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Review: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #4

star wars shattered empire 4 coverConcluding the first new-canon comic tale set between episodes VI and VII of Star Wars! As the Empire Shatters around them, Rebel heroes fight for a better tomorrow!

With the conclusion of Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #4, a four issue miniseries, it shouldn’t be a surprise that writer Greg Rucka has not only given us our first look at the Star Wars universe post Return of the Jedi, but also a female lead in Shara Bey that’s worthy of more adventurous tales. If anything, my biggest problem with the series and comic is that it’s too short!

In the first three issues I wasn’t quite sure whose story this series was, but with this final issue, it’s clear it’s Shara Bey’s as she must decide what she wants her future to be, as the Rebel Alliance is figuring out what a future without Imperial rule looks like. Does she choose to continue fighting? Does she settle down with her husband and her kid Poe (that’d be Poe Dameron who will be in The Force Awakens for those keeping score)? Should she feel guilty about walking away? The story at its essence is about the duty of a solider versus the duty of a parent. We get a well rounded character who is more than action and more than her family.

With a pretty deep story, it also has all the fun hits of Star Wars. It’s not realistic that the Empire quickly crumbles, there’d be pockets of resistance. There’d be a contingency plan. Rucka gives us a realistic take in that all, but in the four issues it’s quick hits and every event could be an entire arc unto themselves.

We also get a possible hint as to Luke’s role in future movies as he finally shows up in this fourth issue for an interesting mission.

All of it together makes me want more, and gets more more excited for the next film.

Marco Checchetto provides the art which beautifully captures the Star Wars world, as well as some things we haven’t necessarily seen before. It all fits seamlessly into the visual story we’ve already seen.

Four issues!? I want more! And I especially want more Rucka/Checchetto Star Wars. I’ve been pretty reserved as far as my excitement for what’s to come, but with this first glimpse of a post Jedi world, I’m getting more excited, and much less nervous. It’s been almost 30 years since Jedi wrapped, but reading this series, it’s like no time has been missed. I finished reading this fourth issue only wanting to read more.

Story: Greg Rucka Art: Marco Checchetto
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week! We’ve got lots of interviews and post NYCC coverage still to come. But, until then, here’s some comic book reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Batman and Robin Eternal #2

ICV2 – Black Bullet Vol. 1

CBR – Black Jack Ketchum #1

CBR – Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #3

CBR – Sex Criminals #13

CBR – Superman: American Alien #1

The Outhousers – Twilight Children #1

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week, and we have all sorts of things going on, like getting prepped for SPX! While we count down the days to one our favorite cons of the year, here’s some news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

The ComiChron – August 2015 comics orders up 7%; strong market heading into Marvel’s relaunch – DC gained a bit? Maybe my stats aren’t so much bullshit after all. They’re clearly ahead of the trends others report.

Grand Forks Herald – Superheroes make kids’ day by rappelling down Sanford building – This is pretty cool to see.

San Antonio Current – Stan Lee, The Ultimate Politician, Thinks Donald Trump Needs To Tone It Down – This is a pretty fun read. Stan Lee for President!

CinemaBlend – Zoe Saldana Nabs Starring Role In Another Comic Book Adaptation – I swear it’s a competition as to who can be in the most.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Batman #44 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Ninjak #7 (Valiant): Over the past few months I have been devouring anything that Valiant has been producing, and pretty much all of it has been as good as I hoped it would be. I quite enjoyed the last issue’s (slightly) slow build up, and I can’t wait for this issue.

Batman #44 (DC Comics): Although I think it’s only a matter of time before Bruce Wayne dons the cape and cowl again, I’m looking forward to seeing Jock take on the Dark Knight. The only thing stopping this issue from being my top pick this week? The $4.99 price tag.

Unity #22 (Valiant): I’m actually looking forward to this for a slightly different reason; I haven’t been reading Unity – yet – because the comic has been in the middle of a story arc. This issue marks the finale of that arc, so I’ll be able to pick it up in trade form, and begin reading Unity with issue #23. Oh yes. More Valiant.



Top Pick: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire #1 (Marvel) – It begins here! Bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, this series takes us past the destruction of the second Death Star into a world with a shattered Empire. Courtesy of writer Greg Rucka!

Bitch Planet #5 (Image Comics) – After a hiatus that was too long, this series that tackles social issues in the form of a prison exploitation story is back. Hopefully the break has not diminished it’s excellence, but it’s near the top of my “to read” pile for the week.

Rebels #6 (Dark Horse) – Writer Brian Wood continues to bring us an entertaining and gripping look at the Revolutionary War, mixing in a bit of the philosophy behind it.

Starve #4 (Image Comics) – The world is messed up and the television show Starve mixes a celebrity chef cooking competition with excess. The characters are fascinating, and the underlying message of the series could be debated about for some time. A big middle finger to the Food Channel and all of the cooking competition shows out there.

TET #1 (IDW Publishing) – Eugene Smith is desperate to leave Vietnam behind, and begin a new life with the woman he loves. But when a fellow Marine is brutally murdered, Eugene’s plans are thrown away, forever. All’s fair in love and war, right? This crime/romance story set at the height of the Vietnam War and the decades that followed sounds too interesting to not read.



Top Pick (tie): Bitch Planet #5 (Image Comics) – Probably the most important comic being made today in terms of the issues it explores like social enforcement of gender roles, racism and the prison system. In some ways it’s been a slow burn developing the story (in part because of the pace of the releases, not that it hasn’t been worth the wait). Yet the worldbuilding already feels so fleshed out. That’s probably because this dystopia is far too much like the real world of today. No wonder the series has such a loyal following.

