In Review: Star Wars: Shattered Empire #2

An excellent read and a solid addition to the Star Wars canon.

The cover: Shara Bey stands outside her A-wing, a rifle in one hand and a pair of macrobinoculars in the other. She’s definitely got the heroic pose going on! Marco Checchetto, one of the interior artists for this issue, has made Bey look terrific. I especially like how she’s been colored much more darker than the background, making her pop against the setting. And is it me, or does this look very reminiscent of when Obi-Wan landed on a certain planet in Episode II? Overall grade: A

The story: Aboard the Star Destroyer Torment, in the Outer Rim at rendezvous point Victim, Captain Lerr Duvat is alerted that a Messenger is aboard the ship. He instantly clears the bridge. Standing alone, the Messenger soon arrives. He is a humanoid cloaked in red whose face is a computer screen. Once Duvat has identified himself to this newcomer with a blood sample, the screen takes on the visage of the Emperor who says, “Resistance. Rebellion. Defiance. These are concepts that cannot be allowed to persist, captain. You are but one of many tools by which these ideas shall be burned away. Operation: Cinder is to begin at once. Heed my Messenger. He shall relay to you your target.” After the Messenger’s exit, Lt. Gulin returns to the bridge to say, “But…but the Emperor is dead, sir.” “Repeating Rebel propaganda,” his superior responds, “is an act of treason, lieutenant.” They have their mission, and they will obey it. This ominous opening, written by Greg Rucka, then transitions to Cawa City on Sterdic IV, seventeen days after the Battle of Endor. A furious battle is being waged between Imperial and Rebel forces, both on the ground and in the skies. It’s in the skies that Shara Bey is doing battle, flying an A-wing. The battle does not go easily, but it does end. Once over, she encounters a friend from the previous issue and finds herself taking an iconic character to an iconic location. This was a big improvement over the previous issue because of this famous character’s inclusion and I was besides myself with joy at where the pair go. Whom they encounter at this location also had me happy, and the final page caught me being forgetful and falling into Rucka’s wonderful written trap of a story. This was a good read, with an Imperial plan revealed after the Emperor’s death and a famous person on the move. Overall grade: A

The art: I was worried at looking at the credits on the opening page because three different artists are listed. This is only issue two of this series and three different artists had to be enlisted to complete it? This is extremely worrisome to a fan. Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta, and Emilio Laiso are listed as the illustrators, and I can safely state that fans need not be worried — this book looks great! The first four pages are set on the bridge of the Torment and it is incredibly detailed. The design of the Messenger is terrific; it evokes memories of the Emperor’s Imperial Guard, yet its face makes him (it?) an entirely new character. As if these first pages didn’t look good enough, readers will be absolutely awed by the partial double-paged spread of Pages 5 and 6 which show the walker moving down a street, with ships buzzing by it in the skies and stormtroopers and citizens running below it. Not once does the hyper detail stop, with the first small panel inserted at the bottom containing a superb bust shot of Bey as she pilots her ship. The next four pages contain a superior battle above the city, culminating in a cinematic destruction of one vehicle. Wow, just Wow. The next two pages have Bey talking with her old friend, and these, too, look good. The next two pages are aboard a familiar vessel and I do have some minor nits here: why is the background blurred by a computer to make it look as though there is a distance between it and the characters. This does not look good. This happens in the first four panels on Page 14 and it ruins the images. This is the only time this occurs in this issue and the art quickly returns to its fine form. Why was this allowed? The location that the pair travels to looks just as did in the films. With the exception of those four panels, the visuals are great. I wish Marvel had listed which artist was responsible for what pages so I could give specific praise to those responsible. Overall grade: A 

The colors: Andres Mossa does a good job on this issue because he gets to show off his skills with a variety of characters and settings. The interiors of the Star Destroyer are glossy and dark, as in the films, the crimson of the Messenger is fantastic, the explosions occurring in the skies over Cawa City are spectacular, the sound effects wonderful, the shading of faces at Muster Point: Vengeance phenomenal, the hologram perfect, and the lighting in the final setting awe inspiring. I love what Mossa is doing. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene setting, dialogue, yells, Messenger speak, and ship transmissions are crafted by VC’s Joe Caramagna. I don’t like the oversized scene settings and the dialogue is too weak looking. Overall grade: B-

The final line: An excellent read and a solid addition to the Star Wars canon. Things are starting to heat up! 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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