Even when I catch up with a series in collected from, I’ll usually cover each issue one by one so you can see, dear reader, how my thoughts and feelings towards a given comic’s run may change as it progresses.
Though I was going to do the same with Marvel’s TIE Fighter mini-series (and indeed, had started that, with my review of issue one), by the end I was just left so disappointed that I couldn’t face going over each issue one by one to highlight what I did – or, most commonly, didn’t – like about it.
So here we have a tale told from the point of view of an elite Empire aerial squadron: Shadow Wing. The diverse team are a mixed bag of personalities but they’re all pretty much committed to getting the job done – in other words, unquestioningly blasting Rebel scum out of existence.
There’s some really interesting rumblings of potential dissent in the first issue – and we’re promised with a cover blurb and a full variant cover, that it’s also going to cross over (or should that be, TIE in? Sorry, not sorry) with the Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron novels.
The problem with both the potential dissent/defection angle and the crossover is that they’re teased, but don’t happen. It feels in both cases like a huge missed opportunity, especially when it comes to the fact that any questions of loyalty to the Empire in the face of the (admittedly, off screen) atrocities they carry out would have added some nuance to the characters.
It ends up being really bland and uneventful despite plenty of action sequences. Though losses are suffered, due to the fairly thin characterisation and the fact that these really are the bad guys, the reader is left shrugging their shoulders.
Who cares, right?
Another problem is that the main story in each issue is followed with a back up strip that looks to add depth to each character.
While this works to some extent, it kills the momentum of the main story and again, falls into the trap that the real world press have succumbed to in recent years in humanising despicable people (remember the ‘hey, thks Nazi guy just goes grocery shopping and everything like a regular dude’ news article from a few years back – yeah, it feels like that, just in space).
Perhaps that’s me missing the point or taking things far too seriously. Yet the missed opportunities paired with the attempts at humanisation with no real justification really didn’t sit well with me.
Oh, and the ending sucked. It rushes towards a complete non-conclusion with a question mark over the end.
Should TIE Fighter continue, I won’t be back for more.
Fun fact: I once beat a so-called Star Wars expert at school in a Star Wars trivia quiz, by knowing that TIE stood for Twin Ion Engine. He accused me of making the answer up. Yes, I’ve always been a geek.
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