|Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood|
Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood was a series of comic books written by Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley, and the sequel to Crimson Empire. They were originally released by Dark Horse Comics in 1998 and 1999 as a 6-issue monthly series, which were later compiled and sold as a trade paperback. They are part of a larger series, the Crimson Empire story arc.
Following the death of Imperial Guard turncoat Carnor Jax at the hand of the last Guard, Kir Kanos, the Galactic Empire suddenly finds itself devoid of a leader, and an Interim Council is assembled to rule the Empire until a new Emperor can be selected. But when Council members become targets for assassination, Kanos becomes the prime suspect and again stands at the center of a storm!
With the death of Jax, the Ruling Council was spurred to offer an even greater bounty for Kanos's head than before. With such a huge amount on his head, Kanos needed an alias, and he began to relegate himself to backwater worlds once again, trying to keep the focus off himself. Back in his Skipray blastboat, Kanos eventually arrived on the planet of Baramorra. After scouting the area, Kanos found that the planet was ruled by Boss Banjeer, the nephew of Admiral Llon Banjeer, a member of the Imperial Interim Ruling Council. Banjeer had several bounty hunters under his employ and hoped to capture Kanos for his uncle.
Kanos realized that the best way to hide was to take up the guise of a bounty hunter himself, and he quickly purchased a unique suit of armor and fashioned himself as Kenix Kil, an anagram of his name in the secret battle language of the Royal Guard. Kanos then contacted the son of his mentor, Tav Kennede, to help him solidify his new persona. He asked Tav to buy him equipment for use in the destruction of the Imperial Council and to meet him on Baramorra in two days. In the meantime, Kanos decided to learn as much as he could from Boss Banjeer while posing as Kenix Kil.
Kanos reported to Boss Banjeer's camp, and after impressing him significantly, he told Banjeer that he knew the location of Kir Kanos. Kanos then led the majority of Banjeer's hunters on a wild goose chase far away from the camp to "capture" the wanted man. After bringing the men far away, Kanos revealed his true persona and killed the bounty hunters, effectively crippling the hunting operation in the sector. Because Boss Banjeer was a member of Admiral Banjeer's family, Kanos saw fit to kill the man, destroyed his base single-handedly, and then personally killed Boss Banjeer.
After Tav arrived, Kanos left the planet in an X-wing, leaving his Skipray to a young mechanic on the world. Kanos had decided to learn how to fly the fighter craft so that he could understand the skills possessed by Luke Skywalker, as he saw him as the true enemy, having believed he killed Palpatine. After making several stops, Kanos decided to use his new persona as Kenix Kil to disappear into the underworld. He had his identity erased to keep anyone from learning of his true identity and took careful precautions that no one would see his face under his helmet. Hearing that a Hutt named Grappa was in need of bounty hunters, Kanos decided to take him up on employment. Kanos flew his X-wing to Grappa's base on Genon, and after meeting with the Hutt, he took up a commission to capture customs officer Tarrant Snil.
Snil was located on the planet G'wenee in the city of Lay Pa-Sidian, and Kanos left immediately to apprehend his quarry. After arriving, he was immediately accosted by men loyal to Snil. Several other hunters had failed to capture the customs officer, and he was confident that Kanos would have the same difficulty. However, Kanos's skill with his double-bladed vibroblade was too much for Snil's men, and he quickly killed the entire band. Kanos took Snil hostage and presented him to Grappa, much to the Hutt's delight. Grappa declared a party in Kanos favor, but it was soon interrupted by a mysterious call over the HoloNet. As Grappa quickly departed the celebration, Kanos got a quick glimpse at the mysterious visage of Nom Anor, one of Grappa the Hutt's mysterious associates.
While working for Grappa, Kanos noticed that Mirith Sinn and Massimo were also under the Hutt's employ. He sent Tav to keep watch on Mirith to make sure that she had not discovered his secret. Updates from Tav eventually confirmed that Sinn had probably called off her vendetta against him, as she was certainly not spending her time searching for the killer of her friend. However, Kanos decided that he had overstayed his welcome at Grappa's. Someone familiar with the battle language of the guard had deciphered the anagram of Kenix Kil and traced it to Kanos. As soon as Grappa had received word of the new information, Kanos was long gone.
At the same time, Mirith Sinn had been betrayed by Massimo and turned over to members of the Zanibar race by Grappa. Although Kanos had said that he held no remorse for killing the Rebel commander's friend, he felt that he deserved to repay her for causing her such grief. Commandeering an A-wing from Grappa's base, Kanos set out for Xo, the Zanibar homeworld, to rescue Sinn. Kanos followed the Zanibar transport ship carrying Sinn, and landed on the planet, stashing the ship in the dense underbrush outlying the main Zanibar city. Kanos then infiltrated the city and incapacitated a Zanibar priest, taking his place in one of their archaic ceremonies.
The Zanibar were known to capture organics and submit them to barbaric rituals, which seemed to consist of cutting up the person and flaying them while they were tied to a large metal hoop. As Kanos arrived at the ceremony, the Zanibar were about to cut up Lieutenant Massimo, the man who had betrayed Sinn to Grappa, but had been betrayed in turn. While the Zanibar were busy with Massimo, Kanos made his way deep into the ceremony building, finally finding Sinn and freeing her. However, the Zanibar quickly realized that their other sacrifice had been released, and they raised the alarm. Kanos opened fire on the Zanibar priests, killing one of them, and inadvertently freeing Massimo from the ceremonial hoop in the process.
