Marvel has been putting out seriously high quality Star Wars comics for months now, re-creating the recently erased expanded universe of canon. But everything they’ve put out so far has taken place within the confines of the existing Star Wars time frame, nothing reaching beyond Return of the Jedi. Shattered Empire is the first foray into the unknown for Marvel, and it looks to be a great adventure.
Shattered Empire begins amidst the final moments of the battle above Endor. We see the Rebel fleet regrouping and heading down to the forest moon to celebrate their victory. You can practically hear the triumphant “Yub Nub” chorus as you turn the pages.
We’re introduced to one of the fighter pilots, Lieutenant Shara Bey, as she is trying to find someone special to her during the celebration. At one point she even speaks briefly with General Solo about one of his strike team members, the person she’s looking for. It’s a quick little scene that lets us know this new character is worth caring about, because Shattered Empire focuses on her story.
Shara’s reunion with her husband is short-lived however, as his strike team is called upon to search for a surviving Imperial stronghold somewhere on Endor. I love how the story doesn’t waste any time getting into the thick of things. It’s a good choice not to dwell on fan nostalgia and waste time with empty dialogue between familiar characters. It’s better that we pick up after Jedi with actual story, new characters, and continued dangers. A sense of “the Empire isn’t gone yet” is important to cement in these stories. Star Wars: Aftermath did an excellent job of making it clear that the Empire is still a threat, so seeing the fight continue right after the Rebel victory is exciting.
Naturally Shara volunteers as a pilot on the mission, one would think not only due to her desire to serve, but to keep an eye on her husband as well. I hope the romantic banter is kept to a minimum throughout Shattered Empire, but I feel like the writers are smart enough to keep everything in check. It’s too early to know which direction Shara’s story will go, but I’m fairly confident her husband’s not going to make it to issue Four. I say that not due to any clues in issue One, but because it’s so obviously a classic move.
Issue One ends with a clear message that their victory might be too early to celebrate. There’s still a Galactic Empire out there trying to right the ship after a nasty defeat. I look forward to the rest of this series–already I wish it would be more than four issues–and anticipate many more gap-filling series leading up to The Force Awakens.