Ricky Church reviews Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #3…
Concluding the first new-canon comic tale set between episodes VI and VII! As the Empire Shatters around them, Rebel heroes fight for a better tomorrow! Greg Rucka (Punisher, Cyclops, Wolverine) and Marco Checchetto (Punisher, Avengers World) take us into the more recent long, long time ago!
Though the Empire is still reeling from its loss and is splintering into factions, it still wields considerable strength against the Rebels. The Empire puts their remaining might on display as they attempt to destroy Naboo and other planets. Trapped on Naboo, its up to Shara and Leia to save the planet before the Empire can complete Palpatine’s posthumous plans.
Once again Greg Rucka’s writing is strong with the Force as he catches the voices of the classic characters. The interaction between Han and Threepio sounds almost ripped out of the movies; it’s not hard at all to hear Harrison Ford’s voice yelling at the poor droid. Leia especially gets some strong material as she unhesitatingly jumps into the fight and in an old Naboo starfighter no less! It would also be easy for Shara Bey to get pushed to the sidelines since she’s a new character, but she holds her own alongside Leia. Her strength and fierce loyalty make her a match for the famous princess. It’s no wonder her son will eventually join Leia’s ranks in the new film. If any new character gets pushed aside, its Queen Soruna of Naboo, but even she gets a couple good moments as she fights alongside Shara and Leia.
One of my criticisms from the last issue was how anyone who has read any of the other Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens media would know Naboo does not get destroyed. It was an intriguing discovery then that Palpatine’s Operation: CINDER didn’t just target Naboo, but several other planets that would offer resistance against the Empire. While no details are yet given about the other planets, it will be interesting to learn which planets and just how many the Empire targeted and by now destroyed as Han could only reach Naboo in time. Just as intriguing will be how this operation will lead into The Force Awakens. Equally as compelling is Leia’s Force-sensitive nature, revealed in a very cool moment in the issue, causing one to wonder if her Force abilities may have grown by the time the sequel rolls around.
Marco Checchetto’s art is once again impressive, especially when it comes to depicting the various battles. His renditions of the classic characters capture their likenesses very well, though if there is one complaint about the art, it’s that as soon as Shara, Leia and Soruna put on their pilot uniforms and helmets, its hard to tell them apart. At several points in the issue’s climax I wondered who exactly was speaking before I figured it out. It would have helped if they had different coloured uniforms or hair, but they each looked the same. Aside from that, the art continues to look fantastic.
The third issue of Shattered Empire keeps up the momentum from its previous two issues and is a welcome look at everyone’s favourite galaxy far, far away. Between this and Marvel’s main Star Wars titles, the company has been knocking it out of the park with these new tales. With Shattered Empire concluding next week, it will be exciting to see the fallout from the Empire’s plan and what it has to do with The Force Awakens, especially as, if the cover for issue 4 is to be believed, Luke Skywalker will at last make a physical appearance in the story.