Pros: This comic is positioned at a really unique and interesting time in Star Wars history. In addition, this comic does a great job at appreciating many parts of the Star Wars mythos.
Cons: Being only four issues, this comic run is not very long and feels short by the end of it.
Overall: This four issue series introduces the world to the period of time set between Episode VI and Episode VII. It is an interesting story which is, unfortunately, hampered by how short it is. In summary, this book is a nice introduction to the world after Return of the Jedi and not much more. Readers interested in getting a brief glimpse at the new Star Wars universe or who are looking to start reading Star Wars comic books will be perfectly satisfied with this book. However, readers looking for an epic adventure with real effects on both characters and continuity would be better off looking elsewhere.
The four issue Star Wars: Shattered Empire comic is collected in a softcover and a hardcover book, both with different additional contents. The softcover version also includes Princess Leia #1 and Star Wars (1977) #1 while the hardcover version also collects Star Wars Special: C-3PO 1: The Phantom Limb. These first two comics are also collected in other books. Princess Leia #1 is collected in Star Wars: Princess Leia or Star Wars: Heroes For a New Hope while Star Wars (1977) is collected in Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 1 or in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. However, Star Wars Special: C-3PO 1: The Phantom Limb is currently only collected in the hardcover of this book.
Because of this, this review will only focus on the four Star Wars: Shattered Empire comics and none of the additional material. Reviews for this additional material will be added to the site at a later time and will be linked here when added.
For decades, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi has been on the books without any true direct sequel. Now, with the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, there is a robust and evolved universe to explore after the fall of the Empire. This is the goal of Star Wars: Shattered Empire, to allow fans to get their toes wet in the waters of this post Return of the Jedi world. In this way, the book succeeds as it manages to follow up on stories and introduce several new ones. However, with only four issues to do this, it really only scrapes the surface of true adventure and will, most likely, leave fans wanting much more.
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Following up on the past six Star Wars movies is not an easy job, it requires a lot of respect and dedication to the lore in order to get it right. In this aspect Rucka does not disappoint, as he delivers a continuation of the Star Wars story that is clearly meant for fans. Han, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO all have their moment in the spotlight of this story. Yet the original trilogy does not get all the glory, as Naboo and even Darth Maul make appearances in this comic. Given most people’s distaste for the prequels, I was happily surprised to see these in here. All in all, this comic pulls in a lot from the already established Star Wars universe, so readers are guaranteed to find something they enjoy.
While respecting these older movies, Shattered Empire also succeeds in helping to transition fans over to the time period of The Force Awakens. Poe Dameron’s family is introduced, the Emperor’s post-death, emergency plans are hinted at, and Luke is clearly working towards building up the Jedi again. Aspects of these can all be found in The Force Awakens so it is nice to see them included here.
However, all of the positives in this book are undercut by the how short and compressed of a read this is. Each fan favorite character only gets a couple of seconds in the spotlight, and each separate storyline feels somewhat rushed. Even the newly introduced Dameron family, who the story mostly follows, barely receives any character development before being sidelined. If this was the first chapter in a new comic book series then it would be fulfilling its role perfectly. However, at the time of writing this review, this comic has no real direct sequel and thus feels significantly more disappointing.
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The art throughout this collection is mostly done by Marco Checchetto. In general, this artwork looks great and is incredibly reminiscent of the look found in the Star Wars movies. This is great for every fan of the movies as it allows a more seamless transition from the watching to the reading experience.
In addition, covers 2-4, drawn by Marco Checchetto, are absolutely beautiful. While not something readers will be spending a long time looking at, it is worth noting how great these things look.
This comic starts at the final battle from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and then continues for a short time after it. Thus this is a direct continuation of the story from this movie.
Besides this, there is only one other reference to the Star Wars universe:
- When Leia is on Naboo, she feels a “cold” presence. This is a direct reference to the events of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.