Art 9.5
Characterization 9
Plot 8
Summary
STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE is a fun add on story about the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Endor and some adventures of Poe Dameron's parents.
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This year marks the 40th anniversary since the release of the original STAR WARS film on May 25th, 1977. This month, writers at ComicsVerse will be bringing you our insights on all things STAR WARS as we look at where the series has been and where it will take us next in the galaxy far, far away…


Before there was STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS there was… STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE.

In 2015, LucasFilm in consultation with Marvel embarked on a crossover event. This joint venture culminated in the release of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. This multimedia project was called JOURNEY TO THE FORCE AWAKENS and included books, short stories, and comic books. Marvel chose writer Greg Rucka (“World of New Krypton” in SUPERMAN, WOLVERINE, Atticus Kodiak novel series) to craft the story for the comic STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE.

For the art, Marvel drafted Marco Checchetto (THE PUNISHER, AVENGERS WORLD), Angel Unzueta (TITANS, CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON), Andres Mossa (AVENGERS WORLD, WOLVERINE: THE BEST THERE IS) and Emilio Laiso (GRIMM FAIRY TALES, STREET FIGHTER X GI JOE). Rucka does an outstanding job in the limited amount of space he has to tell these stories within this four issue series. Both the story and artwork shine in this series. Said visual medium is gorgeous and looks truly cinematic.

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What is compelling is how Greg approached tying in SW:SE with STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. It does not have any of the new characters that appear in the film, unfortunately. However, it does heavily feature Poe Dameron’s mother, Rebel (Rebel and New Republic can be used synonymously here) pilot Lieutenant Shara Bey. The comic arc also shows, to a lesser extent, Poe’s father: Rebel Sergeant Kes Dameron. Therefore, it serves as a bridge between EPISODE VI and EPISODE VII and shows the Skywalker/Solo family is not the only holdover from the Rebellion.

Poe Dameron’s Parents and Their Adventures

Each issue in the series is a self-contained story, but this does not take away from the larger narrative. The narrative about the relationship between Shara and Kes is explored. The dialogue in the first comic establishes that the Damerons are married. Another big theme is the Imperial Remnant’s continued resistance to the New Republic’s forces. The first issue starts off by showing the last minutes of the Battle of Endor. We see it from the vantage point of Shara Bey in her A-Wing. She even comes close to shooting down Luke Skywalker as he flees from the Second Death Star in a Lambda-class shuttle, his father’s body on board, ready to be cremated.

Luke carrying out his father’s body is a small glimpse into a larger theme of STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE. That theme is generational change and continuity. Luke carried in his arms the last remnant of the old Jedi Order. At the same time, Vader was also the last of the Sith Order founded by Darth Bane. Luke in himself represents the newest generation of Jedi.

Later on, in the first issue, Shara and Kes reunite in the celebrations on Endor post battle. They talk a bit, but then quickly sleep together. The next day, it turns out that the Empire has some holdouts on Endor, so Kes Dameron’s squad is sent to squash them. Shara Bey is sent with them as the pilot. They succeed in spectacular fashion (being led by Han Solo tends to assure that) but on the last page Han warns that “it’s not over yet.” It seems there is more work to be done in the following issues!

Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1
Kes Dameron and Shara Bey share a kiss after the Battle of Endor.

READ: Check out ComicsVerse’s review of ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.

The second issue starts with an Imperial Remnant officer being shown instructions by a hologram of the now dead Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine). The hologram instructs the officer to stomp out rebellion and resistance. The messenger is an eerie figure, covered in a red cloak and black helmet, whose faceplate doubles as a holoprojector, giving the creepy appearance that the messenger him/herself is the dead Emperor.

More Action Follows

The action then switches to a planet the New Republic forces are successfully liberating from the Imperial Remnant. Lieutenant Shara Bey, back in her A-Wing, is aiding in the liberation. She heroically shoots down TIEs, thus allowing a bombing run of Y-Wings to swoop in and drop sticky bombs onto an AT-AT, blowing it to bits.

We then see Bey and her flight leader, T’ulo, discussing her role in the New Republic’s armed forces. T’ulo informs his subordinate that she had been transferred to light duties. We later find out that her light duties are acting as Princess Leia’s pilot on a diplomatic mission to Sheev Palpatine’s home planet: Naboo. The current Queen of Naboo, Soruna, agrees eagerly with the request that Naboo join the New Republic.

However, before anything was celebrated — out of nowhere a loud crash of lightning breaks across a palace window. We find out that the same Imperials who were visited by the Messenger at the beginning of the issue are now in orbit around Naboo. They are using satellites to control Naboo’s weather in an attempt to make it uninhabitable. If they succeed, they will bury any potential secrets the former Emperor may have left behind.

Major Starfighter Action

The third issue is mainly dealing with Leia and Shara’s adventure on Naboo. Nevertheless, the issue starts off with Shara’s husband and his team led by Han Solo and Chewbacca. Han and his team are in the middle of attacking an Imperial installation. They find disturbing news about an active operation. Operation: Cinder is a widespread cover-up campaign of Palpatine’s assets. One of the planets targeted, they find out, is of course Naboo. Meanwhile, back at the Palace in Theed (the capital city of Naboo), it seems a former Queen of the planet had hidden a hangar of starfighters in a sealed away part of the palace.

