As a brand name, there are few titles that can match Star Wars for the sheer array of franchise memorabilia out there. If you can name it, then you can bet that there is already something out there with the two words emblazoned across it.
Most recently the owners of Star Wars have allowed their brand to be used in more humorous projects such as the Darth Vader & Son series and even kirigami, which involves a type of origami, building models from card.
This has now reached the point of near saturation but, fortunately, 99 Stormtroopers Join the Empire has filled a gap that is both childish and yet knowingly satirical at the same time to fans of the behemoth that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The premise is simple enough: 99 new recruits join the dark side but this clever tome counts down all the ways that the unlucky group meet their various demises.
There are the obvious pratfalls: annoying Vader or not looking at what’s going on around them, leading to crushings or falls to their doom. But there are some fan pleasing moments too, such as run ins with a Rancor monster, playing Chewbacca at a certain game and not letting him win and even regretting not becoming better shots.
Yes, the art is not exactly award winning and the book itself may only take a good five to ten minutes out of your day, but it is a fun little book to have on your coffee table when your friends pop round, especially if they have even a passing love for the space saga.
The author has understandably set the deaths mostly within the original trilogy, but there are a couple of nods here and there to the prequels, The Force Awakens and even Rogue One.
As the countdown continues – including a novel way of knocking off 36 of the men in one fatal swoop – you kind of hope that one of them will find a happy ending. It looks like that is going to be the case, at least until you turn the page.
There are plenty of reasons why these guys aren’t at their posts and it’s fun to see what devilish glee the author takes in sending them to their fates.
If you’re a fan, this is a fun addition to your collection or even just an ideal stocking filler for December!
STAR WARS: 99 STORMTROOPERS JOIN THE EMPIRE / AUTHOR: GREG STONES / PUBLISHER: CHRONICLE BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: 25TH JULY