Star Wars: Hidden Empire #1 Review

Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Steven Cummings, Victor Olazaba and GURU-eFX
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99
Release Date: November 16th, 2022

Star Wars: Hidden Empire #1 continues the story of Lady Qi’ra and her criminal empire Crimson Dawn, operating during the Age of Rebellion.  She continues her vendetta against Darth Sidious (AKA the Emperor), determined to destroy him using his own mastery of the Dark Side of the Force against him, with the help of the Knights of Ren and Madelin Sun, Qi’ra’s right-hand, who’s force sensitive and well-versed in ancient Jedi relics.   It’s a thrilling first issue with a harrowing space battle, a standoff with the Emperor and a desperate gambit with an ancient artifact embued with Dark Side Force energy.

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Star Wars: Hidden Empire #1 Review.

The Story

Lady Qi’ra has become one of the most interesting characters in the Star Wars universe.  She’s as tough (maybe tougher) than Princess Leia, and masterfully runs her interstellar criminal organization while simultaneously gunning for the Emperor. Star Wars: Hidden Empire #1 takes her story to the next level, as Qi’ra amps up her assault on the Emperor and the Empire, activating  her sleeper agents across the galaxy to wreak havoc with the Empire’s operations and put the Emperor on the defensive.  She’s no longer happy with working below the radar, she wants the Emperor to know all about her and she wants him to see her smirk as she decimates him.

It’s a knuckle biter of an issue, as Madelin experiments with an ancient artifact called The Fermata Cage, which dates back several centuries and can harness the power of the Dark Side of the Force.  Qi’ra is using it as a Hail Mary type weapon against the Emperor, but neither she nor Madelin really know what it can do. Shortly into the issue, the Emperor shows up with two Star Destroyers, having found Qi’ra’s location, and that’s when things truly get frantic.

We get to see the true extent of Qi’ra’s courage and strategic brilliance throughout the issue.  She and Madelin have a great working relationship and I love how calm both are under the most extreme pressure.  The Knights of Ren, on the other hand, are very much like Kylo Ren himself, very irritable and impulsive.  It’s great to see them in action, but they’re even more annoying than Kylo! Like the best moments of Star Wars, there’s a perfect synthesis of science fiction and mysticism at the climax of the issue and the ending leaves the reader wanting more.

The Art

Star Wars: Hidden Empire #1 features the art of Steven Cummings, who has become one of my favorite artists.  He worked on the Crimson Reign mini-series (which was the lead-in to this series) and I was happy to see he’d be working on this book too.
His art is very similar to the work of George Perez, specifically the “New Teen Titans”-era George Perez.   The characters are all drawn with wonderfully great detail and the futuristic vessels and weapons are drawn with the same exacting eye. I hope Cummings stays in the Star Wars universe a while, but if he moved on to work on one of Marvel’s superhero properties, that would be fantastic too, he’d elevate any book he worked on.

Final Thoughts

Star Wars: Hidden Empire #1 continues Lady Qi’ra’s story in grand fashion, amping up the action and taking Qi’ra’s vendetta against the Emperor to a grander scale.  It’s a tense action-packed issue and Lady Qi’ra continues to be one of the greatest characters in the Star Wars universe.


Leave a Reply