This is the same hangar seen in EPISODE I, and Leia “feels cold” while an image of Darth Maul is superimposed over her frightened face. The negative feelings are portentous, as there are no trained pilots that can be called upon to defend Naboo. In response, Leia and even Queen Soruna volunteer to help Shara defend the planet. Their starfighters zoom off into the night, the same yellow vehicles seen in the first prequel film.

READ: Want more STAR WARS comics action? Well then look no further than our review of STAR WARS #30!

Again, the theme of interconnected generations of protagonists is featured. This time, Leia is following in the footsteps of her father. In THE PHANTOM MENACE, Anakin Skywalker briefly senses the dark presence of Darth Maul before flying off into space in a yellow Naboo starfighter. The Princess feels a similar sense of dread but persists through it, and another Skywalker helps save Naboo.

In space, the three women do their best to take out the satellites affecting the weather. Shara Bey valiantly fights with the TIE Fighters the star destroyer orbiting Naboo spits out at her, but she almost is shot down before Leia saves her. It seems that the inevitable has occurred, and the three are both outnumbered and outgunned. All of a sudden, Lando Calrissian’s voice is heard, informing the trio that a New Republic Task Force had exited from Hyperspace. The day is saved!

Star Wars: Shattered Empire #3
Leia and Shara team up!

The Final Comic

The last issue deals mostly with Shara Bey’s adventure with Luke Skywalker. The issue starts out with Shara Bey and T’ulo talking about her mustering out of the NR Navy so she and her husband (who will also be discharged) can raise Poe, their son. However, it quickly turns into a spy thriller. Luke Skywalker provides Shara Bey with both an Imperial uniform, a Lambda-class shuttle, and Imperial clearance codes for a secret facility.

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As they travel through hyperspace, Luke explains that she will play the part of an ISB (Imperial Security Bureau; like the NSA and FBI combined) Commander. Her command codes are up to date and authentic, and her mission is to get Luke into the facility’s lab area. Luke will then retrieve something stolen by Palpatine and brought to said lab. The duo’s cover seems intact as they quickly proceed on an “inspection tour” of the facility.

The Plan Doesn’t Go Well

However, when they get to the lab area, everything goes off the rails. It turns out the ISB Commander Shara was impersonating has only one eye. Without being known, the Imperial Commandant had led them into a trap! Not to worry, Luke jumps straight into super awesome Jedi mode and cuts his way through the forces. Luke does all of this while entrusting Shara Bey to retrieve what they had come for: the force sensitive trees.

Those trees stood proudly in the Jedi Temple, but after the Jedi Purge Palpatine had cut down the tree and took its remnants away. Bey succeeds in her mission, and both Jedi and the New Republic pilot fight their way out of the facility and exit. The final scene is of Kes and Shara planting one of the trees Luke and Shara had recovered, apparently now on Yavin IV. Both walked into the sunset of the forest moon.

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The process of galactic renewal and generational change can be symbolized in the retrieval of the force-sensitive trees. Not only did they stand in the seat of power for the Jedi of the Old Republic, but planting trees is a strong symbol of growth and renewal. When these trees are planted in their new homes, they will grow and usher in a new era of galactic prosperity. Or, that’s what one would hope anyway.

Star Wars: Shattered Empire
Quick reflexes save the day every time!

Passing the Torch

STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE starts the process of passing the torch from the Rebellion generation to the next generation of heroes. By showing the final missions of Poe Dameron’s parents, we get a sense of continuity from the Rebellion to the Resistance. After all, Poe must have grown up hearing all about the heroes of the Rebellion and the evils of the Empire. The comic shows the Empire at its’ end and the First Order before it even had a name. As the Empire was dying, its’ remaining officers clung to the image and memory of Emperor Palpatine. This ideal of tyranny and manipulation gave them strength and motivated them to continue.

READ: Love Poe Dameron? Awesome! Then check out this analysis of Mr. Dameron!

These four entities (Rebels, Empire, First Order, Resistance) are all connected through time, people, and ideals. The First Order rose from the ashes and traditions of the Imperial Remnant. The Resistance came when the New Republic couldn’t remember its’ Rebel roots. By showing the Empire on its’ proverbial last legs and the Rebellion forming itself into a proper government, STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE demonstrates the end of one age and the beginning of another. It brings the story of the original trilogy to a more comprehensive close. The mini-series also sets up the next era of galactic adventures.

Just as Shara Bey and Kes Dameron are settling down to raise Poe, the last vestiges of the Empire are limping off to parts unknown to recover. It won’t be another 30 years until a Dameron and a TIE Fighter would battle for supremacy over an alien sky. Leia Organa wouldn’t take up arms against injustice for three long decades. SW:SE sows the seeds (in the case of the tree, literally)

Overall For STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE

Overall, STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE is a fun series of vignettes showcasing the parents of future Resistance hotshot Poe Dameron. It shows that, like many things, passion for freedom and the willingness to serve are genetic. War stories must have surrounded Poe as a kid. Therefore when the First Order started to rear its ugly head, he presumably signed up immediately.

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It’s cool to see the connection between the Rebellion and the Resistance, aside from General Organa. It’s cool to see members of the alliance spotlighted other than the Big Three, Chewie, and the droids. It also gives more depth of Poe Dameron as a character, since we know he has a legacy. Part of his drive to succeed inevitably must be to live up to the legacy of his parents.

I wonder if Poe Dameron will mention the Jedi tree if he ever meets Luke. Will he ever tell Finn about when the Queen of Naboo fought alongside his mother and General Organa? Only the future and the next films can tell.

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