Sinn and Kanos ran from the Zanibar village and back to the ship, with the Zanibar in hot pursuit. Since the A-wing was only a one-seater ship, Kanos was forced to stand on the wing of the craft while Sinn flew the craft through the atmosphere. Unfortunately the atmospheric flight slowed down the craft, and the Zanibar's own craft quickly caught up with the A-wing, crippling it and forcing Sinn to crash-land the ship into a tree. Although the two remained unharmed, they were trapped in the dangerous Xo wilderness with no means of escape.
Kanos and Sinn trekked across the dangerous wilderness together. The pair had to constantly work together to keep from being eaten by the hostile wildlife. They were able to survive the day by constantly watching each other's backs, eventually reaching an ancient temple in the center of the wilderness by nightfall. Settling down to spend the night, the attraction that Kanos and Sinn had begun back on Phaeda began to blossom again. Sinn tried to convince Kanos once again that the Empire was evil, telling the story of how her peaceful husband was killed by the Empire. Kanos began to slowly show a change of heart, finally thinking for himself for the first time in many years.
After spending the night together, Kanos and Sinn awoke to see a Zanibar raiding party that had come to recapture the Humans for their ceremony. Trapped and outnumbered, Kanos tried to hold off the Zanibar, using the ancient temple as cover. Luckily for Kanos and Sinn, Tav Kennede arrived in Kanos's X-wing to save the day. Unfortunately, as soon as Sinn had climbed aboard, Kanos was wounded by a stray blaster shot and was unable to get to the ship. Kanos ordered Kennede to leave him and get Sinn away, and despite Sinn's protests, Kennede followed orders. Kanos was taken captive by the closing Zanibar as Kennede took Sinn off-world.
Luckily for Kanos, even the barbaric Zanibar had heard of the massive bounty on the Imperial Guard's head, and decided to turn him in for the reward. The Zanibar brought Kanos back to Grappa and arranged for Grappa to deal with turning over Kanos to the Imperials. Kanos remained in a cell as the Hutt negotiated with the Imperials. However, as Kanos prepared himself in incarceration, a New Republic taskforce led by Mirith Sinn infiltrated Grappa's headquarters and rescued Kanos. The Royal Guard was brought back with the Sinn to New Republic space in time to witness the Battle of Ord Cantrell.
The Battle of Ord Cantrell was a conflict between ex-Imperial Baron Ragez D'Asta and self-proclaimed Galactic Emperor Xandel Carivus, precipitated when Carivus ordered the arrest of D'Asta's daughter Feena for treason.With much of the Imperial Starfleet dispatched across the galaxy in the hunt for Kir Kanos, Ord Cantrell was left poorly defended and vulnerable to Baron D'Asta's large private fleet. The Imperial forces were soundly defeated in space, losing at least one Imperial-class Star Destroyer, and D'Asta's fighters began strafing Carivus's estate.Seeing that defeat was imminent, Carivus offered to release Feena D'Asta. The Baron was loath to call off the attack when victory was in sight, but he valued his daughter's life over his own pride and agreed to the ceasefire.
Kanos followed Sinn to a meeting with Baron Ragez D'Asta, where she revealed to him that his daughter, Feena D'Asta, had been replaced with a clone. Although D'Asta was shocked with the revelation, Kanos reacted immediately. He declared Feena's clone a traitor to the Empire for being involved on the Imperial Interim Ruling Council and prepared to execute her. However, Sinn convinced Kanos to spare her life, as she had been forced to participate in the plot by Black Sun. Although he decided to spare the woman, Kanos still resolved to execute the rest of the council.
The newly proclaimed Emperor, Xandel Carivus had holed up inside his throne room on Ord Cantrell, and with the help of Sinn, Tav Kennede, and Baron D'Asta, Kanos infiltrated the throne room and engaged Xandel Carivus's Private Guard. They were no match for Kanos's skill, and although they were able to wound Tav, Kanos quickly dispatched all of them. Carivus tried to make an escape out the back door, but Kanos cut him off, smashing his face into a bulkhead before accusing him of betrayal to his Emperor. Although Carivus tried to plead for his life, Kanos would hear nothing of it, and he coldly executed the next would-be Emperor.
Although Carivus was dead, the rest of the Imperial Ruling Council members had been locked in cells by Carivus. Sinn commented on the fact that they would be easy pickings if Kanos wished to have them killed as well. However, Kanos remarked that there had been enough killing for one day, implying that he would leave the judging of the council up to the New Republic. Kanos's change of heart had left him confused, and he prepared to leave New Republic space and Sinn behind. Although Sinn declared her love for him and pleaded with him to stay, Kanos realized that his devotion was still to the Emperor, and he left the scene in his X-wing.
|Collected (TPB) issue||Released issue||Future issue|
|Issue||Title||Publication date||Trade paperback||TPB pub date|
|Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood||Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood||November 3, 1999|
|1||Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 1||November 11, 1998|
|2||Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 2||December 9, 1998|
|3||Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 3||January 13, 1999|
|4||Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 4||February 10, 1999|
|5||Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 5||March 10, 1999|
|6||Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 6||April 14, 1999|