Yeah, so far Marvel Comics has done a decent job of handling the Star Wars comics. Dark Horse was amazing with the Star Wars franchise. Dark Horse really opened up Star Wars and put thousands of years of history into Star Wars lore. The one complaint I have about Marvel, they have not expanded past the Original Trilogy characters or timeline. While I do not think we need to see more around the prequel trilogy, I would like to see more of their version of the history of Star Wars.
This leads to Shattered Empire, the lead up to the Force Awakens. Well that is a bull crap tagline. There are four issues in this series and they were released every week starting September 9th, well picking up October 7th. It is written by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetta, penciled by Angel Unzueta and Emilio Laiso.
Shattered Empire picks up right before the second Death Star explodes and carries on to the celebration on Endor. We meed a couple of new characters that help the core cast. Each issue seems to deal with one of the main characters, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. The thing that really bothers me, it takes place over the following weeks after Return of the Jedi. That was a huge disappointment. Overall the story was good, but I was hoping there would be more of a lead up. If it were just simply, what happened after Return of the Jedi and not Journey to the Force Awakens it would have worked better for me. This would be a great on-going comic to even go on after the Force Awakens is released. I do not know if we will get a complete lead up after the Force Awakens comes out, maybe the novels will handle that. I think Marvel needs to stand up and counted in this.
Back in the day, we got things like the Swarm War and the Yuuzhan Vong that happened after Return of the Jedi in novel form. Dark Horse had their own comic adaptations of the Thrawn Trilogy. But Dark Horse Comics did give us things like Crimson Empire and Dark Empire that would eventually lead up to 137 years after Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Legacy. Marvel needs to step up and fill in the 30 years between Return of the Jedi and the Force Awakens, if they are aloud.
So, Shattered Empire, it really follows one character and you know what, I loved her. Shara Bey is a Rebellion pilot who fought against the Empire and the Death Star. In the comic, she takes a shot a the Imperial Shuttle piloted by Luke Skywalker as he escaped before the Death Star explodes. Later during the celebration with the Ewoks, we see all of our favorites, Chewy, Lando, Han and Leia. But we also meet Shara’s husband, Kes Dameron. Oh snap, yep Shara and Kes are Poe Dameron from the Force Awakens parents, Poe is mentioned in the third issue.
As each issue unfolds it is mostly following Shara’s story with Kes being a part of one issue. There are cool moments when she pilots a mission with Princess Leia to Naboo. I kept wondering if Leia realized her mother was once the Queen of Naboo and how much Bail Organa told her about Padme, if anything at all. The fourth issue, she pilots a mission with Luke Skywalker, which I will say was the weakest issue of the series. Overall this was a fun story and I only wish this was the first volume of more to come.
I do know we will get to explore more pre-Original trilogy stories coming, like Kanan the Last Padawan, which follows the Rebels character right after Order 66 during the Clone Wars. In January there will be a comic call Obi-Wan and Anakin, which takes place before the Clone Wars and three years after The Phantom Menace, so that should be cool and it looks to be at least 5 issues.
My review, well I loved this story, I hate how it was marketed. I love Shara Bey, she is really cool and I could see her fitting into the Universe well. If you missed the single issues, you can pick up the graphic novel November 17, the same day Star Wars Battlefront is released, pre-order Shattered Empire here and Star Wars Battlefront here. Check both out on November 17th and get ready for Star Wars Episode VII the Force Awakens!