the final confrontation is not brief and antic climactic. Solid A for this issue.
Star Wars: Hidden Empire #4 is published by Marvel Comics and is available to buy now.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!