Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shepherd492 reviews: Star Wars: X-wing: Rogue Leader

X-wing: Rogue Leader




X-Wing: Rogue Leader is a three part prologue to the X-Wing series of comic books. This limited series was released in 2005, over six years after the finale of the X-Wing series, and was collected in the X-Wing: Rogue Squadron Vol. 1 Omnibus.


Story

Rogue Leader takes place a week after the Battle of Endor. The main storyline features Rogue Squadron's first mission against an Imperial Warlord. It also serves to introduce us to the three central Rogues, Wes Janson, Tycho Celchu, and Wedge Antilles.

The book starts with the Rogues cleaning up on Endor, after brief exploits showcasing a bio from each of the four featured members (the above three and Sullustan Ten Numb). The Rogues, including Luke Skywalker, are then sent to Corellia on an intelligence gathering mission.

Of course, everything goes wrong, and the Imperials show up to spoil terrorize the Corellian citizens. During the fighting, Ten Numb is captured. The rest of the plot details the Rogue's efforts to save Ten, and thwart this new Imperial threat. The Rebels break up the attack on Corellia, and the Imperials inexplicably move to a separate base inside the same system. This allows the Rebels to easily track them, and a pointless encounter with ridiculous looking aliens quickly and cleanly points them in the direction of the Imperials.

I can't say I was impressed with the plot. It starts off strong enough, with a cool looking villain and a good action scene showcasing Luke's skills, but when it needs to develop a few more intricacies and side plots, it doesn't. A good opportunity came when the Rebels had to seek out the new Imperial base. Instead of instantly finding out where it was, they could've been forced to use more detective skills or subterfuge, as opposed to two pages detailing their encounter with the Selonians, and subsequent briefing.  The lack of sub plots really hurts this book, as it feels more like a straight dash from point A to B, with little sense of urgency. Ten Numb isn't a particularly great character before his kidnapping, so there is no reason for a reader to be concerned if he lives or dies.

The characters have great dialogue, in particular the banter between the Rogues, but individually, they are difficult to tell apart. This isn't the fault of the writing, but more so the fact that the three human Rogues have basically interchangeable personalities for the purposes of this comic. They seem to handle pressure and crisis with the same response- wise cracking and jokes. The villain, General Weir, is interesting at first, but lacks depth beyond the armor, and comes off as generic and silly by the end of the comic.

This comic is VERY straightforward, with little subtlety and a dull conclusion that does little besides set up the next installment in the series.

Art

Art in Rogue Leader is top notch, for the most part.

The Endor scenes are a great example of the lush color schemes present in the comic.
The first major improvement over earlier Rogue Squadron titles is the coloring. Where the previous titles mostly utilized pastels and bland color schemes, Rogue Leader features a more realistic style and colorful environments. The Imperial base, and Endor are colored particularly well, although the coloring remains excellent throughout.

Rogue Leader does a great job with starships and vehicles.

The ships and vehicles are nothing new, but they are rendered well here. The book features familiar forms such as speeder bikes, AT-STs, A-Wings, B-Wings, and the titular X-Wings. All of the vehicles look great, although the speederbike riders look stiff and unnatural in some panels. Storm and scout troopers are well drawn too, and the villain is one of the more visually interesting in the comics.

And finishes looking like this.
The villain enters looking like this...




The Rogues are adequately rendered. Though physically similar, the artists do a good job of distinguishing them through the use of vibrant clothing and weaponry. The faces are a bit awkward at times (this applies to all characters), however, and the allied Selonians look absolutely atrocious. They are some horrific mix of Bothans, and cats or horses, and the result is even worse than the uninspired aliens from Vader's Quest.

The Selonians- not very interesting, or visually appealing.
Another strong aspect of this comic is the sheer variety of fight scenes. Nearly every type of action scene imaginable is present here. Dogfighting, shoot outs, and a chase scene are the highlights, but saber play, hand to hand, and large scale battles also play a part.

Conclusion

Rogue Leader could've been much better. Great art doesn't make up for the overly simple story, or mediocre villains. Read this for the art, or for a prologue to the Rogue Squadron comics/novels, but don't bother as a standalone.

Final Score

50/100

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