Written by Charles Soule, Greg Pak,
Simon Spurrier, Ethan Sacks
Art by Casper Wijngaard, Luke Ross,
Roland Boschi, Paolo Villanelli
Published by Marvel Comics
Empire Ascendant is four short stories that preview the slate of upcoming Star Wars comic books to debut next year. The previous titles occurred between Episode IV and V, while the new accounts will lead up to Return of the Jedi.
Unfortunately, most of these tales have no time to breathe and use peripheral characters to hype the coming attractions. Two Imperial officers attempting to locate the new rebel base failed to create any hype for what the third iteration of the Darth Vader series will be.
Vader shows up on the last page as the mustache-twirling villain.
Poe Dameron’s parents get trapped in a cave on Hoth and rescued by Luke Skywalker. Digging them out could have jeopardized the base, but that won’t stop our heroes from helping them.
It was a sweet message about the value of human life, but that’s it — nothing about what to expect in the new series.
The same thing also goes for Doctor Aphra. Her friends have joined the rebellion and reminisce about their friend. Still, no real taste of what’s to come in April 2020.
Former Imperial loyalist turned cyborg bounty hunter Beilert Valance, the breakout character of the recently concluded Target Vader miniseries worked perfectly here. Valance had to smuggle a rebel operative, and the tension throughout the story made the twist even more enjoyable, and the expressive artwork was spot on.
Overall, this collaborative effort is a personal pan pizza with only one tasty slice. More pages could have fleshed out things out more.