Shattered Empire #1

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #1 (of 4)

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Phil Noto

Shattered Empire #1 marks Marvel’s first shot at the post Return of the Jedi time period with their new launch of titles. Alas, if you were expecting anything earth shattering in issue #1, you’re going to be at a lost. It’s kind of a mediocre start to something with so much build up. I mean, this is the beginning of the road to The Force Awakens, and what we get is part of the battle of Endor and a little skirmish that happened that day after their bonfire party with the Ewoks. The one big plus is that the artwork is gorgeous.

The issue opens with a shot of Luke battling Vader, Chewie and Han in the Imperial bunker, and X-wings and A-wings flying over the second Death Star. It’s quick recap of the end of Return of the Jedi condensed into twelve pages. Here and there, they provide glimpses from the movie, but a lot of it is the adventure of A-wing pilot Green Four aka Lieutenant Shara Bey. She’s part of the taskforce that clears the way for Lando and the Falcon as they dive into the Death Star. She helps Luke make his escape from the battle station as he escapes in an Imperial shuttle. And after the battle, she hooks up with her husband on the ground who is one of the Rebel Specforce Pathfinders the formed Han Solo’s strike force. After the big celebration with the Ewoks, Solo rounds them up for an attack on an Imperial holdout on the other side of the moon. They attack the base, there’s lots of blaster fire, they grab the intel they were after, and the issue ends with Han saying, “It’s not over yet.” That sums up the entire issue.

Storywise, it’s not the strongest first issue of a Star Wars series I’ve ever read. It’s not bad, it’s just not anything special. I think it’s worth pointing out the potential this first issue had. They had the opportunity to replay the best moments of the climatic battle against the Empire in ROTJ. This was a chance to add to the canon something significant, or, aside from that, take the time to add to the fun. We could have seen the ruthless, guerrilla fighter side of the Ewoks (hey, I’m an Ewok fan). We could have seen more of the big three–Han, Luke and Leia–and their thoughts after the battle. We could have gotten the invaluable look at what Ackbar and Mon Mothma were thinking after their victory, or what the Imperial commanders were thinking in their defeat. Instead we get an A-wing pilot and a specforces soldier. From that perspective, it’s underwhelming.

One thing that I think is definitely worth pointing out is that the main character in this issue is an A-wing pilot with the callsign Green Four. Daniel Warren Johnson recently did a fan comic called Green Leader about the A-wing pilot who crashed into the Super Star Destroyer at the battle of Endor. Coincidentally, that pilot was also in a relationship with a fellow Rebel. Now whether Rucka was inspired by this or not, it’s an interesting connection.

It’s easy to overlook a panel like this with all the awesome action scenes going on, but this one in particular really shows off the great coloring in the comic. There isn’t a lot of line work to this one. The punch in this panel is the colors. The green glow of mist in the tree tops, the warm haze of the sunrise, it looks great.

All that aside, the art stands out a lot more than the story. Artist Marco Checchetto and colorist Andres Mossa turns out some great panels in this issue. Every page is dripping with vibrant colors and lighting, flashy action scenes and dramatic character shots. They spare no expense when it comes to detail and careful attention is poured into every scene. Flipping through the comic, there is only one small panel that feels a little rushed and light on detail. Everything else is top notch. That’s pretty impressive.

With Shattered Empire #1 picking up at the battle of Endor, the question is where will this series head next? With this only being a four part mini-series, it’s not yet clear what kind of story Rucka is going to try and bring to life. With only three more issues to go, that’s creates quite the handicap. Yet even with an average story, I have to give this comic some well deserved praise for the artwork. Thus I give Shattered Empire #1 a four out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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