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Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 3



What is it ? : We begin with another pirate attack on a cargo convoy deep in space, the convoy was intending to hide by taking an obscure out of the way route, but they have been found and are boarded.
Meanwhile, Kir Kanos in his bounty hunter disguise is at a firing range shooting at realistic targets, speaking to a robed human who tells him of Mirith Sinn's activities looking for Kanos, and Kanos asks him to keep an eye on her.
In the city of De Purteen on Ord Cantrell, Xandel Carivus, the current leader of the Empire returns to his quarters, taking with him a number of his personal guards, overruling objections by naming those who have been assassinated, Burr Nolyds, Admiral Banjeer and now General Immodet, When he is alone inside, he meets with Nom Amor, who he grabs, panicking about all of the council deaths, but Amor slaps him to the ground. Amor tells him that plans are still on track, and that Kir Kanos is of no concern to him.
On Genon, Grappa the Hutt meets with the Zanibar, the aliens he uses to torture and kill, they have an agreement that they work for him, in exchange for bodies for their ceremonies, and tell him they require more bodies, and he asks them to wait as it is quiet at the moment, and they agree, for the moment.
Massimo, Mirith Sinn's subordinate from Crimson Empire I, arrives and offers Grappa information on Mirith's true mission here.
Back on Ord Cantrell, the Ruling Council is summoned to a meeting in the middle of the night, Feena D'Asta complains about the timing, and the fact that Xandel has not arrived yet, but when he does, she complains about his guards attending a meeting, but a fight breaks out when Xandel orders his guards to arrest her and all the non-human members of the council, with Feena telling him he won't get away with it. Xandel responds that he already has.
Back on Genon, Grappa is meeting with Macus Kayniph, a leader within the Black Sun criminal organisation, and Mirith Sinn attempts to infiltrate an area of the complex she is not supposed to access when she is spotted by a droid, which she sabotages and uses the distraction to enter Feena D'Asta's holding cell. Feena seems drugged and out of it, and Mirith tries to remind her that they used to be friends, Mirith's husband and Feena's father were in business together, but she is soon discovered by one of the guards, but he is dispatched by the robed figure that Kir Kanos asked to keep an eye on her earlier.
Returning to the meeting, Grappa tells her she has someone he wants her to meet, and introduces her to Massimo, who she is surprised to see away from Phaeda. Grappa has them both seized, revealing that Massimo has told him that she is here looking for the source of the Pirate raids on New Republic shipments. When Massimo complains, saying they had a deal, Grappa comments that if he'd betray his own commander, then he'd betray Grappa as well, so can't be trusted.
Macus commends Grappa for dealing with the problem, telling him that he might have bought the story of her searching for Kir Kanos as well, as he has a sizable portion of his own forces searching for the man so they can claim the substantial reward offered by The Empire, revealing that Kir Kanos is currently going by the name Kenix Kil, a name Grappa recognises, ordering the Zanibar to get Kanos, but they find he is already gone. Grappa is angered by this, and with a cry of incompetence everywhere, he grabs a Zanibar gun and shoots their leader. Macus scolds Grappa over his overreaction, and Grappa guns him down too, ordering his people to find Kir Kanos.
In orbit, Kir Kanos is piloting an A-Wing starfighter, and orders the navigation droid to plot a course to the Planet Xo, homeworld of the Zanibar. . . .

High Points : Well I can't complain that nothing happens, as it's definitely a packed issue, but what's going on seems so nonsensical that I can't really enjoy anything except the intrigue on Ord Cantrell, as it's managing to keep my interest.
That's not to say this issue is bad, it's certainly not, the artwork is great and the plot moves along at a good speed, being told skillfully, but just not in a manner which entertains me particularly.

Low Points : So much happens without a purpose or any particular known reason. Why does Massimo turn up, he seemed loyal to the Republic when we last saw him? What is Mirith Sinn actually up to? Who's the robed figure Kir Kanos asked to keep an eye on Mirith Sinn?, why does he seem loyal to Kir Kanos when he's working for Grappa?, and why does he rescue her when Kanos only asked him to keep an eye on her? Why does Grappa kill the leader of the Zanibar and then a leader of Black Sun? Why is Xandel Carivus having the non-human members of the council arrested, potentially weakening the Empire by removing some of the few allies it has? What's Nom Amor's plan? Why's Kir Kanos going to Xo?
Just so many questions with no answers, and it's really getting frustrating and annoying because almost everyone in the story is acting on plans and information that the reader isn't privy to, so it just seems all a bit random.
And let's be honest, a Republic leader of a backwater planet's base just happens to be friends with one of the members of the Imperial Ruling Council, it seems extremely unlikely and stretching credibility.

So what do you really think ? : As I said above, it's well told, but all just a bit confusing and without motivation for the characters, it seems all a bit pointless.

Final Words : This is a massive disappointment after Crimson Empire, the massive action scene's we had in that are missing, and the clear motivations that the characters had (Kir Kanos seeking revenge for the councils actions against Palpatine, Mirith Sinn seeking allies for the Republic and fighting the Empire) are gone, and without them it's difficult to become invested in their actions.
Hopefully as we enter the second half of the series, we'll get some revelations and it'll allow us to get behind the characters a bit more.

Score : 7/10






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