In terms of the vast Star Wars continuity Dark Times is set immediately after events of Revenge of the Sith, and roughly 19 years prior to A New Hope, so in the days when the Sith and their allies have begun to exert an iron grip over what was the Republic to create the Empire. Darth Vader has turned to the dark side, but remains subservient to Darth Sidious, while the Jedi are scattered around the Galaxy.

One of them named Dass Jennir is aiding the Nosaurians, a race of miniature humanoid dinosaurs, against the cloned Empire troops. His friend Bomo Greenbark dispatches his family to the city to join the evacuation while he keeps fighting to buy them more time. The Nosaurian forces are eventually wiped out to the last man, only Jennir and Greenbark surviving via the convenience of falling into a pit. Greenbark then learns that his family didn’t escape, but instead have been taken to be sold into slavery. Despite locating the crew of a friendly ship, the spaceport is surrounded, and there’s not a chance in hell of an individual craft making it off planet.

Both Jennir and the Nosaurians continue their stories from the final volume of Star Wars: Republic, also written by Randy Stradley. His plot here is relatively straightforward with the biggest surprises being he’s also plotter Welles Hartley and scripter Mick Harrison. It takes the odd page or two to dot back to Darth Vader wringing his hands over slavery, but otherwise it’s A to B to C, with only a difficult moral decision activating tension. The true wonder here is the art of Doug Wheatley, who conjures stunning alien panoramas and believable alien species, all vividly coloured by Ronda Pattison.

This volume and its successors Parallels and Vector can also be found as part of the Star Wars: Dark Times Omnibus volume one.