Issue: Star Wars: Agents of the Empire – Iron Eclipse #1
Writer/Artist: John Ostrander, Stephané Roux
Inks/Colors: Julian Hugonnard-Bert, Wes Dzioba
Publisher: Dark Horse
If you’ve ever wanted a little bit of James Bond in your Star Wars, well, you got it. In Dark Horse’s latest Star Wars series, Agents of the Empire, spies employed by the Galactic Empire protect the peace by any means necessary. When diplomacy breaks down and military might is just a little too excessive, the Empire sends its agents of the Intelligence Service. Jahan Cross is one of those agents; armed with the best gadgets the Empire can provide, Agent Cross must stop an Imperial traitor from selling battle droids on the black market.
If you’ve seen any of the older James Bond movies (pre-Daniel Craig), or read any of the novels, you’ll probably be more than a little familiar with how Agents is presented. Seriously, everything that’s in the 007 universe is found in this first issue. Jahan Cross is obviously the James Bond character; Armand Isard, the head of Imperial Intelligence (+10 points to your nerd cred if you know who his daughter is), in the “M” role; and we have not one, but two “Q” archetypes: Alessi Quon of the Experi-Tech office and Royd Pew who heads Intelligence’s tech section. Haven’t run across a “Moneypenny”-like character, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I do.
Writer John Ostrander (Star Wars: Legacy) has a bit of a tall order in front of him. The premise of this series sounds a lot like fanfiction: take everyone’s favorite British secret agent, change his name, and toss him into that galaxy far, far away. The success of this series, I think, rests on Jahan Cross — more specifically, how likable he’s going to be. Being an Imperial agent, the audience that would read this is already predisposed to dislike him, and I can’t see any story succeeding if the reader just doesn’t care for, or worse, hates the protagonist. Aside from that, Cross is kind of boring. But then again, this is only the first issue, and I’m assuming Ostrander will delve more into Cross’s backstory eventually.
The art by Stephané Roux (Zatanna), Julien Hugonnard-Bert, and Wes Dzioba is pretty good. The action is easy to follow and the characters don’t get lost in the background thanks to some heavy black lining around the characters. Also, each location in this issue has a distinct look and feel to it, which certainly helps the story.
I’m a little skeptical of this series, simply because the premise really isn’t all that original. I can’t help but overstate that this is literally James Bond in space — Moonraker notwithstanding. Still, everybody loves Bond and everybody loves Star Wars, so maybe the two combined could make for some interesting stories.