– Spoiler Review –
Shattered Empire #3 is quite the exhilarating ride thanks to an epic battle above Naboo where it becomes clear the planet was lucky to have three badass lady pilots on the ground when the Empire attacked.
Han’s strike team, of which Kes Dameron is a part of, attacks an Imperial Security Bureau black site and finds out all about Operation: Cinder, the military retaliation initiated by the Messenger on the dead Emperor’s behalf seen in #2. But will their information be too late? Will Naboo suffer the fate the Empire intends for it? Well, it likely would have, had there not been three amazing pilots currently on Naboo willing to step up and sacrifice themselves for the planet below. There’s some fun character work for the ladies within the issue and everything ends on a happy moment…for now.
Ever since the reboot, slowly but surely female roles (and other diversity-minded roles) have beefed up and gotten more integral to storytelling in Star Wars. The comics have been the leader of the pack at this so far and Shattered Empire #3 had one helluva standout moment for the ladies Leia, Shara, and Queen Soruna of Naboo. They take it upon themselves to fly a practically suicidal mission to destroy satellites and dodge a full complement of TIEs from a Star Destroyer and manage to come out on top. Heck, I’m sure they still would have seemingly won the battle whether or not Lando and the Fleet came to the rescue. It wasn’t cool simply because it gave the women the spotlight they deserved with their feats and skills, but also because the action was tensely written and well drawn, giving it all a sense of urgency and danger which translated into a thrilling read.
Much like the heroes from Star Wars Rebels or Ahsoka Tano (in The Clone Wars and now Rebels), it seems the default fate we assign to all new characters is probably death. With Shara Bey (and her husband Kes), my mind (and I’ve seen others) have made the assumption that one of them “must” die, as Moving Target‘s prologue/epilogue set pre-The Force Awakens seems to heavily imply Leia’s been a surrogate parental unit for Poe for quite some time. This issue does a great job of playing with that expectation, especially if you’ve grown to be a fan of Shara (like me) even though she hasn’t be around for long, when she tells Leia not to write a letter about her possibly impending death. It’s a small moment, but big for both characters, as Shara shows selflessness in an attempt to ease Leia’s burdens and Leia shows off her wicked piloting skills to show she doesn’t need anyone to ease her burdens for her. If that’s not well-written female characters, I don’t know what is anymore.
Scattered throughout the issue are even more great Leia moments, making this feel more like her issue than Shara’s. Leia in Naboo flight gear tugs on all types of heartstrings, considering she seemingly still doesn’t know her lineage and the symmetry we get with the prequels by seeing her in the same getup her mother was in all those years ago. Speaking of the prequels, Leia’s Force sensitivity is strengthening, as she feels the cold, menacing presence of Darth Maul nearly four decades later while standing at Theed’s hanger doors; Definitely sent chills down my spine when that happened. But the moment you might miss because it’s in the background of the final panel is arguably the most important one and it’s the one we all want to see: Han and Leia, walking away together hand in hand, which we might not know more about until December 18!
Here are a few other things:
- There’s some interesting little tidbits about how Palpatine demilitarized Naboo (so no one could rise up and ruin his home planet, making him look weak) and a previous Queen securing but not destroying some of Theed’s last hangers.
- The species, which has yet to receive an official name, Kes is seen with at the beginning while raiding the ISB Black Ops site is the same as the Jedi Twin Sisters from the Order 66 arc in The Clone Wars (as far as I can tell).
- I was writing this a little late at night and I realized it was probably time to stop when I wrote Operation: Cindy several times instead of Cinder.
- Definitely loved how Shara refers to Leia and Soruna at the same time during the battle above Naboo, “…Your collective highnesses.”
- The Han-still-can’t-deal-with-Goldenrod’s-idiosyncrasies shtick was well-written here.
- Instead of three artists, we only have two but the oddly-changing Leia face persists. Not as noticeable here, especially because of the great character work and that she’s in a Naboo pilot’s helmet half the time.
- If the series ends with a scene involving a young Poe and BB-8, I’ll probably die happy the moment I see it.
While things certainly end on a happy note, with Shara and Kes reunited and Operation: Cinder at least done on Naboo, how many other star systems have felt the Emperor’s wrath from beyond the grave? With only one issue left, where might Shattered Empire go from here? A dark ending? One as happy as #3’s? No mattered the answer, I’m eager to see where it goes next.
+ Ladies FTW
+ Subtle moments with Leia
+ Playing with expectations
– Leia’s changing face still odd to see
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
#1 | #2 | #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)