Star Wars: TIE Fighter #1 Review

When I first saw Star Wars: A New Hope the thing that stuck with me more than anything was the climactic battle above the Death Star.  Ever since I have been in love with the Rebels’ X-Wings and their deadly Imperial counterparts, TIE Fighters.  The two classic PC space simulators X-Wing and TIE Fighter, further cemented that for me and many more fans.  We got a brief glimpse into the world of TIE pilots in 2017’s Inferno Squad novel, but there hasn’t been much exploration of them since.  Indeed, there are plenty of indications that Disney and Marvel don’t give much more thought to TIE pilots and ships than the Empire does (despite the title “TIE Fighter” the squadron is flying TIE Interceptors, and this isn’t the first time official material has mixed them up).  So it was a pleasant surprise when the Star Wars: TIE Fighter comic mini-series was announced.

The comic leads off with exactly what you would expect: a space duel with our protagonists finishing off a cell of rebel starfighters.  The book then shifts into introducing the various members of the TIE flight and their relationships.  There are a lot of names thrown at the reader quickly, and even though I read the book just a bit ago I would be hard pressed to put names to faces — with the exception of Dree, who also appeared in Star Wars: Han Solo – Imperial Cadet.  That said, it is clearly a diverse cast and it will probably flow better when the whole series is read at once.

The story unfortunately immediately veers away from telling a tale from the Imperial viewpoint and starts digging into which pilots have sympathies for the rebellion.  The same bait-and-switch hampered the story of Star Wars: Battlefront 2, and it is annoying to see it crop up yet again.  It is certainly hard to tell a story from the Imperial perspective given that they are without question the bad guys of Star Wars, but there have to be more options than this.  Even last week’s Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Grand Moff Tarkin had a bit more subtlety to it.  In that comic a few of the Death Star gunners were shown to hesitate before firing the ship’s main cannon not because they sympathized with the rebellion, but because they were human and had qualms about what they were doing.  It makes them more interesting characters while still letting them be the bad guys.

Regardless of that Star Wars: TIE Fighter is off to an okay start.  There will clearly be a political divide between many of the pilots as the series progresses, and the tension in having to hide that will be interesting.  In the end it’s a little too early to tell from Star Wars: TIE Fighter #1 if the series will be worth investing in.  My recommendation at the moment is to wait for the series to end and read it as a collected edition, or try it on Marvel Unlimited if you have a subscription to that.  If you, like me, were a fan of the old X-Wing games back in the day then I would strengthen my recommendation a bit, although I still caution to perhaps wait and see how the next issue goes.

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