X-Wing: Rogue Leader #3 (of 3)
Story: Haden Blackman
Art: Tomás Giorello
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Gary Erskine
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/28/2006)
The Rogues manage to track down General Weir to the planet Tralus in the Corellian system, but not in time to save their fried Ten Numb. The General quickly orders an evacuation, but his TIE Interceptor is taken down by Wedge who was flying a stolen TIE Fighter. Wedge brings the general to justice on Sullust, and rejoins the Alliance fleet along with the rest of Rogue Squadron to prepare for their next mission.
At one to two weeks after the Battle of Endor, this bridges the gap between The Truce at Bakura (assuming the novel happened within that one week) and the first issue of X-Wing Rogue Squadron. By doing so, it appears to bring the X-Wing Rogue Squadron series up in the timeline, and to not leave room for the post-Return of the Jedi issues of the Marvel series (#81-107). Now for those who think that the old Marvel series is "non-cannon" I would refer them to page 130 of The New Essential Chronology that was released last month.
That same book also reminds us that the Rebellion was renamed the Alliance of Free Planets after the destruction of the second Death Star, and the New Republic didn't exist until one month later. So the fact that X-Wing Rogue Squadron #1 mentions the Republic means that there is at least a two week gap between it and this issue, more than enough to fit the Marvel stories. But the problem is Admiral Ackbar mentions that they will meet up with a convoy "in a few hours," which is of course the fake convoy en route to Mrlsst that opens the first issue of X-Wing Rogue Squadron. Well maybe something else must have come up to delay the convoy, or maybe they are talking about a different convoy (Cilpar or Mrlsst are not mentionned). The important thing is that if you read Rogue Leader and then X-Wing Rogue Squadron in sequence, it appears seemless. But for us nitpicking fans there has to be some room left to fit everything together.
Now that the time placement is taken care of, let's move on to the story. Not surprisingly, this issue ends right before X-Wing Rogue Squadron #1 ("The Rebel Opposition" story arc) when Wedge meets up with his new wingmates, all the stars of the older series such as Plourr Ilo, Ibitsam, Wedge would select some of them for specific missions. I envisioned more Rogue Squadron as always staying together, and when one member is taken out they would recruit a new one, not having a "pool" of pilots right from the start and choose specific pilots for a mission.
The senseless torture and death of Ten Numb is explained away by the fact that Weir is "quite sadistic." Weir (sans helmet) doesn't even seem that susprised when the Rogues show up at his base, nor should he be given the fact that he didn't do a good job of hiding his tracks. When he left Corellia he thought maybe if he went to the next world in the system he would be safe... By the way he is taken down, Weir doesn't come off as a smart villain. Maybe it's the reason why he was the first one to be taken down.
This issue is a little better than the last one, but still the series overall is a major disappointment. It is too simple a story, lacking the character and story developments that we've seen in Stackpole's contributions. I've certainly come to expect better from Blackman, who wrote great series such as Jango Fett: Open Seasons (as well as the Jango Fett video game) and some Clone Wars issues of Republic. This series feels way too much like it's been written as an intro to an upcoming trade paperback of the "The Rebel Opposition" (which in fact has been announced as Star Wars Omnibus Volume 1: X-Wing Rogue Squadron). That being said, there are a couple of interesting moments in this issue. There is a dialogue between Luke and Wedge where they reflect about using Star Destroyers which are symbols of fear and aggression. And the scene where the Rogues meet up with Lady Leyli and the Selonians and try to convince her that the Empire is dead is a bit engaging. But it doesn't save the series.
Now in this one, not only does Giorello's art look like Ken Steacy, sometimes it looks like Cam Kennedy (especially page 3). Maybe it's the coloring. I don't know, I would have liked better artwork for this series, but I guess it's on par with the quality of the story.
Doesn't bring much to the X-Wing storyline. Not much enjoyment either.
Rating: 6.5 / 10