Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1 – Review


With every new entry in the Journey to The Force Awakens campaign, the monthslong leadup to the release of J.J. Abrams’ movie that kicked off on Force Friday, Disney’s objective becomes even clearer. The company is breaking Star Wars down and returning the franchise to its roots, so that it can build it back up again exactly the way it wants to.

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We saw some of this in Chuck Wendig’s novel Star Wars: Aftermath, which showed the New Republic still struggling with the remnants of the Empire years after the Battle of Endor. The book was an important corner piece in the puzzle that Disney’s laying out for us, the puzzle that depicts the state of the galaxy following the events of Return of the Jedi.

Marvel’s Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1 is another major piece of the puzzle. The comic series winds the clock back a bit further, with the first pages actually depicting the Battle of Endor from a new perspective. Although some of the heroes of the original trilogy, including Han and Luke, make brief appearances, instead the comic follows two brand-new rebel fighters.

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Shara Bey is a pilot in the Green Squadron who fights in the aerial battle around the Second Death Star, while her husband, Kes Dameron (you read that name right), was a member of Solo’s strike team on the forest moon. After achieving victory and defeating the Empire, the couple returns to Endor to celebrate, likely marking the moment when a certain X-Wing pilot and main character from The Force Awakens is conceived.

But it’s not long before Solo recruits Bey and Dameron for a mission to an Imperial outpost still operating on Endor that refuses to surrender. The rebels manage to overtake the base, with Han hinting that the information it contains may reveal more about the Empire’s plans to continue functioning after its defeat.

If it sounds like nothing much happens this issue, you’re right. Shattered Empire‘s writer, Greg Rucka, is more concerned about setting the stage and making sure we’re familiar with this cast before taking us into new territory. The revelation about Poe Dameron’s parentage, along with some welcome cameos from original trilogy stalwarts, help out by giving more weight to an issue that’s light on plot.

However, the series has already surpassed its Marvel brethren in another category after its first issue: Marco Chechetto’s artwork is simply stunning.

The issue kicks off with a two-page spread depicting the Battle of Endor and the lightsaber fight aboard the Second Death Star in mouthwatering detail. Chechetto handles space battles, crowd scenes, and tight closeups with equal skill, and while there are a few more spreads throughout the issue, practically every panel is worth blowing up and framing on the wall of your bedroom.

This first installment focuses more on showing us familiar events through new perspectives rather than breaching fresh material. But that’s OK, because in a story with stakes like these, the setup is just as important as the payoff. Shattered Empire will certainly have to pick up the pace soon, but its first installment is a reminder that the Journey to The Force Awakens is not a sprint but a marathon.

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