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Star Wars: Hidden Empire #2 Review

4 min read

“The Dawn Fleet”

Creative Staff:
Story: Charles Soule
Art: Steven Cummings, Victor Olazaba
Colors: GUIRU-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

What They Say:
The plans of Lady Qi’ra to use an ancient Dark Side weapon known as the Fermata Cage to destroy the Sith are falling apart, and she has lost many of her primary resources and allies, with Darth Vader drawing ever nearer. Can she salvage victory from certain defeat?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening installment was a bit of a hard read as a case of trying to get a lot accomplished quickly and catching people up that may have missed elements from some of the books. It’s also a point where it all just feels like a bit too much, which didn’t make this a high-priority book for me to keep up with. Charles Soule is one of my favorite Star Wars writers but this is just hard stuff at times to deal with because it’s operating at a compressed rate right out of the gate. It’s stacked with things and dialogue but at the same time doesn’t feel like it accomplished much. Steven Cummings and Victor Olazaba have done a good bit of Star Wars in the past so a lot of this looks good but there are a lot of areas where it also has a kind of basic look, especially some of the Imperial ships, and that just gives it a lighter and almost rushed look. And with a sizable cast of characters to it, there’s a lot to get in there and it just doesn’t feel as cohesive.

The second issue is one that plays out a bit better overall but that’s just because it’s doing less catching up for readers. Qi’ra has planned for this for a long time and she’s built up some sizeable reserves in order to deal with what’s coming. We see her getting to her “safe house” where there’s a good-sized fleet hidden away and personnel for it but it’s nothing against the Empire. But as she points out to the group that’s with her – who are all trying to figure out why she’s so calm amid so much chaos and the seeming end of Crimson Dawn – she’s not fighting the Empire. It’s all about the Sith for her that she needs to destroy and that is her only focus. We get clues as to how she intends to do so along the way that are interesting to see if they’ll amount to anything but she’s mostly spending this installment patiently waiting for pieces to fall into place.

Beyond Qi’ra, we get to catch up on a few areas. The Archivist and Kho are tasked with getting the Fermata Cage figured out as they’re told that Qi’ra informed the Emperor about it and this just leaves me in a weird place. I’m still iffy at times about how they present “dark side tech” because there are varying beliefs about how the Force itself works, but what we get here is a device that definitely is powerful enough to draw attention across the galaxy. So when they do activate it, we see not just Vader and Palpatine but also Luke and Yoda being aware of it. It makes me wish they slid in a few other characters that do exist at this point as well, including Leia. There’s some good stuff between Vader and Palpatine about the Cage and what it represents, and its origins, which adds a little more color to things but it all comes down to Vader being the hunting dog and getting to where the Cage is.

In Summary:
I’m really not sure what to make of this series yet and it’s likely not until we see the fallout from it that we’ll be able to judge it. I really liked the idea behind Qi’ra and Crimson Dawn when it was first introduced but the whole crossover we had with her and the auction reduced a lot of my interest as it was all just too public and not terribly engaging. I get why her fight as it is and why it’s public as it is, but it’s not clicking well at this point. This issue smooths out parts of it for it to move forward but it’s still playing in such a big way that it’s feeling disruptive to events overall – even though I know it’s not. There’s so much crammed into this period at this point that it’s making me leery of everything happening. Plus, I still dislike Kho a lot so seeing their goofy self here getting involved in the Fermata Cage over a cloak just rubs me the wrong way.

Grade: B-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 7th, 2022
MSRP: $4.99