Star Wars: Shat­tered Em­pire

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Re­viewed: Is­sue 1

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Marco Chec­chetto

Pub­lisher: Marvel

For­mat: 4-is­sue minis­eries

The bridge be­tween the orig­i­nal tril­ogy and Dis­ney’s se­quel Star Wars saga is fi­nally here, and it’s look­ing rather good... For a big chunk of the comics buy­ing pub­lic – not to men­tion Marvel it­self – Jour­ney To The Force Awak­ens: Shat­tered Em­pire (to give it its full, un­gainly ti­tle) is the big one: the year’s most an­tic­i­pated comic. The Star Wars spinoff em­pire (ho ho ho) is al­ready go­ing great guns, but this is the first is­sue of an event book that will join the dots be­tween Re­turn Of The Jedi and The Force Awak­ens. You don’t have to be a Sith or a Jedi to see that this is go­ing to be huge.

We start on the Death Star, in the fi­nal mo­ments of bat­tle, and a gor­geous, ap­pro­pri­ately cin­e­matic spread by Chec­chetto. Things play out as they should – the su­per­weapon is de­stroyed, Luke es­capes and ev­ery­one par­ties on En­dor like it’s 1983. But our main fo­cus this is­sue isn’t the main char­ac­ters: it’s with A-Wing pi­lot Shara Bey and her lover, one Sergeant Kes Dameron.

It’s the day af­ter the night be­fore and, af­ter a brief tryst, the two em­bark on a mop-up mis­sion to take down a se­cret Im­pe­rial out­post on En­dor. What it is that they find there is, frus­trat­ingly, saved for #2 (un­avail­able at the time of go­ing to press).

Se­cret ori­gins...

The most in­ter­est­ing thing about this comic is that its scenes of mil­i­tary ac­tion with sol­diers, walk­ers and not a Jedi in sight (a brief cameo by Luke aside), it feels rather like next year’s Rogue One movie, rather than The Force Awak­ens or Re­turn Of The Jedi.

It’s an as­sured and en­ter­tain­ing de­but is­sue, if a lit­tle light on plot. Its main pull is the iden­tity of Bey’s lover and the ques­tion over whether he will sur­vive – some­thing that Rucka plays with amus­ingly by point­ing out how omi­nous it is when some­one says “I love you” be­fore set­ting off on a dan­ger­ous mis­sion. If ev­ery­thing plays into dra­matic con­ven­tions then the brief, im­plied sex scene we wit­ness will be the mo­ment that Poe Dameron, Os­car Isaac’s char­ac­ter in The Force Awak­ens, is con­ceived. Fine, but it’s not the strong­est of hooks.

Solid start

As in the main Star Wars and Darth Vader ti­tles, the art is clean and ki­netic. There’s a fu­ri­ous in­ten­sity to the open­ing bat­tles. Chec­chetto even man­ages to make the Ewoks look fierce as they take on some typ­i­cally use­less Stormtroop­ers.

There’s noth­ing wildly new here yet, but this is a strong open­ing chap­ter. The suc­cess of the se­ries will de­pend on whether Rucka and Chec­chetto can make this wartime ro­mance be­liev­able in the space of just four is­sues, and whether we get a greater sense of the big­ger galac­tic pic­ture. Will Salmon

You can’t beat a good in­ter­stel­lar dog­fight.

Great art makes the fa­mil­iar fresh again.

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