Star Wars: Empire Ascendant #1
Destination Hoth. It is a dark time in the history for the Rebellion who despite several victory blows against the Empire continue to be relentlessly pursued by their enemies. Here now are four tales of that time that set up what is to come while paying homage to what has come before...
STAR WARS: An Echo of Victory:
An excellent vignette about a certain very famous future resistance pilots parents. Charles Soule cleverly links the past with the future in an emotional and inspirational tale of hope in a time of real darkness for the Rebels that had me choked up by the last panel.It’s also beautifully drawn and colored. Luke Ross draws Star Wars ships and characters amazingly well and Guru-eFX coloring on this one is perfect without losing any of the intricate details Ross has put into the art! I dare you to not get emotional when you read this one.
DARTH VADER: In Service of The Empire:
Death is nothing without victory! Greg Pak tells us a tale of Death Troopers in another story that again cleverly ties the story to the canon of the moment in time. I think its a stroke of genius and delicious irony that the Ion canon technology used on Hoth was stolen from The Empire. Fanatical adherence to doing whatever it takes is the theme and a great counter point to story one as we see Darth Vader and The Empire too are prepared to do what needs to be done for victory. The art from Roland Boschi is dynamic, really capturing the feel and speed of battle while Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors are strong and again punctuate how this story sits in complete opposition to the first one.Shout out to Clayton Cowles on lettering for all the amazing sound effects on this one!
BOUNTY HUNTERS: Two Sides to Every Sortie:
A tale of Beilert Valance, former imperial soldier turned cyborg bounty hunter. Ethan Sacks tells a story that really serves to show just how capable and deadly Valance is as he gets hired by Han Solo and The Rebelion for a mission. I like that Sacks doesn’t try make Valance some sort of hero, even though he is ironically if you think about it after reading this, He does the job for the money in the most efficient and deadly way required. The Rebel command’s disdain for him is palpable as is Valance’s disdain for soldiers rooted in his experience which I think is great character writing if you are familiar with Valance’s history. The art from Paolo Villanelli is excellent, faces are dynamic and expressive and his spaceship battles gorgeous. Prianto’s coloring is strong and I really like how bright spots in the colors are used to add additional dynamic layer to a lot of panels.
DOCTOR APHRA: Epilogue:
An emotional tale from Spurrier that is really more about the people in Aphra’s life than Aphra itself. I am not personally up to date with the current run so some context was lost on me but it’s still really well written by Spurrier who manages to paint a really reflective melancholy moment while again using an element (in this case the still very fresh faced Luke Skywalker) to tie the moment in time in the canon. The art and coloring are solid from Wijngaard and Loughridge, Luke in particular is well drawn and the last page in particular is superbly colored.
The cover by Ricardo Federici is an absolute work of art and in all honesty one of the best photo realistic covers I have actually ever seen on a comic book.
Another brilliant thing about this issue is there are set up pages before each story which give a history of what has gone before which can be a huge help to readers just jumping on and want to catch up while also letting us know where the stories are going in the new title relaunches starting in January. This is both thoughtful and good marketing on the part of the Marvel Star Wars editorial department who have done a superb job on not only this issue but on Star Wars comics overall this year.
Star Wars: Empire Ascendant #1 is a gloriously well constructed comic book that cleverly points the way forward for the entire STAR WARS comics line while paying respect to what has come before with excellently written and beautifully drawn drawn emotionally impactful short stories that capture the best of Star Wars comics in an old fan and new reader friendly package!
Star Wars: Empire Ascendant #1: Hope in a Time of Darkness…
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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