Top Pick (tie): Phonogram the Immaterial Girl #2 (Image Comics) – Music is magic in Phonogram. Creators Gillen and McKelvie are masters at building fantastical metaphors for growing up and developing your sense of self that feel more real then any more “realist” or literal narative could ever be.

Our protagonist, Emily used her powers to exile her depressed teenage psyche to the netherverse beyond the mirror. While this gave her the hard exterior to become the Poptomistisn embracing maven she is today it also makes her past self her own worst enemy.

Last issue ended with Emily’s sad old self dragging her into Aha’s legendary “Take On Me” video video behind the screen of her TV. How will she escape? (Read my review of issue 1. A new essay is on its way)

Catwoman #44 (DC Comics) – Last issue ended on a huge cliffhanger. Will either of the series’ two Catwomen- Eiko and Selina survive? That was a serious fall. And have you seen the stunning Kevin Wada cover of our two Catwomen tangoing? Meow.

Gotham Academy #10 (DC Comics) – Easily one of DC comics’ best books. The cast of characters and art are utterly charming. But the story also delves into real emotional turmoil that kids will recognize (& older readers will look back on and remember). The book is perfect on the perifery of the Bat world but requires no knowledge of Batman related comics to enjoy.

The Michael Moorcock Library Volume 2: The Sailors on the Seas of Fate HC Vol. 2 (Titan Comics) – This is not Conan. This is not Red Sonja. This is trippy as hell! This is the second volume of a brand new reprinting of Roy Thomas, P. Craig Russell, and Michael T. Gilbert’s take on Michael Moorcock’s fantasy epic, Elric of Melniboné. While the story is quintessential 70s psychedelic sword and sorcery if you haven’t delved specifically into Moorcock’s works before it will feel utterly new to you. The work that was inspired by it is not like it. So treat yourself to this beautiful volume.



Top Pick: Tyson Hesse’s Diesel #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The fantastical sky pirating world of Diesel has had me excited to read it since I first heard about it weeks ago. Now, that I finally have the chance to get my hands on it I could not be more thrilled.

Batman #44 (DC Comics) – The safest pick coming out of DC right now is Batman because it has been so constantly good in the hands of Scott Snyder. And, adding one of my favorite artists Jock into the mix makes this a must read.

Catwoman #44 (DC Comics) – Catwoman has been one of the pleasant surprises of the last few months, creating a really intriguing and exciting crime drama. I cannot stop myself from watching Selina’s criminal empire crumble and after the events in issue 43 I have to know what comes next.

Holy F*cked #1 (Action Lab – Danger Zone) – If you just want some utterly ridiculous fun while reading comics then you need to check out Holy F*cked. It is an absolute blast.


Mr. H

Top Pick: Batman #44 (DC Comics) – Snyder and Jock team reunited for a one off that shows Bruce back in the cowl and gives us an insight to the origin tale of Mr. Bloom. Yes I may miss Capullo for one month but this should be great!

Action Comics #44 (DC Comics) – Truth comes to an end. Will all the answers set us free? Only Kuder and Co. know.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #5 (Marvel Comics) – I am very pumped for this one. Now that they got through the prodding first few issues, last month really turned up the heat. We get Spidey and Annie May side by side fighting for survival of their world. I cannot wait! Let’s see that Parker luck in full force!

TMNT Color Classics Series 3 #9 (IDW Publishing) – Turtles. Color. Classics. Always there.



Top Pick: Siege #3 (Marvel) – One of my favourite titles to come out of Secret Wars.  Abigail Brand is front and center, defending the SHIELD in a never ending battle from the hordes that would lay waste to Battleworld.  Issue #2 ended with Abigail seeing a familiar face leading the charge against her…can’t wait to see this go down.

A-Force #4 (Marvel) – A mysterious new ally!  A traitor in their ranks!  And the Thors are on their way to uphold the laws of Doom.  She-Hulk has fought hard for Arcadia…is she about to lose everything?  Looking forward to finding out!  This has been a fun book from the start that hasn’t disappointed.

Civil War #4 (Marvel) – Issue #3 showed us a third party pulling strings in this civil war…and the Punishers are just too damn cool.  Iron Man and Captain America are getting desperate…will either one stand victorious?  This has been a surprise hit with me; I’ve really enjoyed seeing these characters in what seems like a ‘What If?’ story.  It doesn’t feel like a tie in book, but more of a fast forward if the war went on.  If you’re not reading this one, what are you waiting for?

Marvel Presents Your First Look at Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #1!

Charge headlong into a new era of Star Wars comics as the first Marvel series to take place after Return of the Jedi kicks off this September! Today, Marvel is proud to present your first look at Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #1 – a brand-new series from the critically acclaimed creative team of Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto. High above the forest moon of Endor, the Rebel Alliance makes their desperate last stand against the might of the Empire. Though they are successful in the destruction of the second Death Star, the Empire is far from beaten. Now, follow Shara Bey, an A-Wing pilot in the Rebel Fleet in the days following the Battle of Endor. Though their super weapon has been destroyed, Shara will discover that just how dangerous and unpredictable a shattered Empire can be! Don’t miss the explosive first issue as Marvel takes a deeper look into a part of the Star Wars universe yet unexplored!

Written by GREG RUCKA
Cover by PHIL NOTO
Variant Cover by MARCO CHECCHETTO (JUL150769)
Movie Variant Also Available (JUL150768)
Hyperspace Variant Also Available (JUL150770)
Blank Variant Also Available (JUL150771)
FOC – 08/10/15, On-Sale – 09/02/15


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