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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 7 comics last week: Action Comics #44, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #5, Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1, Batman #44, Batman/Superman #24, Star Trek/Green Lantern #3, Secret Wars: Civil War # and Darth Vader #9.
The best comic I read last week was Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1.
Star Wars: Shattered Empire is one of the official properties that spans the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens which means the story here is official “canon” for the Star Wars universe. That, in-and-of-itself, is very exciting. Further building my anticipation to for the book is the series of home runs Marvel has hit with its Star Wars titles. Star Wars and Darth Vader have been great from the go, Lando has been good and the Princess Leia mini series was impressive.
Now comes Star Wars: Shattered Empire which is beautifully illustrated by Marco Checchetto. I am not terribly familiar with Checchetto’s work, but he does a masterful job with the Star Wars characters. He’s not slavish to likenesses but renders recognizable characters. His star ships are vintage Star Wars and his action scenes are very well done. I am looking forward to his work throughout the series.
Greg Rucka is a recognized and well respected name in comic book writing. After spending years on the likes of Batman and Captain America, Rucka had turned his back on main stream comics but returned to Marvel for this project. How could he not?
He certainly captures the flavor of the Star Wars universe in tone and in dialogue. His Han Solo, something of the star of this issue, sounds like Han Solo and the interplay of the characters is fun to read. Likewise, the plot plays directly from the Star Wars universe seeing the New Republic quick to celebrate the victory at Endor, but equally quick to realize that the Empire is not down-for-the-count just yet.
Rucka’s neatest trick, and his most difficult one I am sure, is to create and write characters and situations to bridge the 30 year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. He does this so seamlessly that I didn’t immediately realize that I was reading exploits of the parents (I assume) of one of the characters from The Force Awakens until after the character’s surname was mentioned. If only the Star Wars novel Aftermath, which is also chronicling these years, was equally successful.
Shattered Empire is good Star Wars and is good comics. This is another hit for Marvel.