On His Imperial Majesty’s Secret Service: A Review of 'Star Wars: Agent of the Empire - Iron Eclipse'
Written by Robert J. Baden, Fanboy Comics Contributor
Thursday, 25 October 2012 05:08
He believes in the order that the Empire has brought to the galaxy and kills to protect it in the name of his Emperor. Moving around under the cloak of being a diplomatic envoy, he defends against those who seek to disrupt the ideals that Palpatine and his chief lieutenants have implemented throughout known space. He’s often described as a rogue element, going against the wishes of his superior in order to mete out justice against those who oppose his sense of duty and fulfillment. He is Jahan Cross, agent of the Empire, and someone you don’t want to cross.
Summary (Covering all 5 issues)
Jahan Cross investigates some irregularities at an Imperial weapons factory, the results of which prompt him to head to the Corporate Sector to track down the offspring of Iaco Stark. While looking into the Starks, Cross has a run-in with the crew of the Millennium Falcon, remembering Solo from their days together at the Imperial Academy, though they don’t seem overly happy to see one another. After asking some very sensitive questions, however, Cross is seen as a liability, and one of the Starks sets him up as the fall guy for a murder. Cross escapes the authorities with ease and hires Solo to take him to the Eclipse, an orbital spa owned by the Starks; upon arrival, Cross finds out that Iaco Stark is still alive, as a cyborg, and plans to spread a virus through all of the droids in the galaxy. With some effort and assistance from Solo and his droid companion, Cross takes out the Eclipse, escapes, and gets the girl in the end.
When I first picked up this series, from the very first page I felt as though I was reading a Star Wars version of a James Bond plot. A secret agent pretending to be something else while he investigates matters of galactic security, alerting the bad guys to his intentions in a very coy fashion and seducing a woman of interest who ends up helping the main character in his mission. Even the name of Jahan’s companion droid, IN-GA (pronounced Inga), sounds like it comes from the old Cold War era. Coruscant’s Imperial Intelligence even seems as though there’s a “Q-Branch” alternative, allowing for Cross to have toys that one wouldn’t find in normal Imperial service. I actually had to look to see if there was a “License to Kill” marking on the comic to make sure it wasn’t really 007.
The inclusion of Han Solo and Chewbacca is also a plus, as well as their connection to Cross from when they were both in the academy. Not much is fully explained about Solo’s time in the academy, so it is always good to know what the galaxy’s favorite scoundrel did while flying the Imperial colors. Their appearance was also done in such a way that they didn’t steal the show from Cross, allowing him to keep being the star of the series—a lot of series that bring in “special appearances” from the major main characters have a hard time doing that.
I also enjoy how it brought together a very minor pervious event—the Stark Hyperspace War—and the fact that it had lasting repercussions decades later. Even though Stark himself was a bit creepy, it was good to see a solution to the question of what happened to him following the war.
There aren’t many bad things I’ve observed about the series, except for the fact that Cross seems to be very cavalier in his relations with women. Even though it does seem to be in keeping with the secret agent motif, I am a little disturbed by how easy he is willing to use the affections of women to get what he wants. He clearly believes in what he’s doing for his government, yet it just seems to me as though it was unnecessary.
Given the fact that the first issue of the second story of this series is currently on the shelves, there’s obviously going to be more stories involving Jahan Cross and his actions for the Imperial government. Will he keep his new girl, making her a regular part of his operations, or is he going to end up with another woman on his next mission? And, will he ever go up against the beginnings of the Rebellion? I’m also very curious to find out if he ever meets Ysanne Isard and how her cold, calculating manipulations will play with his sense of duty to the Empire.