– Spoiler Review –
Shattered Empire is one of Marvel’s entries into the “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” initiative, taking place during and after the final moments of the Battle of Endor. While the series won’t be following Luke, Leia, or Han, the main character Shara Bey and her husband Kes will find themselves interacting with them throughout the limited 4 issue run. Issue #1 might be a little too chaotic for its own good, but it helps set up Shara and her husband while including fun little scenes with familiar characters and packing quite the surprising little tie to The Force Awakens.
Shattered Empire #1 starts with Shara finally getting to reunite with her husband Kes after they both play their parts in the victory over the second Death Star. But after only a night’s rest, Shara and Kes find themselves back into battle once intel is received there’s still an Imperial base of holdouts on the moon. While the strike goes well, Han and group say they’ve found evidence the fight is far from over with the Empire (much like the tagline of Aftermath: “The War is Not Over”). It’s a decent enough opening for the limited series that has only one real issue in my eyes: To help convey the cacophony of being one of the fighters in the Battle of Endor (and the excitement of victory afterwards), there’s a lot of chaos in the dialogue presented in panels, sometimes leaving me questioning if Shara was saying something, if it was one of her wingmates, or a reveller at the Ewok-hosted afterparty. In a way that’s likely what they wanted to create, a sense of chaos, as Shara’s also worried about her husband throughout, so they effectively did just that. But to me, it might have been too effective.
What Shattered Empire #1 gets right is how quickly and smartly it established both Shara and Kes into the story we all know by now. Shara is a tough and talented fighter pilot, saving her squadmates, assist Lando on his attack run on the Death Star II’s reactor, and even helping Luke on his escape in the Lambda shuttle. In one fell swoop, she’s an important part of the universe, considering she saved Luke and Lando’s bacon at one point. Kes, while not focused on much, is seen in one panel planting explosive charges in the shield bunker on Endor’s surface alongside Han Solo. Without any need for dialogue or explanation, they have been in the middle of some of the biggest moments, adding a quick sense of legitimacy to the couple. I feel like by the end of the series that won’t have been needed, but it helps new and old readers alike adjust to new characters rather well.
Alright, I can’t go any further without discussing Shattered Empire‘s connection to The Force Awakens, a connection which is 2 parts cool, 3 parts fun, 5 part exciting. Shara Bey’s husband still goes by his family name, making him Kes….Kes Dameron! In case that doesn’t sound familiar to you (but let’s face it, it does), remember that Oscar Isaac will be playing Poe Dameron in TFA. The actor is in his thirties, roughly, which make Shara and Kes fit rather well as his parents. I hadn’t expected something as big as this revealed in the “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” releases, but I’m certainly happy to have it! Club Jade’s discussion of the Dameron legacy includes a quote from writer Greg Rucka’s interview about SE that is now very interesting in the light of #1’s reveal, as well as an editor of Marvel promising even bigger things to come!
I really liked Greg Rucka’s Han in the YA novel Smuggler’s Run and already I’ve enjoyed the little we’ve gotten of both Shara and Kes. Particularly Shara though, since her worry for Kes’ fate doesn’t seem too doting and instead she comes off as determined, loyal, and sensible first and foremost. I look forward to seeing where he’ll take this couple, especially Shara over the 4 issue run. As for the art by Marco Checchetto, it’s a welcomed take on the GFFA and thankfully his art gives the chaotic battle scenes clear action and order (while his just awoken Shara is rather stunning), while artist Andres Mossa helps the art pop and sizzle in all the right places. Just like the creative teams across the Marvel Star Wars slate so far, this team is doing an excellent job at the start.
Here are a few other things:
- Ever wondered when Lando fessed up about losing a part of the Falcon (which has been obviously replaced by TFA) and how Han felt about it? During the afterparty there’s a funny scene where Lando confesses and both Han and Chewie get into him for it. I, for one, had been dying to see that moment and it didn’t disappoint.
- So, I know we all question the Ewoks as warriors, but I say it speaks volumes when the Rebels take the Ewoks with them in the battle to destroy the remaining Imperial outpost.
- In a very informative report, the folks at Spoiled Blue Milk examine everything we know about Poe Dameron and begin some speculation for his role in The Force Awakens and some of his past too.
While not as solid a start as the other Marvel comics so far, Shattered Empire has some great potential with the characters and a good creative team behind the story that makes me think this will only get stronger every issue. And if there’s a similar caliber reveal regarding The Force Awakens in each issue, this will be one to read no questions asked, but let’s hope it doesn’t end up relying on those to be interesting.
+ Fun little scenes with familiar faces
+ The Force Awaken’s lineage connection
– Maybe too chaotic
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
#2 | #3 | #4
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)
JOURNEY TO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS YOUNG AND ADULT NOVELS
Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure
Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure
The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure