Written by John Ostrander
Art by Stephane Roux
“The name is Cross. Jahan Cross. I’ll take my Blue Milk shaken, not stirred.”
Jahan Cross is an intelligence officer for the Empire, going undercover to thwart threats to the security of Palpatine’s rule. After all, not every situation requires Vader force choking someone (just most of them). This time, Jahan’s mission takes him into the heart of the Corporate Sector to learn about a mysterious “Iron Eclipse” project that may bring harm to the Empire.
Jahan is supposed to be the James Bond of the Star Wars universe, a government agent working to ensure the security and safety of the Empire, just not the British one. And that’s just what he is. Ostrander simply put a Star Wars skin over a by-the-numbers Bond story. The issue starts with Jahan wrapping up a mission of corporate espionage, which then unfolds into to the current underlying threat to the Empire. Following a meeting with his “M” supervisor and a trip to space “Q” – complete with exploding gadgets – Jahan Bond is off on his next assignment.
Because of this, the story feels stale as soon as you start, reminiscent of a fan cross fiction between those two franchises.
The book hits the breaks for some drawn out narrated exposition about a deceased industrialist named Iaco Stark, who seems to be involved with the sinister anti-imperial plot at hand. First off, really? Stark? There are better, more original ways to pay Iron Man homage. Anyway, while this back story will likely come into play in the following issues, the narration from Jahan and his boss draw out a forced conversation into something that could have been introduced more naturally to the reader.
Original trilogy fans will be glad to see a familiar face or two – the original space badasses Han Solo and Chewbacca. Han and Jahan have history as Imperial Academy students. Han is in classic form, escaping from some thugs that disagree with his beating them gambling.
This story reminds me of a Star Wars role playing game I played with some friends once. In one way, it’s dealing with the corporate underbelly of the Star Wars universe, which can be interesting and unique. In another, it feels like fans inserting their own hero characters into the universe just for that sake alone. Still, it’s hard to argue with more Han.
For the most part, the book looks nice. The characters and settings are well designed and look like they fit within the Star Wars universe. The technology especially. Han and Chewie translate well into this art style. The police sergeant is a bit too “terrestrial” for my tastes though, with a ragged brown coat and fedora looking like a generic Earth detective.
When you stare long enough, you start to see the awkwardness in some of the characters. Unnaturally slanted shoulders and oddly scrawny and distorted arms pop up throughout the book, but for the most part, it’s not problematic.
The real thing that hurts this book is that it really just feels like a James Bond fan fic in the Star Wars universe. This is the first issue, and it may break from that mold in later issues. Until then, it is what it is.
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10