Weekly Recommendation: Star Wars- Shattered Empire: Journey to the Force Awakens

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Star Wars has taken over this week, with the reveal of the new trailer and the Pre-booking for Episode VII smashing not only box office records but also websites- so it seems only fitting the end to ‘Shattered Empire’ hits shelves this week also and gave us some nice glimpses at what may be to come in the future of the Star Wars movie universe. That’s why it’s this weeks Recommendation.

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Shattered Empire takes place almost immediately after the events of ‘Return of the Jedi’ and the destruction of the Death Star and the supposed fall of the Empire. The book is the first official comic book to take place within the newly established cannon of the Star WArs movie universe and as such is special for this alone, but when you consider it gives us huge clues towards Episode VII and further this book becomes even more special if you’re a Star Was fan.

The official synopsis for the series is as follows: Emperor Palpatine’s twenty-year reign of terror came to an abrupt and fiery end in the skies above the forest moon of Endor. A decisive victory for the Rebel Alliance, to be sure, but even with the loss of its leadership, the Empire’s Moffs and regional governors retained their hold on important systems from the Core to the Outer Rim, thanks to the might of the Imperial Starfleet. Now, with a power vacuum atop the Empire, those Moffs will jockey for position and control, and the heroes of the Rebel Alliance will soon discover that a wounded and fractious Empire may be more dangerous than any threat they faced before!

However what the series really gives us is a glimpse at some key components of the Rebel Alliance, along with a very nice story about the parents of Poe Dameron and just how Poe have come to join the alliance. The book is written by Greg Rucka and he does a great job of displaying the enormity of the war within play here, and the artwork is delivered by Marco Checchetto who does a great job with the aerial battles and an equally good job on those more quiet and emotional moments.

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The space battles are definitely where Checchetto does this universe credit as their huge in scale contain a large amount of clear and exciting action, and are so well choreographed from panel to panel that its exciting to read and see even when we go inside the cockpits of space vessels. Ruckas dialog in most of these panels is limited to commands between the rebels unit fighters but does a brilliant job of recapturing the magic from the final Death Star battle in episode VI.

The story told is also brilliant, as while it focuses on the parents of Poe Dameron  (who we will see in Episode VII) it also manages to add some of the major players from the universe- Luke, Leia, Solo and Ackbar. We get to see how each of these characters has been affected by the ending of the Empire, and how they continue to fight the remaining remnants in an attempt to restore order to the galaxy. Seeing Solo on a run to destroy an Imperial factory and watching him talk to C3PO is brilliant as it captures the relationship between these two brilliantly. These are some of the finer moments, as having the relationships between the original cast highlighted, even if only briefly is a great way to draw that nostalgic feeling out.

However its the seeds sewn moving forward that are the most interesting, as we get plenty of these. The first of these cool nods is to Princess Leia, who we see is now very force sensitive and gets a glimpse of terrible danger while on Naboo- in the form of none other than an image of Darth Maul!!! This hints that the last time we saw him ‘Clone Wars’ he is still very much alive and may have returned to Naboo, now whether this means we will ever see him in a movie or not I don’t know. But the idea of having him as the last remaining Sith and looking to rebuild the order could be something well worth seeing.

We also learn that despite his death, the Emperor is living on in the form of holo instructions to his chief Moff’s allowing his will to still be carried out and the stories of his death remain unclear amongst the Empire. This is sheer brilliance as if he plans to remain in the galaxy and wishes what he worked for to live on then surely he would have planned for a potential demise. These moments alone are surprising yet brilliantly delivered and it truly feels like the Emperor is giving the orders.

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However the final pages of the 4part mini-series drop the biggest clues for Episode VII as Poe’s mother helps Luke retrieve an item of importance for the Jedi- only it turns out there are two of these. And as we know Episode VII will feature an awakening in the force, and we all know this will be Rey and most likely Finn the book also links Poe to the force. Yes you read that right, the final few pages hint that Dameron Poe may well be force sensitive due to an artifact given to him by Luke himself- now this would be cool to see and may explain why a fighter pilot is getting such a good amount of screen time.

Overall this book feels like a continuation of the Star Wars mythos, and that’s great but it also hints at the future and this gives the book some real legs to move forward and makes it an essential read.

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