Star Wars: Agent Of The Empire – Iron Eclipse #4 and #5
Written by John Ostrander
Pencils by StÃ©phane Roux and StÃ©phane CrÃ©ty
Inks by Julien Hugonnard-Bert
Colors by Wez Dzioba
Cover Art by StÃ©phane Roux
Dark Horse Comics
Issue #4 Release Date: March 14, 2012
Issue #5 Release Date: April 11, 2012
Issue #4 Cover Price: $3.50
Issue #5 Cover Price: $3.50
The conclusion to Agent of the Empire has arrived, and delivers superbly. With some minor appearances from a couple of familiar characters, and the main protagonist Jahan Cross fulfilling his role as a version of 007 in that galaxy far, far away, Agent Of The Empire – Iron Eclipse is a tale worth Star Wars fans spending some attention on.
In the long chronicle of the Expanded Star Wars Universe, a majority of the stories have often been about the “heroes” we’ve known fighting some “new threat” or “new villains.” In Agent of the Empire, we have a fine example of what the contemporary creative talents driving the EU works are trying to achieve – mixing up known loved genres with the Star Wars galaxy as a backdrop.
In the case of Agent of the Empire, we have an spy drama, with Jahan Cross taking on cases for Imperial Intelligence. The action sequences are all Star Wars in style, but mixed gloriously with the action of The Bourne Identity and Mission: Impossible. The obvious resemblance is James Bond, and that does ring through the story strongly.
In the closing issues of Agent Of The Empire, Cross joins forces with Elli Stark, as the two try to uncover what the Stark family has planned with the mysterious project known as the Iron Eclipse. With the assistance of Han Solo and Chewbacca in the shape of transportation to the Eclipse, located above the planet Reltooine, Cross and Stark discover a resurrected and adapted plot coined by an evil once believed to be dead.
The script of both final issues are up to the standard you would expect in Star Wars comics, with John Ostrander paying close attention to developing the character traits and personality style of Cross. We experience some back story into Cross’ encounters during the Battle Of Coruscant (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith), but just as importantly, we discover his strong loyalty to the Empire. He is vocal about this, but with some of the hinted concerns raised by the character in previous issues, I get the sense we’re going to be on a really interesting journey with this dude.
Ostrander also presents a lot more exposition in these issues, in the form of dialogue – something that is awfully tricky to deliver in any form of writing. While necessary – especially for the “whodunit” part of the climax – Ostrander handles these deliveries faultlessly, in a manner that does not detract from the overall writing quality. This is an excellent accomplishment, and I cannot stress to readers how much of an important aspect of the story this is.
The art has a detour in Issue #4, with the penciling competently completed by StÃ©phane CrÃ©ty, filling in for StÃ©phane Roux who resumes work in the final issue. The change is noticeable in Issue #4, but allows a slightly different perspective for readers. Julien Hugonnard-Bert and Wez Dzioba round out the art with inks and colors respectively, and continue to bring the expected goodness they have brilliantly achieved with the previous issues. The artwork during the major climax is absolutely absorbing, with much attention given to the planetary coloring, and intense development on the manifestation of our “surprise” villain. As to who that villain is – I will not give it away, but I will say that it is a name that Expanded Universe fans are familiar with.
I have sung the praises of Agent Of The Empire in my previous reviews, and in the concluding issues I continue to do so. I have no major criticisms of the story, and the delivery is of an excellent standard. This is a series that warrants much more attention, and I am looking forward to seeing further developments involving Jahan Cross.
Agent Of The Empire – Iron Eclipse is a comic series well worth reading. Star Wars fans will appreciate it – and the Expanded Universe fans will consider it extremely high quality. I believe casual fans and casual comic book readers will also find it of interest, as it is a unique concept never before addressed in the Star Wars galaxy. Add this one to your must-read list.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5