In Review: Star Wars: Shattered Empire #4

This was an exceptionally well done series, and Marvel would be wise to have all back for another outing.

The cover: A sensational final cover for this series from Marco Checchetto. With two Scout Walkers behind them and four stormtroopers raising their rifles to attack, Luke Skywalker has his lightsaber out and he’s using the Force to manipulate something beyond the reader’s vision, while Shara Bey has a rifle in each hand that she’s using to take down her enemies. A lot of action that looks fantastic, because it’s so clear, and the color is also excellent, maintaining the pastel colors that have been on every cover. I’m a huge Luke fan, so this cover is like a dream come true; I’ve been waiting for my favorite Jedi on this series and here he is in outstanding fashion. Overall grade: A+

The story: At a muster point for the Rebellion’s fleet, the higher ups in the Rebellion recognize that the Empire is not ceasing with its hostilities even though the Emperor is dead. There appears to be no quick end to battle. In one of the ship’s hangers, Shara and L’ulo wonder if the war will ever end, but the latter has a surprise for Bey: he’s submitted paperwork so that she can muster out — leave the fight. She’s done her time in service and “It’s past time that you and your family go to live the lives you’ve been fighting for. Time for you to pick out a world to settle on.” She’s not sure if she’s ready to do so. Shara has no time to consider her choices when the arrival of a familiar astromech droid appears next to her and coerces her to follow. Artoo leads the pilot to an Imperial shuttle where one man stands before the vehicle in an ominous black cloak. Pulling back his hood, Luke Skywalker says he sent his droid to find a capable co-pilot to help retrieve something in the Merrick sector. “I know who you are Commander Skywalker,” Shara replies. “There’s not a pilot in the Alliance who doesn’t.” Luke says she seems familiar and Bey reveals she almost shot him down at the battle of Endor. He asks if she’d like to go with him. “I’d be honored, commander.” This was an outstanding conclusion to this series, as what Luke is looking for is something no one would expect, though once revealed, it’s awesome. Greg Rucka has done a super job with the tension, action, and drama in this story. The conclusion is fantastic. I loved this story. Overall grade: A+

The art: Equally stellar are the visuals of Marco Checchetto. His work is flawless. Every character, ship, setting is spectacular. The first page has a beautiful shot of the Rebel Fleet. On Page 2 there’s a nice shot of some Y-wings and an X-wing on a ship’s deck, but it’s on Page 3 that has a gorgeous shot of the Imperial shuttle, which is seen in flight on 5. The characters look sharp: Bey is a standout on Pages 1, 4, 7, 9, 13, and 18 – 20. I’m a sucker for character with hair swirling about their faces and Checchetto is doing this in every panel Bey is in: it gives her a sense of constant motion and it makes her character seem as though she’s always fighting against the wind. It’s wonderful! I’m an absolute Luke fanboy and I was thrilled and surprised to see that when he first appears he’s wearing his black cloak from the beginning of Return of the Jedi. When the two heroes arrive at their destination, his hood goes up and it makes him an absolutely menacing presence in the room: it echoed Vader completely. When Luke goes into action on 11 and 12, which is a partial double-page spread, it’s impossible not to hear John Williams’ rousing Star Wars score. The settings of this book are also sensational, with the final location, which I will not spoil, living up to everything I’d hoped it would be. Knowing where the pair are headed creates certain images in fans’ minds, and Checchetto met and exceeded them. Outstanding in every way. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Andres Mossa did an exceptional job on this book, too. The first page has Mossa creating a perfectly colored exterior shot of the fleet, with all their details nicely highlighted against a strong light source, but then a change up is made in the final two panels of the page which show the conference room from Jedi. The light blues and the holographic display instantly sent me back to 1983. The characters’ skin colors are really well done, with Luke’s pale skin and hair being in complete contrast to his all black clothing. The coloring done for the final setting’s exterior is great: the oranges and rusts instantly create an industrial feel. When these colors are combined with the olive uniforms on some individuals, one feels instantly repressed. When fighting breaks out on 15 and 16 the colors are magnificent with debris flying everywhere. I have to repeat, Mossa does an exceptional job. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, Artoo sounds, radio transmissions, and one sound are created by VC’s Joe Caramagna. Still not loving the dialogue font or scene settings. I know it’s not Caramagna’s call, but I’m continually befuddled why Marvel has chosen to omit blaster fire and lightsaber sounds from their Star Wars comics. It’s like getting only half the reading experience. Overall grade: B-

The final line: A story that every Star Wars fan will want. This was an exceptionally well done series, and Marvel would be wise to have all back for another outing. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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