COMIC REVIEW: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire

The Action is Full Force in this Prequel Comic !

In case you have been living on Tatooine for the last few years and have missed the hype, there is a new Star Wars movie being released in December 2015 (not long now!). Legions (more than 501) of fans have been poring over every new teaser image, trailer and even jigsaw puzzles to uncover details of the characters, plot and geopolitics of the new film. It seems to me, though, that one source of information has been criminally overlooked, which is funny given just how much information it contains. The source: Marvel Comics limited series Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire. Released weekly in October, this story by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto (the acclaimed team from the viscerally tense Punisher series from 2011) picks up where Return of the Jedi ends, and shows us how the Rebellion and Empire are faring after the destruction of the second Death Star. In short, and without spoiling too much of the plot, the climactic battle around Endor did not spell the end of the Empire, and the Rebellion still has a lot of work to do in order to overthrow it once and for all. There are some clever elements on display: “Messenger” robots with holograms of Palpatine’s face give orders to Imperial officers, who in turn berate crew members who claim the Emperor is dead for “believing Rebel propaganda”; the Rebels must fight the remnants of the Imperial forces on Endor; and a revenge plot is launched. All of the favourites are in full effect and play great parts, be it Han Solo as a squad leader, Leia as a pilot or Luke as a kick arse “bodyguard”. Not only that, two new characters are introduced who have ties to a third new character who is purported to be a leading character in The Force Awakens. The characters are Rebel flying ace Shara Bey and her husband (and Rebel skirmish fighter) Sergeant Kes Dameron. That’s right, Dameron.
Of course, such revelations and plot points mean little if the art is not equally as great. Fortunately, Marco Checchetto gives us fantastic art ! His style is less gritty than his work on Punisher, with more broad clean lines and less thinner “detail” ones. Checchetto strikes a clever balance between having the characters be recognisable without looking like he has copied a photo or movie still, such that they act and move within each panel, rather than merely striking a stilted pose. Best of all, Checchetto brings a choreography to each fight scene so that each battle plays out in a deadly ballet (with more lasers and less dying swans).

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire is a fantastic comic, recommended for all those who are excited to explore the “new” Star Wars universe before the new movie hits, or fans of the original trilogy looking to get reacquainted with old friends.

Title:Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire

Publisher: Marvel
Rating: 5/5


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