|JOURNEY TO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - SHATTERED EMPIRE No. 3, December 2015|
Utterly relentless in its breath-taking depiction of the Rebellion’s “ongoing combat operations against the shattered Empire”, this mini-series’ third instalment arguably provided its 105,496 buyers with an almost faultless “Star Wars” reading experience; even if Greg Rucka’s narrative does possibly rely a little heavily upon the nostalgia of “The Phantom Menace” in places. Indeed the opening third of this twenty-page periodical simply doesn’t let up for a moment, as General Han Solo leads a successful raid against an Imperial Security Bureau Black Site on “The Wretch of Tayron” and the San Francisco-born writer (once again) has this title’s audience guessing as to whether or not Sergeant Kes Dameron is going to survive his latest shoot-out with a seemingly endless swarm of Stormtroopers.
Admittedly it seems inconceivable that the American author would have one of his main protagonists disposed of quite so ignominiously as to be killed by a lucky shot from a scout trooper’s hold-out blaster pistol. But until the timely and savage intervention of a rather enraged wookie, there’s a palpable tension within the sequence’s panels as the rebel’s position becomes increasingly exposed and vulnerable. Certainly ‘Strike Four’ seems to attract an awful lot of enemy laser fire for a two-person team; albeit they do single-handedly take down an AT-ST walker and “opened a door for us, [on the secret ISB base] southeast side.”
Just as unclear throughout “Shattered Empire” is the fate of the Pathfinders’ wife, Lieutenant Shara Bey. Having been “assigned a light duty, acting as pilot and escort for Princess Leia Organa”, Po Dameron’s mother soon finds herself confronting an Imperial-class Star Destroyer and its “complement of seventy-two TIE fighters” in nothing more than a twenty-year old Naboo spaceship. The resultant battle as she tries “shooting shiny things until there aren’t any more” is wonderfully tense, especially when her damaged craft loses its starboard hydraulics and falls into the gun sights of two enemy vessels…
All of this action is incredibly well-illustrated by Marco Checchetto and Angel Unzueta. The sheer pandemonium of Solo’s strike upon the Imperial base is fantastically frantic with explosions erupting all around the “Marvel Worldwide” artist’s characters, and is only bettered by the colourful ‘laser show’ of Bey’s space battle alongside Leia and Queen Soruna.
|The variant cover art of "JOURNEY TO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - SHATTERED EMPIRE" No. 3 by Mike Deodato, Jr.|