Overview

Star Wars: Agent of the Empire #1

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Star Wars: Agent of the Empire #1

Credits

  • Words: John Ostrander
  • Art: Stephane Roux
  • Inks: Julien Hugonnard-Bert
  • Colors: We Dzioba
  • Story Title: Iron Eclipse
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Nov 30, 2011

Star Wars goes internal affairs and James Bond with the addition of a new star.

Jahan Cross, agent of the Empire, is not a personality-free Stormtrooper. He's not a hot-headed bounty hunter looking for a good price, or a shady higher up in the Empire that would be all-too-easily classified as evil. He's a man paid to do a job, and he does it well, infiltrating the Empire and ferreting out those who would wish for Palpatine and Vader's positions. In an organization filled with scoundrels and bootstraps, it's necessary to have someone with a particular set of skills.

The issue with some Star Wars properties is that, like its cultural cousin in Star Trek, it can be steeped in too much backstory to make sense. While you can assume most of the public has seen enough of the movies to have Darth Vader, Jar Jar Binks, and other notable creatures good and bad enter the public zeitgeist, once things start getting beyond the movies, you might as well be speaking a foreign language to the casual audience. They understand lightsabers and Star Destroyers, but that might be the extent.

Ostrander does a bang-up job introducing Star Wars elements to the common folk with this issue, presenting them in easy-to-relate situations. There's a "Q" that any Bond fan would get, there's a fedora-and-loose-tie wearing police sergeant, and when the book goes little too far into continuity, such as the Stark Hyperspace War, explains what's necessary to know to move the plot along.

While the book is steeped in Star Wars nuances and references, it doesn't forget that it can be fun at times, and has more fun in this issue than most of the movies ever did. Two characters can almost be summed up in a presumed reference to the Muppets Beaker and Dr. Honeydew. "Bleeker" is the unwitting (or witless) mute test subject for a gliding apparatus that the bald and bespectacled designer uses to send him to his painful landing. Three pages are dedicated to this scene (or building it up and dealing with its ramifications), and they're perfectly visually paced. Two word balloons on one page allow the high-flying anti-heroics to play out comically, letting the mishap breathe. It's nothing more than a visual gag, but it works oh so well to give life to the book.

Aiding that life-bringing is Stephane Roux, freshly off of the Zatanna book that was cancelled as part of the New 52. His facial work alongside simple body structures worked great for DC, and now works great for Star Wars. While backgrounds might be sparse or nonexistent at times, Roux is a fun artist that works well with the character of Jahan, and in their limited appearance, Han Solo and Chewbacca.

Ostrander and Roux have something special on their hands here; an entertaining look into the Expanded Universe that Star Wars has to offer, but not bolted down by continuity, terminology, and the like. An enjoyable character in Jahan Cross and relatable situations can get even the lesser-versed Padawan into the book, and a fun story can be appreciated by all.

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