Story by Jody Houser
Art by Roge Antonio and Michael Dowling
Colors by Arif Prianto and Lee Loughridge
Lettering by VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Review by: Andrew McAvoy
This has been a book that I have eagerly anticipated since I saw it announced a number of months ago. Firstly, it is written by Jody Houser who has shown herself to be a strong presence within Marvel Star Wars books; providing us with top quality original stories as well as writing great adaptations of other source material in the comic book format. Secondly it is set in an exciting period for a story which takes place in an Imperial setting, i.e. immediately after the Battle of Hoth. Thirdly there is a cast of all new original characters, which will tie in to a later novelization by Alexander Freed (an extract from which is found at the back of the book).
What immediately attracts you to this book though is the artwork and design. The Giuseppe Camuncoli and Elia Bonetti cover on my copy was stunning, the interior art really suits the subject matter and is very striking. Likewise, the overall feel of this book in design terms is one of making the familiar look fresh and new. The character designs look really great, the blend of cast is balanced well in terms of style and appeal, and even smaller details like the stylised credits page at the start of the book suggest that this title is seen as elevated beyond the norm within Marvel Star Wars. They have obviously put a lot of work into getting this one finely tuned.
So does the story match? The answer is a definitive yes. Houser builds on what has become a strength of the newer Star Wars canon, which is allowing the reader/viewer/fan an insight into the Imperial mindset. This gives us the pure evil at the top of the Imperial hierarchy; here in the form of Commander Nuress (known as Grandmother), but also gives us a layer of bureaucratic snakes such as Commander Broosh, as well as the front line Imperial troops who feel they are genuinely fighting to retain peace and security in the galaxy. These are second generation recipients of Palpatine’s propaganda, and they legitimately see themselves as fighting on the right side, while showing some shades of grey in their assessment of the Rebels. Houser’s quality work is topped off by a little post-script storyline that suggests that there is some quiet intrigue within the Shadow Wing crew.
This is a top first installment in a five issue arc with enough plotlines laid out to sustain readers’ interest throughout this issue and likely beyond. Even though it is perhaps a somewhat childlike response to this issue, my feelings on it are that it is just “so cool”. It encapsulates all the fun and excitement you would expect from a book about a TIE fighter squadron. Count me in.