Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto,Emilio Laiso, Angel Unzueta, Andres Mossa
I’m sure I’m not the only person who watched The Force Awakens was thought to themselves to check out the Star Wars comics Marvel has been putting out over the past year afterwards. It’s the type of thought process all comics marketing folk hope readers have, which is why there’s always some sort of post-blockbuster movie tie in comic on the shelves.
Marvel has been really good with the Star Wars licenses, putting a murder’s row of talent on the various books. Assigning Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto to a Star Wars comic that bridges the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens continues that trend, and the collaboration results in a tie-in comic that’s pretty good, not great.
I say pretty good only because it’s a bit of a bait and switch on Marvel’s end. This mini is marketed as being drawn by Checchetto, but in reality, he’s assisted by Angel Unzueta and Emili Laiso, 2 artists who are serviceable, but not as experienced as Marco. Their styles are in the same vein as Checcheto’s but lack the same amount of detail, energy and experimental panel angles that Checchetto brings to this. Luckily colorist Andres Mossa manages to make the artist switch ups not too jarring thanks to his excellent choice in colors.
The pages that Marco draw are fairly dope, as he excels at capturing the established characters actor’s licenses without coming off looking too photo realistic/light boxed. And I adore the way Checchetto draws that various ships and tech in this comic, giving the story as fantastic imagery. I think I would have enjoyed the book more had he drawn the entire mini.
Greg Rucka handling the writing duties for the mini makes a ton of sense. Rucka is a great talent, and he already has experience writing Star Wars material thanks to the Smuggler’s Run Han Solo novel that dropped this past September. It’s a shame that this book is only 4 issues, because Rucka introduces at least 5 new characters in this mini that I would love to learn more about. 2 of which include the parents of new fan favorite character Poe Dameron, who Rucka handles like a very PG and less complicated versions of Marko and Alana from Saga. He also does a terrific job of writing the original, established and much beloved characters from episodes 4-6 as well, including a fantastic Princess Leia, much to the surprise of no one thanks to the incredible work he did writing badass females characters like Batwoman and Renee Montoya for DC.
In addition to the 4 issues of the Shattered Empire mini series, we get a copy of Mark Waid and the Dodsons‘ Princess Leia #1, and a recolored version of the original Star Wars #1 Marvel put out in 1977. I’m obviously not a fan of the new modern colors on the book, but it’s interesting to see how Marvel started with this license. The Waid/Dodsons Leia comic is very rad, and I can’t recommend picking up that mini-series enough.
Overall Shattered Empire is a fun read, but sadly suffers from some inconsistent art, and being a little too brief, thanks rush to get the trade out by the time The Force Awakens in theaters. I would love to see these creators revisit these characters again in the near future, and would recommend this trade for someone who wanted to dip their toes in Star Wars comics, but didn’t want to commit to an ongoing book like Darth Vader or Star Wars proper.