Warning: Spoilers Dead Ahead!
Marvel has been wasting no time churning out Star Wars related comics month after month but this is the first to introduce and pave the way for the future! Don't let the cover fool you, Rucka is making the journey to The Force Awakens less about the old and more about the new.
Shattered Empire begins during the final moments of Return Of The Jedi, as we see the destruction of the second Death Star and the celebration on Endor. But Rucka doesn't focus on redundancy for fans, rather, he takes us deeper into the original tale by allowing us access inside the communications of the Green, Red, Yellow and Gold Squads during that epic battle. He glazes over the Star Wars hierarchy in order to push to the forefront the "workers without the glory" and makes us ponder those background characters that paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
Some of those "background" characters will be playing key roles for the future of the franchise, with this book paying special attention to two in particular. Shara Bey, the Green Four A-Wing pilot that the book mainly revolves around and Kes Dameron, a pilot in the Pathfinder Strike Team and Shara's lover. One can only assume that these two will become the parents of ace X-Wing Fighter pilot, Poe Dameron, that will be sharing the spotlight with Finn and Rey in The Force Awakens!
Although Rucka excites the reader with the possible hints at what may come in the future, he hasn't found the "voice" of the original cast the way Jason Aaron has in the current Star Wars comic series. The dialogue seems lackluster and forced with an array of "background chatter" to fill the void of something significant. Even the few moments between Shara and Kes are short lived and mediocre at best, which is a shame, due to their proposed significance.
But what Rucka has lacked in immediate dialogue, Checchetto has more than made up for with his art! From lightsaber duel splash pages to A-Wing / Tie-Fighter battles, Checchetto astounds the eye and captivates the reader into the world that mesmerized us all as children. His thin lines and character renderings are wondrous and has shown unbelievable improvement since his years on The Punisher! With tone perfect colors by Andres Mossa, you can flip through this book numerous times and find things you never noticed before. Amazing!
Overall, this book relies too much on fans buying in due to the tag line and not for the story that unfolds. It is okay but lacks that hook that will keep readers slack jawed and wanting more. Buy it for the outstanding art and believe in the Force that issue #2 gives us the tale we are looking for!