Saturday, 27 February 2016

Journey To Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Shattered Empire #4 - Marvel Comics

As the concluding instalment of “a tent pole story in the journey to [the] Star Wars: the Force Awakens publishing program” this somewhat ‘silly’ tale of Luke Skywalker secreting himself into the Imperial base on Vetine in order to ‘rescue’ “a couple of twigs” proves a rather disappointing finale. For although the twenty-page periodical certainly ramps up the ‘thrill factor’ once the young Jedi’s scheme has been rumbled by the military installation’s commandant and Ben Kenobi’s protégé is literally surrounded by scores of Stormtroopers, it is hard not to question just why the Rebel commander’s co-pilot Lieutenant Shara Bey has volunteered for so dangerously ludicrous a mission when her alternative is a blissful life with her husband on a peaceful planet?

Quibbles as to the unconvincing motivation of Greg Rucka’s titular character aside however, the Eisner Award-winner’s narrative also regrettably appears to be based upon the presumption that despite knowing that Bey’s impersonation of Alecia Beck is false (as “Commander Beck is missing her left eye”), the research facilities’ Imperial forces still incredulously escort their intruders into the inner lab to a place where the rebels can do most damage? Considering that the Galactic Empire has “increased our security measures since the events at Endor” and that there are “only two people in the galaxy who could freely access this room…” why would any officer actually encourage such a blatant senseless breach of protocol?

Admittedly doubtless many of this title’s 105,284 readers forgave such lazy plot development just as soon as Artoo-Deetoo provided his black-suited master with his legendary weapon and the resultant light-sabre show ensued. But such seemingly bizarre decision-making and rationale as to how Po Dameron’s mother, Skywalker and his droid happen to have found their way to the location of “all that remain[s] of the tree that grew at the heart of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant” leaves something of a bad taste in the mouth; especially as the Californian’s writing for this four-issue mini-series has been so strong up until this point.

Fortunately Marco Checchetto’s drawing ability is more than up to the challenge such an implausible plot provides. Indeed the Italian’s pencilling of the sheer carnage Luke, now seemingly in full mastery of his Jedi powers, causes is breath-taking in places, as the Force-sensitive repeatedly fends off an apparently endless army of Imperial Stormtroopers and E-11 blaster rifle bolts.
The variant cover art of "JOURNEY TO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - SHATTERED EMPIRE" No. 4 by Sara Pichelli

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