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XWing X-Wing Rogue Squadron #25 [The Making of Baron Fel]
Story: Michael A Stackpole
Pencils: Steve Crespo
Colors: Dave Nestelle
Editor: Peet Janes

EnsViews Comic Review
Reviewed 12/05/97

Story
To undertake the creation of a detailed back story of a wonderfully deep Imperial character isn't just a task for George Lucas' prequel films... it's also the challenge for Michael Stackpole. It's a good thing he had twice as many pages to do it.

Baron Fel shines beside Mara Jade and Thrawn as one of the best non-movie SW characters created. On the whole, this back story is worthy of the strong character. The events, ideals, tactics, motivation and twists of fate make a very believable history for this man of honor... and it's an entertaining read to boot.

Where the writing breaks down is not with the story, but with the overuse of cameos. (I sometimes wonder if these are writing or marketing decisions.) There is unquestionably a place for film character appearances in any SW comic.. they can serve not only to tie new characters and scenarios more strongly to the known SW universe, but they can also generate greater interest in supporting cast stories.

Unfortunately, this issue crosses the line from positive impact to "fanboy" indulgence. Clearly, the Wedge connection is important to the story line... so it is allowed even if it seems like quite a coincidence. The scene with Thrawn was very inspired, IMO. Fel's training of some of the Rogue was established before, so I guess that's acceptable. So, what's the problem? It's the cumulative effect that cheapens the effectiveness. The additional cameos by Tarkin, Solo, Xizor and the Emperor didn't help the story and should have been left out. I don't want a great character like Fel to become the Forrest Gump of the SW universe.

Art
The first thing I noticed was how great the inside cover looked in color. I'd like to see this continue. The second thing I noticed was the glossier paper stock which adds a lot to the book. I'm willing to pay extra for this on special issues like this one.

Crespo's strength clearly lies in drawing the characters. The poses are all very dramatic and natural. (When my long hair comes off, I'll have the same look as Fel.) There are many great panels... especially good is the aging of Fel though the book. Technology, on the other hand is NOT good.... from Vader's costume to the many TIEs, everything just seemed to be off.

Nestelle's colors were on par with his usual excellent work... which is showcased nicely on the quality paper. Giving each varied scene its own unique color scheme helps to carry the story. I liked dusk on Corellia, the plush honeymoon and the red glow in the briefing room.

Summary
Don't let possible cameo overuse deter you from reading this well drawn and brilliantly written issue. It's worth it.

8/10. Recommended.

Cover Image

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"EnsViews" are copyright 1997-8 by Paul Ens. They are posted to rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc, emailed to Dark Horse Comics and archived on theForce.net. With the exception of Dark Horse Comics Inc, they may not be reprinted without permission.

Titles, Cover images, Dark Horse Comics, and the Dark Horse logo are trademarks of Dark Horse Comics Inc. and its respective Licensors.

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