I’ve been really impressed with Marvel’s recent line of “Star Wars” books. Licensed comics are usually more miss than hit for me, but Marvel, in corporate synergy with parent company Disney, has been taking great care in producing these new books. Hell, even the “Chewbacca” miniseries has been surprisingly good. But, of all the books, “Star Wars: Shattered Empire” is so far my favorite (full disclaimer: I’ve only read the first two issues of this four-part miniseries).
“Shattered Empire” is great for a number of reasons. Most obviously, it’s great because it’s the official continuation of the original trilogy that covers some of the space between “Return of the Jedi” and the forthcoming “The Force Awakens”. Also, the book is considered canon, so it’s giving us an eagerly anticipated glimpse of what the future holds for the new “Star Wars” films. But, most importantly, the book is well crafted by writer Greg Rucka, artist Marco Checchetto, and others.
I was curious as to how Rucka would approach this story, as Rucka is a very grounded writer — unsurprisingly, Rucka provides a very grounded story where the victory over the empire at the end of “Return of the Jedi” was not a clean-cut victory and there are still battles to be fought against the empire. Checchetto compliments Rucka’s story with gritty realism, as much realism as can go into a sci-fantasy story at least. The books are a nice package and, even with guest/fill-in artists, the books read well and feel whole (as opposed to jarring or disjointed as usually happens when multiple artists are involved). And, despite being a grounded, gritty, almost war-like story, “Shattered Empire” definitely feels like “Star Wars”.
Overall, Marvel has been producing some great “Star Wars” books, with “Shattered Empire” being the creme de la creme.
(P.S. I’m one of the few fanboys who actually liked “Star Wars: Episode IV: The Phantom Menace”, and I almost squealed like a schoolgirl when Rucka brought Naboo into the story — I’m glad that the prequels, however good or bad they may be, are being acknowledged and not just swept under the rug.)