Published: May 15, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Jody Houser
Penciler: Rogê Antônio & Josh Cassara
Cover Artist: Tommy Lee Edwards
BETRAYAL AMONG THE RANKS! The TIE Fighter pilots of SHADOW WING come under fire from what appear to be their fellow IMPERIALS! Has the influence of THE REBELLION stretched further than anticipated? Or is there something more sinister at work?
TIEs are everywhere, attacking Shadow Wing. Commander Broosh tells them to defend the cruiser. The enemies broadcast, telling the loyal Imperials to surrender, that any attempts to go into hyperspace will be met with the cruiser being destroyed. Not listening, the cruiser gets ready to leave, and is very quickly destroyed by a star destroyer. Outgunned, Commander Broosh has little option but to surrender.
On the planet Kudo, the pilots are met by stormtroopers, who take the squadron to their admiral; Gratloe. Gratloe explains to Shadow Wing that he isn’t a Rebel, but believes he is owed for his service to the Empire, and so wants the mining complex that is on the planet. He asks the squadron to join him. Broosh asks if they might talk it over alone.
The Admiral places them in a cell together so they can talk. Jeela very quickly extracts a knife she has hidden in her suit and proceeds to free the rest of the squad from their restraints. They escape their cell and go to find a way to reclaim the facility…
Although the main story is over, we see Tamu and Lyttan talking together over a comm, discussing that they don’t get to see each other much. They also confirm that they have both heard whisperings of something big happening soon…
I’m supposed to do a bit of an introduction here, reflect on the first issue, make you guess to what I think about this. Well forget all that, here it is: I LOVE THIS SERIES! The first issue was incredible but it gets better! This issue keeps building on the first and provides a thrilling read that makes you want more and more…
Where do I begin!? Let’s talk about the art. There are two different artists here, with two very different styles. Antônio illustrates the main story and does a tremendous job. I mentioned last issue about the pieces with the pilot faces intertwined with the helmets, he does the same thing in this issue and it hasn’t gotten old. It just makes you go wow. I can’t help but look at his art and be reminded of Rogue Squadron. There is a very nineties style of artwork here that just makes me reminisce about the comics I use to read when I was a teenager. It works. It doesn’t provide too much detail, allowing your imagination to fill in the gaps. The second artist, Cassara, works on the mini story. It is a different style to the main body but one that I equally love. It reminds me so much of Dan Dare from the original Eagle issues in the 1950s (you’ve got to love the classics). It works incredibly well and I’d love to see him do more artwork with more range.
Shadow Squadron are good. The Admiral says they are, and they hold their own against a horde of TIE fighters. Yet push comes to shove, and they surrender as they can’t cope with the numbers. In a word, perfect. The squadron are good, they are flying TIE interceptors, so should be able to outpace ordinary fighters. But there is still realism. Their flying abilities may save them for a short time, but it doesn’t mean they are invincible. Too easy is it for writers to make their heroes god-like. Houser does not fall into that trap. These fighter are realistic, and are better for it.
Houser also doesn’t take the easy route by making the enemy Rebels. Instead they are rogue Imperials. It works so well. With the reveal last issue, I presume that Rebels will appear in some shape and form, but at the moment, we get to see a different side to the Empire. They breed soldiers who want power. Yet there are those out there thinking about their long term futures and where they will be when they finally hang up their boots. It’s fascinating to read.
My only complaint would be I would like more dogfights. However, at five issues, this series is very (perhaps too) short and Houser has a lot to fit in. With such great story telling, one can be forgiven for not having it all action. I’m sure we shall see plenty in the other issues.
The extra story at the end is perhaps my favourite part of these comics. I feel like I’m watching Lost, with flashbacks. I love the link to Imperial Cadet, which I thought was a great series (and over too soon as well). Although it’s at the end, I feel like we get something crucial from them each time. With five issues and five pilots, I can only assume that each one will be a different pilot. And like Lost I’m expecting some reveals, perhaps the biggest reveals to be in these parts. I can’t help thinking what the one in the last issue could be. Knowing how Houser so far, I imagine it’ll be unforgettable.
Last review, I said to take note of what I’m referencing, I can’t help but take stock again: Lost, Dan Dare, Rogue Squadron. This series is seemingly drawing on some of the very best of culture and meshing it together in an incredible way. The way this comic looks, the way it is structured, the way it is written, there is something very special and unique here. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I know it is. This has very quickly become one of my favourite series, not just of the month, but from the whole catalogue that Marvel have released. Although this is from the point of view of the Empire, this couldn’t feel more like Star Wars. If Alphabet Squadron is half as good as this, then I can’t wait. Until then, if you haven’t given TIE Fighter a go, well, you do yourself a huge disfavour…
Star Wars: TIE Fighter is a five part series available from Marvel. This issue is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.