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Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 5

What is it ? : Kir Kanos and Mirith Sinn are on Xo, taking refuge in a hilltop temple and are being attacked by the Xanibar, when an X-Wing comes to their rescue. Mirith manages to clamber aboard when the Xanibar are forced back by its weapons, but Kanos falls and is left behind.
On Ord Cantrell a group of the remaining council members, all Imperial officers are discussing the poor position the Empire finds itself in, with many Whipid bodyguards posed to turn against them because of the death of Council member Ch'Unkk, and Baron D'Asta's forces turning on them because of the arrest of his daughter. And that's not counting the New Republic and Kir Kanos himself.
Nearby Xandel Carivus is convincing himself of his own importance due to the attack by a clone of himself, and as the group of officers come to a plan to use their positions to convince him to release Feena D'Asta to remove at least one enemy, Xandel approaches them with his guards and informs them he has declared himself Emperor and disbanded the council.
Meanwhile on Genon, Grappa the Hutt is finishing loading all the dead bodies from his party into his personal starship which he plans to have an "accident" to account for all the deaths, asking his droid to remind him not to just shoot anyone in the future. He is interrupted by a call from a Black Sun superior who is looking for Macus Kayniph, as Kaniph's plans have failed. But as he attempts to use Kaniph's body once again, he discovers that it has been left unrefrigerated and began to rot, so he ends the call. But is once again interrupted, this time by the Xanibar, who present Kir Kanos, offering Grappa 10% of the reward for dealing with the Empire for them.
Mirith Sinn and the pilot of the X-Wing have returned to a New Republic base, where the pilot reveals himself to be Tav Kennede, so of the master instructor of the Royal Guardsmen, and he tells her how he was contacted by Kir Kanos and they've been working together to get revenge on those that killed Palpatine and slaughtered the Royal Guardsmen. This plan was to be that Kir Kanos would use his fake identity as the bounty hunter Kenix Kil to become famous enough that the Council would hire him to capture Kir Kanos, allowing him to get close enough to the council to strike. But that plan was abandoned to rescue Mirith as Kanos had said he owed her.
The two then discuss if Kanos was on Genon, then who was killing the council members, and wonder if it is to do with the clones that Mirith discovered and Black Sun, but decide to wait as many factions may be involved in unrelated schemes. They then scramble into fighters to take part in a raid.
Xandel Carivus is resting in his chambers and is told of Baron D'Asta's forces turning on the Empire, forces which he considers insignificant against the might he commands, telling the officer to not bother him with trivialities like that again. When Nom Amor emerges from the shadows, questioning him over diverging from Amor's plan, but Carivus tells him that he is Emperor now and doesn't need Amor's assistance, and Amor warns him that he is meddling with forces he doesn't comprehend, when Carivus is contacted again and told of Grappa's message about having Kir Kanos.
Mirith Sinn and Tav Kennede take part in a raid on the Black Sun cloning facilities, destroying them, and Black Sun once again contacts Grappa with Dengar telling Grappa of the news. Black Sun blames Macus Kayniph directly for this disaster, and ask Grappa to keep him prisoner. Grappa turns from the screen to discover that Mirith Sinn and Tav Kennede have stormed his palace, rescuing Kir Kanos & Feena D'Asta and putting Grappa in one of his own prison cells.
Xandel Carivus is informed that his fleets are too scattered to fight Baron D'Asta's forces are being overwhelmed, and as the communication is cut by the destruction of the Admirals Star Destroyer, Carivus futilely calls for Nom Amor, saying he needs his help, when Baron D'Asta himself contacts him, telling him that he should have released his daughter when asked, and now his fleets are crushed, his defences broken and his fate sealed . . . .

High Points : Well the story is certainly moving along at a high pace, with them going from fighting the Xanibar, to Republic forces attacking Black Sun, to the Imperial Remnant turning upon itself, to Grappa being captured. There's a load going on.
And finally we get some of the plots revealed, with us finding out Kir Kanos' plan at Grappa's palace and to strike against the ruling council.

A moment which amused me is when Mirith Sinn and Tav Kennede rescue Kir Kanos, he tells her that she shouldn't have put herself in danger for him, and she tells him that he's not the only one who understands the concept of honour. Meanwhile in the background, Grappa exhales and exclaims "Puh-leeze", which I found to be one of the most 90's teenage girl things I'd ever seen a Hutt say.

Low Points : However, the story is moving perhaps too quickly, with Mirith Sinn and Tav Kennede basically jumping in fighters to attack Black Sun as soon as they return from Xo, and then arriving at Grappa's palace on a totally different world faster than news of the attack can travel.

And the plan we're told is frankly ridiculous, basically amounting to becoming famous enough to be summoned to the Ruling Council to hunt himself, without being recognised. Although since they've already issued a massive bounty for him, I'm not sure why they'd need to meet his Bounty Hunter identity face to face.
It seems the equivalent of trying to win America's Got Talent so you could assassinate Simon Cowell . . . there's got to be easier ways of doing it.

So what do you really think ? : For all of the nonsensical plans, and nonsensical movement, the story reads well, and it has the feeling of beginning to wrap up the storyline. Which leads to me giving it a higher rating than previous issues.
And with Mirith Sinn now having Feena D'Asta, it looks as if she'll be able to bring Baron D'Asta into an alliance with the Republic, dooming the Empire even further. Which is interesting on a political level for the state of the galaxy after Return of the Jedi, but does seem irrelevant to the events of these comics.

Final Words : So, one more issue of Council of Blood to go, and the story seems to be pretty much wrapped up with events just needing to play out.
The Ruling Council is pretty much destroyed, and Kir Kanos can get his revenge alongside the forces of the Republic and Baron D'Asta against the Imperial Remnant, I can't really see any twists or turns which can alter events at this point.

Score : 8/10

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