The GeeksverseStar Wars: Agent Of The Empire: Iron Eclipse #1

Star Wars: Agent Of The Empire: Iron Eclipse #1
Published on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 by

Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Written by: John Ostrander
Penciled by: Stephane Roux
Inked by: Julien Hugonnard-Bert
Colored by: Wes Dzioba
Lettered by: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: A- Stephane Roux; B- Dave Wilkins
Assistant Editor: Freddye Lins
Editor: Randy Stradley

James Bond in the Star Wars universe. That’s basically how this series is billed and it’s true, and there are alot of parallels. Ostrander does a very good job with the two major aspects of this series.

The first is establishing a spy in the sci-fi universe of Star Wars. We’ve never heard of a James Bondian spy/agent that worked for the Empire. There is, of course, Mara Jade (the Emperor’s Hand) that we’ve seen in the Timothy Zahn novels (the best EU SW novels btw), but she’s a lone operative and not a secret agent so much as a personal weapon of the Emperors. Here Ostrander introduces us to a true Bond archetype character. Jahan Cross is smooth, skilled, intelligent. We haven’t seen him with the ladies yet, but that part is coming.

Ostrander does good in establishing Cross’ role. He doesn’t spy on the enemy so much as he spies on the Empire to keep them “honest”. This is established in the opening scene, where we see Cross on a standard mission. This part works better because it provides the lead-in into the assignment of this series. It’s not just a random encounter thrown into the book. Besides establishing what Cross does for the Empire, it also provides the start of the this mission.

A secret agent is not something I would have expected in the Star Wars universe, but Ostrander does a good job providing a reason for it and providing a good agent. Cross, and his role, doesn’t feel out of place.

The other aspect that Ostrander does well is establishing this brand new character into the Star Wars mythos. He does this by some well placed name drops. A chance encounter with Han Solo provides the means to connect Cross into the mythos. Soontir Fel, Isard. These are all names that are dropped to provide that connection. This could have easily have been independent/stand alone, and still have worked, but by providing some solid connections Ostrander firmly connects this, which helps the story.

The plot is interesting. Standard spyfare, but Ostrander does enough to spice it up. The parallel’s to James Bond are definately obvious, and meant to be. Cross has his own “Q”, someone that designs his equipment. It could have been heavy handed, but in this case it works pretty well having these obvious parallels.

The best thing that Ostrander does though is less noticable, but a much bigger part of the story. Typically whenever we’ve read/seen a story from the Imperial perspective, the new character starts off with some issues with the Empire that end up building over the course of the series and the character switchs sides.

Not so with Cross, at least not yet. Ostrander gives us a character that is firmly on the Imperial side. He even has the Empire’s anti-alien leanings. This is something that I really liked about this. Cross could still end up switching sides, but I hope he doesn’t, because it’s refreshing to see a character that firmly follows the Empire’s standing but isn’t a clearcut villian. There isn’t anything evil or bad about Cross. So far everything makes him out to be a pretty honorable person and a patriot of his “country”.

The art by Roux is very nice. The characters are well rendered, well defined. The backgrounds are nicely detailed. The layouts are very nice, actions flowing smoothly. Very good and solid work.

Star Wars: Agent Of The Empire: Iron Eclipse #1 receives
4.5 out of 5

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