Review – Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1 (Marvel)

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Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Greg Rucka
: Marco Checchetto
Release Date: 9 September 2015

Out of all of Marvel’s new Star Wars comics, Shattered Empire has to be the most important. Set during and after the finale of Return of the Jedi, Shattered Empire is the beginning of a new Disney-ear canon set between Episode VI and the upcoming Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Through this four issue mini-series we can perhapa hope to find out how a seemingly-defeated Galactic Empire became the resurgent First Order of Force Awakens, and more.

The first half of issue #1 deals with the final rebel run on the Second Death Star, portraying the good work of all the rebel pilots who weren’t Lando. Our focus is Lieutenant Bey, who assists the Millennium Falcon and Luke’s escaping Imperial Shuttle during the fight. The dogfights surrounding the Death Star are beautifully rendered by artist Marco Checchetto, and capture the same thrill that the movies do. X-Wings, the Falcon and more are all highly-detailed and never seem to be static on the page.

It is after the battle however where this comic becomes much more interesting. Through background dialogue we begin to understand just how much was sacrificed to bring this victory. As some celebrate, others mourn. The celebrations seem to hint towards a new group of baby rebels being born very soon, and among them it seems Force Awakens X-Wing pilot Por Dameron will be among them, as Lieutenant Bey is reunited with her fellow-pilot Sergeant Dameron. The hints are subtle, but this comic really wants you to start thinking about the next generation of characters to come.

Those in mourning and those celebrating don’t have much time to do either however, as no more than a day after the big Ewok campfire dance party comes word that there is still an Imperial base on Endor. Han Solo rounds up the best and brightest for an early morning assault on these ‘bucketheads’ that didn’t get the “war is over” memo. As the issue wraps up, this raid brings a cliffhanger revelation; the Empire still has plans to be carried out, and they are seemingly already in motion.

Shattered Empire #1 fuels yet more hype for The Force Awakens, and does so by telling an involving story tied into established events. More so than the end of Return of the Jedi could hint at, this comic brings a sense of sacrifice to what was accomplished in that film, and begins to pull back the curtains on the work that still needs to be done if the galaxy is to be made safe from the Empire forever. This story is helped by fantastic art, with Checchetto nailing character likenesses as well as large set-piece battles. Colourist Andres Mossa brings the aesthetic of the original trilogy to the page with his muted colours and natural lighting. This comic is a joy to look at, and is invaluable on the road to Episode VII.

Rating: 5/5.

ASavThe Writer of this piece was: Andrew Stevens
You can follow Andrew on Twitter

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