Double dose of Star Wars comics this week! Let’s start off with the final issue of the inaugural run of John Ostrander’s Agent of the Empire.
The story of Jahan Cross, Imperial super spy, wraps up in part five of the ‘Iron Eclipse’ arc of Agent of the Empire. When we last saw Cross, he and Elli Stark have discovered what her brother Iaclyn was up to, on their late father’s orbital station: a droid virus designed to hijack the galaxy’s mechanicals — and Elli’s father: not dead, but grafted onto a spider droid body. And Cross’ companion, IN-GA 44, has been reprogrammed by the other side.
Like most Bond-esque stories, the villain thinks he has control of the situation, and thus explains his plot for galactic domination, and then gets outsmarted and thwarted, stuff blows up, the agent gets the girl, and a hard decision has to be made, and Han Solo swoops in for the pick-up. Ok, the last bit hasn’t quite happened in a Bond film. Ostrander hits the formula right, and has some parts that bump it up a notch: Cross comes up a clever way to redirect IN-GA’s programming, and later turns on Iaco’s weakness.
Plenty of action here, cutting back and forth between the main characters. IN-GA gets some big action scenes, eventually going hand-to-hand against her enemies. I’m not quite grooving on Elli’s bellbottom pants, but hey, Star Wars does have its roots in the seventies. One of Stéphane Roux’s more interesting panels shows a cross section of action inside the Millennium Falcon while there’s someone on the top. Elli and Jahan get some good moods as the Eclipse station goes up in flames – although I think the most telling scene (and my favorite) for Jahan Cross is a cut away to focus on Elli listening in on his communications. With the switch in artists to Stéphane Créty for the middle part of the story arc, I first felt that the first transition in art was pretty seamless, but this time, I think I was used to Crety’s depiction of Cross and Elli Stark and felt that Jahan wasn’t quite the same looking in this final issue.
A good, if a little formulaic, ending for series that has made itself a hit in my book. While Cross’ storyline wrapped up, I do wish they give a little coda to the detective back in Corporate Space, although perhaps we haven’t seen the end of Sgt. Myrsk. And who knows, perhaps some one else might return as well… further down the line in Agent of the Empire.