Review: Star Wars – Agent of the Empire #1
You have to hand it to Star Wars. Thirty four years after its original debut, it’s still the basis for fresh content. The latest is a brand new comic series from Dark Horse entitled Agent of the Empire that hits stores on December 14th.
Focusing on the oft-maligned Imperial perspective, Agent of the Empire tells the story of Jahan Cross, a special agent of sorts. As the introduction reads:
“… not every political problem requires military might; not every negotiation depends on a show of force. Sometimes all diplomacy needs to succeed is the right man, in the right place, with the willingness to get the job done.“
It’s nice to see the creators focusing on a smaller scope when telling a story from the Imperial perspective. “Star Destroyers blow pirates into oblivion” doesn’t really make for a particularly compelling story, and given that Agent of the Empire is set before the Rebellion really comes into its own there aren’t many Imperial Navy size enemies floating around.
We meet the main character, Jahan Cross, as he tracks down corrupt Imperial officers. He’s operating under the guise of a member of the diplomatic service and is accompanied, as always, by his companion droid IN-GA. As we find out, it’s a standard cover story for him, but he’s anything but standard. A cocky but principled agent who refuses to be bought by the people he brings down, Cross is certainly more at home in a firefight than your average diplomat.
This first issue introduces us to Cross’ by throwing him directly into the action, but then takes a step back and allows the reader to understand a little more about him. When they sent us the preview copy, Dark Horse suggested that it was “James Bond meets Star Wars”, and they weren’t kidding about that. Jahan Cross’ home base appears to be the Star Wars version of Q’s renowned workshop in the pre-‘Daniel Craig as Bond’ era, complete with gadgets for every eventuality (and some with no purpose at all). In fact, if I have to pick my biggest irritation with this first issue of Agent of the Empire, it’s that Jahan Cross is so much like James Bond that his character isn’t particularly compelling. Fun, yes, but not terribly interesting. It’s too early to pass judgement though, as I’m sure the creators have some tricks up their sleeves.
After our agent is re-equipped, he sets off in pursuit of a couple of leads he dug up in the opening mission. It appears some sort of large scale corruption is afoot in the Empire, involving Imperial officers and a number of entities from the corporate sector. I’m not going to tell you what happens, but overall I thought this first issue was enticing. The action is fast-paced and well drawn (courtesy of Stéphane Roux, Julien Hugonnard-Berd, and Wes Dzioba), and the writing’s pretty solid as well (John Ostrander). It’s certainly a good opening salvo with a couple of extra-special tidbits for Star Wars fans. Check it out in stores this Wednesday 12/14.