Star Wars: TIE Fighter #1 // Review
The new partnership between Marvel and Disney has resulted in a lot of fantastic comics for one property in particular: Star Wars. While the other family-friendly properties are farmed out to IDW and Boom Comics, Star Wars has basically become an in-house production. However, Disney has also been working with traditional Star Wars book publisher Del Rey to continue expanding the new canon of Star Wars. While the two are written mediums, the closest that any crossover has happened was when Dark Horse made comic adaptations of some novels back in the 1990s.
Until now, with Star Wars: Tie Fighter.
Jody Houser writes the story, while Roge Antonio and Michael Dowling share art duties. Arif Prianto and Lee Loughridge share coloring duties on this book, and Joe Caramagna letters the book.
The story focuses on a team of elite TIE Fighter pilots known as Shadow Wing. Fresh off a victory against the Rebellion after the events of The Empire Strikes Back, the team does their best to decompress while on the way to their next assignment: Aiding in the rescue of a disabled Star Destroyer. However, the threat of the Rebels lurks on the horizon.
Jody Houser has some excellent ideas here. Not only do most of the TIE Fighters feel relatively sympathetic, but the characters actually feel like they belong in the Star Wars universe. Flight Officer Ganem Kahi has sympathies to some of the Rebellion’s complaints about the Empire, while Commander Teso Broosh opens up about his regrets over losing troops with one of his subordinates over a drink. While a lot of the cast are also stereotypes we’ve seen in a lot of war movies, it really works well with Star Wars. There are a lot of pleasant character moments, which help make sure the reader cares about the cast before the cliffhanger ending throws them into danger.
The art is delightful for Tie Fighter as well. Each character has a distinct face that looks like they come right from the background of Star Wars, and facial expressions are on-point with this issue. Backgrounds and environments also look fantastic, with some lovely detailing on the TIE Fighters themselves. In fact, the only real complaint comes from the source material. TIE Fighter Pilots all wear the same uniforms and even the same face-concealing helmets. While it’s unlikely the Empire’s elite would show their faces all the time, even a splash of color matched on their uniform would help identify characters for the reader far easier.
Star Wars: Tie Fighter, also titled The Shadow Falls, is one part of a story. Obviously, this one focuses on the side of the Empire. The upcoming Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron, scheduled for a June 4th release, will cover the Rebellion’s half of the story. While the comic seems to stand alone on its own, Marvel and Disney did see fit to toss in a preview chapter for the reader. While the tale should make Star Wars fans happy with the other side of the conflict receiving focus, casual fans may want to wait for a collection to put on their bookshelf instead.