About the Author:
As well as writing comic books, Scott Allie also works as an editor.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3.7 out of 5
Solomon Kane: The Castle Of The Devil
(Art by Mario Guevara)
The first of Dark Horse's Solomon Kane series, based upon a story fragment from Kane's creator Robert E. Howard. Wandering the forests of Sixteenth Century Germany, English Puritan Solomon Kane comes across the titular Castle of the Devil and has to unravel the demonic plots centred around it.
It took me a little while to get into this book since the dialogue is all either in the 16th Century idiom or in untranslated German. On top of that, Kane is a singularly unlikable protagonist. However, in that protagonist's character we see his origins in the writings of Howard shine through and, having enjoyed that tragic author's Conan stories, I was finally able to get to grips with this one.
Basically this is an enjoyable but not remarkable story of a wandering religious avenger who comes across a castle where demon worshippers hold sway. Every bit in keeping with the pulp fiction origins of Kane, but a little out of touch with modern storytelling.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Empire - Betrayal
(Art by Ryan Benjamin and Curtis Arnold)
The first and best in the 'Empire' series of graphic novels telling further stories of the classic era of Star Wars. Weeks before the events of Episode IV, a group of high ranking Imperials plot to overthrow their Sith masters, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, and when Vader is despatched to kill a Jedi, the conspirators see their chance. The plotters are torn by internal treacheries but manage to put their plan in effect only to be drawn up short by a tiny little problem; the Dark Lords of the Sith themselves.
This book revels in the treachery of the Imperial leadership and the pure power of the dark side of the Force. We get to see Palpatine at his most devious, as well as fully unleashed. Amusingly, he's perfectly calm until someone spills his drink and then it's all Force-lightning (what I wouldn't give to have that ability in the pub on a Friday night...).
However the best element of the story is Vader's mission. He finds himself facing a small army of bounty hunters alone and uses all of his considerable power to fight them, making for some great action. Then things get even better when none other than Boba Fett steps in to aid Vader. When these two characters are featured together there is a sort of bond between them that can't be explained but which makes the book ten times cooler and more fun. I will say that some of Fett's dialogue does seem a little out of character (I don't picture him as referring to Vader as 'big guy') but that's forgiveable really.
So; sinister plots, dynamic action and the unstoppable power of the Sith. What more could you possibly want from a graphic novel, eh?
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi - The Dark Side
(Art by Mahmud Asrar)
53 BBY. This book takes us back to the days when Qui-Gon Jinn is training his second apprentice, Xanatos, years before he meets Obi-Wan Kenobi. Qui-Gon and Xanatos are sent with two other Jedi to prevent a civil war on the planet Telos, where Xanatos' blood ties will test his loyalty to the Jedi Order to breaking point.
Qui-Gon has long been a favourite character of mine so I really enjoyed seeing this tale of his early adventures, as well as getting the full backstory to the brilliant Dark Jedi villain of Jude Watson's Jedi Apprentice books.
Overall this is a great adventure for the Jedi involved and the only disappointing aspect is that the series was cancelled immediately after this book's release, so some of the plot threads established (such as Dairoki's mysterious past) have never been and will never be resolved.
4 out of 5