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Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 4

What is it ? : Kir Kanos arrives on Xo in his A-Wing Starfighter, hiding it in the exotic jungle of the world and setting off on foot.
Meanwhile, Grappa the Hutt is communicating with a high up within Black Sun, telling him that Macus Kayniph is going to stay on longer as he is enjoying Grappa's hospitality, before he fakes a storm to break the communication. He orders Jawa's to take Kayniph's body away, while he has a conversation with the Pirate Captain, Sol Mon.
Sol Mon remarks on Grappa having killed everyone in attendance at the party to remove all witnesses, and that parties will be cheaper with just the two of them in attendance in the future. Grappa doesn't enjoy the humour Sol Mon finds in the situation, talking about finding a suitable accident to explain all the deaths.
On Xo, Kir Kanos stealthily approaches a village, replacing one of the Zanibar so he can infiltrate in disguise. He discovers Massimo's body, having already been killed in one of the Zanibar ceremonies, and finds Mirith Sinn, helping her escape.
They're discovered by the Zanibar who pursue them back to the A-Wing, which is revealed to be Mirith Sinn's, which Kanos took as he thought his ship would be under guard. With Sinn piloting, and Kanos holding onto the wing of the 1 man fighter, they attempt to flee under fire from a Zanibar ship.
On the world of Ord Cantrell, leader of the ruling council, Xandel Carivus, comes under attack by assassins, but his guards are successful in defeating them, only to discover the assassins are clones of Carivus himself.
Under heavy fire, Kanos and Sinn crash back into the jungles of Xo, and flee on foot, with Kanos claiming to have a plan. Sinn gets attacked by a carnivorous plant, which Kanos saves her from. They discuss that he has saved her life, and she tells him that once this is over, each owes the other nothing and can go their own ways. But the noise of their conversation attracts another carnivorous creature, which they defeat together this time both having to rely on the other.
They camp down for the night, with Kanos jury rigging a blaster for warmth, and Sinn discusses her husband, and shows him a recording of Vader killing him while telling those around that the Emperor doesn't care if they starve, as long as they submit to him. This puts a crack in Kanos' faith in Palpatine, and she asks him to not listen to his training any more, but to listen to his heart.
In the morning they discover a temple, and Kanos notes that the statues here are not Zanibar, but are human and probably old enough to predate the Old Republic. But as they climb the temple steps, a large number of Zanibar arrive and start scrambling up the sides of the temple as well . . . .

High Points : Well, at least we're beginning to get some answers to what is going on, even if those answers are a little disappointing, and the story focuses on Kir Kanos as protagonist for the first time, and we get an issue about him rather than the political intrigues of the Imperial Remnant and The Hutt's.

Low Points : But the answers we get are a little disappointing, as in previous issues I'd commented that Sinn and Kanos must be working together as their appearance at Grappa's palace seemed too coincidental. I commented that we'd been given no information on why Kanos was there, and no information on whether Sinn had tracked Kanos to perhaps going there.
But it turns out to be worse than that, as we're now told that Sinn wasn't even looking for Kanos, that was just her cover story, and that she was actually investigating Grappa's involvement in the hijackings.
So them both being there is in the story, just a massive coincidence, which just feels like bad story telling.

I've also complained that there are too many mysteries not getting answered, and we still have no idea about why Kanos is there, and why suddenly he's out to rescue Sinn, when the last time they saw each other was when she was swearing vengeance after Kanos killed her friend, and explained they weren't allies, they just had a temporary shared goal.
And with the sudden appearance of the plot involving the clones of Xandel Carivus trying to assassinate him, it makes Kanos and Sinn seem irrelevant to the most important plot in this comic series.

And finally the black dreadlocked pirate captain's name is "Sol Mon"? Honestly, I know Star Wars has always been pretty terrible at naming characters (Savage Opress I'm looking at you), but naming him "Soul Man" just seems racist.

So what do you really think ? : We're over half way through the story, and we're still pretty much unaware of what the story is. I have a feeling that everything going on with Grappa and Xandel Carivus is going to be just side plot, and the real storyline the authors are trying to tell is will be of Kir Kanos turning his back on his training and accepting that Palpatine wasn't a nice guy, so abandoning his quest and joining the Republic.
Which kind of defeats the entire purpose of the character, who in the original was a bad guy, just an honourable one, who was on a quest to kill other bad guys, but dishonourable ones.
But this series does seem set on ignoring the character traits set up in the first story, with Mirith Sinn's husband now having had a business relationship with someone on the ruling council of the Empire, instead of just being a farmer as we were told. And Massimo, who in the original story borrowed a ship so he could aid Mirith Sinn because he felt he owed her because he'd disagreed with her decisions earlier in the story, but this story he sells her mission out to Grappa for profit, which seems quite a massive change in characterisation (that's not to say you couldn't do that with a character, but it'd be nice to see why they'd changed their mind from loyalty to a person, to selling them out for profit)..

Final Words : Well, 2 more issues to go, but the next issue is promising "Revelation time", so perhaps we'll finally get some answers to give us some idea of what's going on, and what the motivation of the characters are.

Score : 7.5/10

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