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XWing X-Wing Rogue Squadron #32 [Mandatory Retirement (Part 1 of 4)]
Story: Michael A Stackpole
Pencils: Steve Crespo
Inks: Chip Wallace
Colors: Dave Nestelle
Covers: John Nadeau
Editor: Peet Janes

Summary

The Rogues take some R&R while Pestage is banished for treason.


EnsViews Comic Review
Reviewed 08/07/98

Story
The premise of this issue is to show each of the Rogues having just enough relaxation so that they let their guard down and we see what the characters would be like if there wasn't a war on. Issues like romance, ambition, activity and friendship are generally not workable in the pilot's schedule. The issue places these aspects of life at the forefront in order to provide a harsh and stark contract to the real day to day lives of death and danger.

This was well written, but it failed to grab me on a couple of points. It's been two entire issues since anything really happened, and now we're into a third. Stackpole writes these characters really well, but I'm feeling the need for a plot point soon.

My second issue is the fact that nothing about the Rogues' activities placed them in the Star Wars universe. Now don't get me wrong, I'm thankful they stayed away from "spaceball" or "hyper-wieghts" or "astro-swimming" style activities where they add a futuristic word to a normal thing. However, nothing about this places it off of Earth. The Rogue pages could EASILY have been a "Teen Titans" or "Gen13" issue. Give me holochess, anything...

I enjoyed the back and forth contrast between the lightness of the Rogues versus the seriousness of the Imperials. While brief, the appearances of Isaard and Tavira, were effective and kept them in the story. It's interesting how Stackpole has turned Pestage into a sympathetic character.

And one last time, I'd commend the X-Wing team for formally introducing the cast in the first issue of a story arc. There are a lot of characters to keep straight and most casual fans will find keeping up much easier because of this.

Art
Crespo is back in top form. This issue calls for very little technology, so Steve was able to have fun with his strength... compelling characters. Every pose of every character (foreground and background) is interesting and serves to tell significantly more about the story than simply identifying the speaker. The panel with Pestage and Tavira tells more about the state of the Empire than all the dialog in the issue.

What I've been trying to figure out is how I feel about the wardrobes, or general lack thereof. On one hand, I like the fact that in general Star Wars comics buck the trend of titles successful solely because of disproportioned bodies and strategic clothing scraps. On the other, nothing here isn't purely story driven... I really wouldn't expect to see anything else in workout and swimming scenes. I had concerns flipping through the pages in the comic shop, but not after further consideration and reading the issue a few times. Hey... Lucas himself put Leia in a metal bikini.

I really enjoyed some of the eye candy treats, like the shimmering hot spring, the garden tourists (they're just like on Earth!) and the lighting effects in the night club. The issue has a deep look that's been missing in X-Wing recently.

Crespo's likeness of Carrie Fisher is wonderful, but it made me somewhat sorry that more effort isn't put into making Wedge look like Denis Lawson.

Conclusions
Good writing and even better art... yet, somehow the whole feels less than the sum of the parts. But with only three issues to go, things are looking up.

7.5/10. 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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