Writer: Jody Houser
Artists: Rogê Antônio, Michael Dowling
Colorists: Arif Prianto, Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Giueseppe Camuncoli, Elia Bonetti
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Right after the Battle of Hoth, the 204th TIE Fighter squadron — aka Shadow Wing — is given a new assignment. While this squadron is known for its ability to strike fast and eliminate enemy forces, they are now assigned to escort a crippled Star Destroyer before the Rebels get a chance to lay their hands on the disabled starship. Meanwhile, we see that one of the squadron might be hiding dual loyalties. Will they make it to the Star Destroyer in time, and more importantly, will their bonds be tested?
As announced back in January, this comic acts as TIE-in (heh, see what I did there?) to the upcoming novel Alphabet Squadron written by Alexander Freed. While that novel will focus on Rebel pilots, this comic — as you could probably gather from the name — focuses on a small squad of TIE Fighter pilots. Also, this is not to be confused with the 1994 video game that also takes place after the Battle of Hoth.
While most audiences are captivated by the grandeur that is the Skywalker family drama, stories like these offer a unique and much-needed perspective to the Star Wars universe (see: Rogue One). Houser does a great job taking us down to the “little guy” in the Imperial machine and gives them a face and a voice that we otherwise might not see behind those bug-eyed TIE pilot helmets. I particularly found Ganem to be a compelling character in that he really does appear to have noble intentions in this fight. He believes the Republic is still alive, and he fights for the unity of planets. It’s a jolting reminder that perhaps not everyone in the Galactic Empire is necessarily evil.
Without spoiling too much, the second half of the story and the snippet we get from Alphabet Squadron show us there are some in this company of TIE pilots who have seen enough and do believe the Imperials are on the wrong side of history. That lights a fuse on a powderkeg that appears ready to blow in subsequent issues.
The art and coloring team do a tremendous job taking us back into the Star Wars universe, while giving it their own unique flair. I loved the sharp, angular lines and the bright (when they had to be) and subtle (when they had to be) colors so much that it almost distracted me from the story. I don’t know how Houser always manages to find terrific artists for her Star Wars projects, but she does it. Also, I would totally buy this book just for the cover art.
Star Wars: TIE Fighter promises to be an engaging mini-series that makes us face the fact that maybe those TIE pilots aren’t so different from us. This first issue presents a lot of high-stakes drama that I can’t wait to see unfold in the next issue.