Monday, December 28, 2015

Shattered Empire #4 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

My first thought, as Shara bluffs her way into an imperial research base by using an assumed identity, is that I was surprised that no one recognized the real Commander Beck.  I thought about someone trying to impersonate me to get into the doors at work; someone at the front desk would recognize that his voice didn't sound like mine.  But, Rucka is right there with me - the commandant in charge of the base not only knows Beck but knows that she's missing an eye.  However, he let Shara and Luke into the base because he wants to know what we want to know:  why are they there?

Previously, Artoo found Shara after her lieutenant informed her that he had submitted her resignation papers for her, after he learned that her husband, Kes, had submitted his papers.  Shara is torn about leaving the Rebellion, so, when Artoo leads her to Luke, she's happy to serve as his pilot and go on one more mission.  Eventually, we do discover why they're at the Imperial base:  the Emperor was keeping the remains of the tree that grew in the heart of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant there.  Luke and Shara grab the remnants and fight their way to freedom, and Checchetto does a great job of showing the various facets of Luke's powers, from acrobatics to combat, along the way. 

But, it's the end that brings this series to a perfect conclusion.  Luke hadn't expected there to be two trees, and he asks Shara to take one "home" with her to care for it.  With a suitably important final "mission," Shara is able to leave the service in a way that allows her to feel connected.  It's really the perfect solution.  Even if this series had a light enough tone to make a happy ending seem likely, it still comes in a way that doesn't feel forced.  For anyone that read "Star Wars:  Aftermath," this series actually feels like a companion piece, and I'd highly recommend it.

*** (three of five stars)

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