Shattered Empire

So I’ve been meaning to get round to this for a long while now – issue four was delivered last month, after all! I was also hoping to do a small video review, as is my want with new Star Wars stuff lately, but I’ve been feeling under the weather of late, so I’m sticking to the written word instead. Now that this exciting preamble is out of the way…

Shattered Empire takes place both during and in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Endor, which is perhaps obvious given the cover of issue one. There are actually three distinct episodes in the miniseries, which follow the adventures of Lieutenant Shara Bey, a pilot from Green Squadron during the battle. First off, an Imperial garrison on the other side of Endor is destroyed; then, Shara flies Princess Leia to a diplomatic mission to Naboo that goes kinda wrong, and finally she flies Luke to an Imperial Research Facility to recover some Jedi artifacts.

here be spoilers!

Overall, I liked the story, but I felt it was a bit rushed in parts, possibly due to trying to cover too much. The Luke story in particular felt a bit tacked-on, really. In fact, the Luke story didn’t do the comic any favours overall, as it came across as being more in the realm of fan-fiction. Follow Shara Bey as she works alongside Han, Leia and Luke! Yeah, right. But putting that to the side, it wasn’t all that bad.

The Endor storyline continues with Han and his ground assault team (though no Judder Page, which is a bit sad). The team includes Shara’s husband, Kes Dameron. Folks who have been following the spoilers for Episode VII will know who their son is, then. So we’re treated to a bit of the backstory there. I won’t deny, even though I’m still currently less-than-enthused for the new film, it was kinda nice to have that sort of recognition.

The Naboo storyline was really interesting, but ultimately far too rushed for my liking. In fact, the end was such a fizzle that I feel it really damages the book. Leia is attempting diplomatic negotiations with the Queen of Naboo, Soruna, to support the Alliance in re-establishing the Senate. Just as Naboo throws their support behind it, the Empire attacks – by altering the weather. They have an Imperial Star Destroyer at their disposal, and they’re tasked with destroying the planet by the dead Emperor, so they drop satellites to mess with the weather, rather than just delivering an orbital bombardment. It’s Legends now, of course, but there’s a great scene in one of the New Jedi Order books – I think it’s Rebel Stand – where Wedge discusses these things, and the point is made that a Star Destroyer is capable of levelling a planet with ease. After all, it’s kind-of in the name… But anyway, Leia, Soruna and Shara head up to stop the Imperials (of course – three antique fighters against the Imperial war machine…) and Lando shows up to chase the Empire off while Soruna destroys the satellites.

The story had such a great set-up, but really ended with me in amused disbelief. Bantam were always criticised for having stories where the Empire shows up with a terrible new weapon but the Rebels always win in the end, often with ease, and here we have Marvel doing the exact same thing! The fact that this is tying into the new film seems to be leading a lot of folks to overlook at the actual story in and of itself, instead concentrating on ferreting out the hints of things to come. Hm.

I do like Naboo, though, and I really liked the fact that Leia could sense Darth Maul’s presence in the Theed hangar. That was cool. There’s also the start of what looks like the Imperial counter-propaganda against the Rebel victory at Endor with the launch of Operation: Cinder. The Emperor has tasked some select few to continue the war, quash the rebellion, and also destroy any links to his own history, it seems. Hence the attack on Naboo. That was interesting, and something I hope we see explored in more detail – like, say, the second Aftermath novel?

The Luke story was a bit weird. Shara pilots the shuttle for Luke (because he’s such a bad pilot apparently?) to an ISB facility to recover two trees that used to grow in the Jedi Temple. They recover them, and he gives her one. The comic ends with Shara and Kes planting the tree as they retire on their new home, Yavin IV. So…yeah… Force trees? Hm. I was kinda hoping for something else, but that’s just me.

Overall, it was a good comic, with a lot of interesting ideas and stuff. The fact that some of them seemed a bit weird seems to be par for the course with Marvel at the moment (I’m hoping to catch up with their ongoing series at some point here, as well). But hopefully some of these ideas won’t disappear, as there are some potentially interesting stories to be spun out!

Star Wars Shattered Empire

What do you think? Have you read the comic? Looking forward to the movie? Let me know in the comments!

Challenge accepted?

Hey everybody,
Today’s game day blog is only a little one, as I’m currently unwell (I have the week off work, so naturally). I’ve been trying to follow along with the 10 Games 10 Times challenge over on boardgamegeek, the idea being that, to counteract the cult of new that so often grows up around boardgames (though obviously, not exclusively!) people were challenging themselves to play ten games ten times in a year. I only found out about this in April, but it seemed kinda fun so set up my list, which you can see here.

I’m one of these people who is so often captivated by the new and the shiny, so thought it would be interesting to see if I could do it. On the face of it, sure! It’s playing games, how hard can it be? But then, not only have I picked some real monsters in there (Eldritch Horror, of course, needing an immense amount of space and the best part of an afternoon to play and enjoy thoroughly), but I’ve also not really taken account of other stuff, like moving on with my degree and so forth. Eight months might not be entirely possible!

I thought it would be easy – indeed, I purposefully put a load of solo-able games on there thinking I could play these things whenever I want, rather than each attempt becoming a production of getting people together. But as the end of the year approaches, I’m actually quite surprised at how difficult it has been! Sounds vaguely ridiculous to say it has been difficult to play games, but still! A lot of my time this year has been spent building and painting miniatures, which I’ve only recently begun to use for the purposes of gaming.

Of course, some were easy. I played seven games of Netrunner in one day during the summer tournament, so that was hardly difficult to achieve. Lord of the Rings is something of a go-to game for me, so similarly fairly easy to hit the ten. But some, while good games, I just don’t feel in the mood for. However, I’ve found myself so often in the mood for a game but first thinking about whether it’s on this list or not, and have also not played a game that I wanted to in favour of another, just because that other is on the list.

But all of this has gotten me thinking. I do love playing boardgames, but I’m one of these people who just prefers variety in my life. I don’t like the fact that I have so many games that are just languishing unplayed, but I feel that I have a decent-enough rotation going on that I’m not altogether seduced by this cult of the new. I’ve noticed that I’ve actually scaled back on the rate I buy games and expansions, preferring instead to have this core (albeit a very large core) of games that I keep returning to.

Has anyone else been taking part in the 2015 Challenge? How have you found it? Did you do any in previous years? Let me know in the comments!