JOURNEY to STAR WARS: the FORCE AWAKENS – SHATTERED EMPIRE #1 (of 4)
“Shattered Empire, pt. 1” (20 pages)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colors: Andres Mossa
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Covers by: Phil Noto, Marc Checchetto
[note: there are at least eight exclusive variants for this mini, if not more]
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Fasten your seat belts, space-goers cuz this is going to be the time of your life!! Taking place at the final moments of Return of the Jedi, the Rebel squadron engage in a lengthy firefight with the Imperial forces and succeed in decimating the Death Star!! Oh, sweet victory!
Expanding the universe (gasp! Am I allowed to use that term?) is exactly what this mini-series is designed to do as it will feed into the seventh motion picture The Force Awakens. Never-before-seen characters are the item du jour as fans of all ages get to see who else accompanies the main cast from the original trilogy.
Shara Bey is one of many pilots with the rank of Lieutenant. She is an extremely skilled combatant. She is level-headed, efficient, and a very communicative leader. After a hard-earned triumph, the good guys can cool their jets a bit, remove their helmets, and breathe easy. Giving herself freely to the Rebellion is fine and dandy but Shara’s has one major focus: hubbie Kes Dameron. The genuine relationship between the two will be explored in subsequent issues. Each has to fly again in opposite directions – Kes rejoins the Pathfinders for an unknown mission while Shara volunteers to personally guide General Han Solo and Chewbacca to the other side of Endor’s moon to obliterate a not-so-secret base of the Empire. The mission is successful despite her doubts but the war is not over by a long shot.
Greg Rucka returns to Marvel!! This gentleman was last seen delivering his definitive take on PUNISHER. Mr. Rucka seems to effortlessly incorporate fan faves with the new now. Shara shines in the spotlight. Battle scenes, chase scenes, and fight scenes can sometimes fall flat either because they drag longer than should be or they are too quick without any impact. Greg balances the military mindset with the private lives. Thankfully, Kes and Shara are not too lovey-dovey even if they make googly eyes at each other. Space opera done right! The title page indicates that Palpatine will not cave in so easily: another colossal WMD is in the works.
It’s a crowd-pleaser to see the loveable cutesy inhabitants of Endor: the Ewoks! The main cast get at least a shot if not a few more panels: Luke vs. his father, Luke on the frequency, C3PO joining the Ewoks in destroying Stormtrooper helmets, Lando laying it on thick with Shara, R2D2 (escaped my eye the first time), Han and Chewie leading the mission to storm the Death Star II.
Marco Checchetto continues to leave his mark at the House of Ideas! He is reacquainted with Mr. Rucka from their gig on PUNISHER. This man is a veteran especially with the two-page spreads on the different battles. Another glance allowed me to spot Palpatine sitting on this throne between Luke and Darth Vader. Neat trick, Mr. Checchetto!! The four pages dedicated to the fleet dodging and firing at the enemy are the right amount of space and time. The raid on the developing destructive orb is set at a perfect pace. Marco brings to life the X-Wings and the TIEs. I really feel like they will fly off the boundaries of the book! The intimate moments between Kes and Shara are drawn tastefully.
The pencils are neat with sharp inking and fine details. Mr. Checchetto is a deliverer of hyper-realism. The close-ups of the characters, the soldiers in the background, the minituae of the crafts, the glorious use of firepower – every single thing is sublime over the panels.
Andres Mossa is the ideal wing man to Marco’s art!! There’s no comic book feel to this. Rather, the richness of tones allows me to envision the silver screen where the characters are flesh and blood. The backdrop of the stars; the use of lasers, propulsion blasts and explosions; the pale blue of the hologram – excellent execution for all!!
Joe Caramagna must have done the title page! At least I hope he did. The “dee dee dee” is miniscule and inconspicuous. Chewie’s speech must have been a real hoot to illustrate!
Admittedly, I was a casual Star Wars fan lauding the Star Trek franchise over this one. My curiosity got the best of me once Marvel launched the current batch of books back in January. I have been reading all the titles. There is a lot of TLC put into each one as well as an enormous respect of what has happened and what is to come. Aphra was the newest find of this universe. She was one-upped by Sana Solo. Now, Shara is the latest contender!! No word of a lie: I was immediately taken by her in the very first panel!
Rumour, speculation, and hearsay dictate that Poe Dameron could be the lovechild of the sergeant and the lieutenant. Certain things are planned intentionally and this one takes the cake. That theory will be put to the test once the latest movie is released. Ha ha, that’s the whole point!!
My senses have definitely been awakened. I give this book a 9 out of 10 in honour of the Alliance.
Tags: Andres Mossa, Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto, Marvel Comics, Phil Noto, Shattered Empire, Star Wars