Friday, December 30, 2011

Shepherd492 reviews: Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: The Rebel Opposition

X-Wing Rogue Squadron: The Rebel Opposition



















X-Wing Rogue Squadron: The Rebel Opposition was the first arc in a 35 issue arc concerning the lives of the members of Rogue Squadron. These first four issues, forming the "Rebel Opposition" story arc, were never collected in a trade paperback, but were published in the first Star Wars Omnibus in 2006.


Story

The Rebel Opposition serves as an introduction to many of the members of Rogue Squadron, and the adventure itself is a shallow excuse for average action sequences. The book is an adequate introduction to the Rogues, and little more. Rogue Squadron is sent to track down a convoy and make contact with a Rebel agent, codenamed "Targeter". Predictably, the mission quickly goes awry, and the Rogues must ally with the local splinter faction in order to fight against the Imperials on the planet of Cilpar.

The Rogues for the purpose of this comic consist of famed Alliance hero Wedge Antilles, movie characters Wes Janson, Tycho Celchu, and Derek "Hobbie" Klivan. Newly introduced characters Plourr Ilo and Dlrr Nep round out the roughly half-strength squadron. The book makes a concerted effort balancing facetime between these characters, plus "Targeter" (revealed to be someone familiar to most Star Wars fans) and rebel leader Elscol Loro. Each gets their own sub plot, which allows each character to be more properly developed, but ends up hurting the overall story by causing it to become extremely choppy. The overarching thread of a traitor in the midst was a tired and predictable one, and the Imperials present little real threat. The Imperial governor is so cliche and familiar among Star Wars fans that it isn't even worth remembering his name for this review-he exists solely to be killed off, and the amount of time spent developing the character (none) is highly indicative of this fact.

Despite the flaws in the story, there is quite a bit of entertaining action here. The dog fights between X-Wing and TIE fighter are good, if a bit dull in places, while the Rebels taking on AT-STs and automated stormtroopers was an interesting turn of events and much more intense. The end of both villains, the spy and the governor, lacked tension, and this is not the go-to book for epic space battles (of which there are none), but the action scenes do wonders to boost the anemic plot.

The characters themselves are largely adequate. Wedge is great in his command role, displaying many of the qualities that endear him to readers of the X-Wing series of novels. Tycho, Hobbie and Janson are effective in support roles, while Elscol is a strong female lead and potential future love interest for Wedge. Plourr suffers from an all time terrible haircut, and an attitude that is both baffling and insufferable. The character's constant wise cracks and backtalking do not in any way help the character's likability, and her seemingly one dimensional character makes her easily the worst member of the Rogues. The two aliens, Wookie rebel Groznik (in retrospect an extremely unlikely name for a Wookie), and Sullustan Rogue Dllr are the only protagonists left largely untouched. Groznik gets a lame and boring backstory about owing a life debt to Elscol's deceased husband, while Dllr is barely mentioned at all.

At the end of the day, the plot was just too dull to prop up the story. The total lack of tension involving the spy- the issue is introduced and resolved in only a few pages, with little doubt as to who the traitor was- and the complete lack of an intimidating villain resulted in a comic of slightly below average quality, withstanding a few select action scenes.

Art

The art seems to be heavily inspired by Marvel's Star Wars comics, though it is not quite able to replicate the classic style featured in so many of those works.

This panel is indicative of both the simplistic approach to the overall comic, and the poor job done rendering Tie fighters. Also, it is incredibly over the top and unbelievable.
The book's rendering of ships is not very good. For one, the designs of classic figures such as the X-Wing and Tie Fighter are incredibly vague-the style at work here does not lend itself to detail in any form, and while the stylized approach is adequate for the characters and sometimes great for the backdrop, the minimalist direction is not effective for ships and other vehicles. Energy beams, explosions, and the like are suitably dramatic, and the eerie backdrop seen at the abandoned temple/caves gives the comic a bit of added depth.

Plourr (right) may have one of the worst hairstyles in history. I still cannot figure out how this is supposed to be cool or attractive.
The characters are mostly handled well. The artists do a good job of creating visually distinct characters, and despite the relative anonymity of the cast, new readers will have no trouble telling the Rogues apart. Plourr is legendarily awful looking though. Her hairstyle is incomprehensible-the bald look can be used to great effect (see Asajj Ventress or Aurra Sing) when creating a non nonsense, hardcore female lead, but the bald on top, flowing down the back look just makes no sense. I'm not even sure how it works, is her headgear functioning as a type of wig, or is this actually her hairstyle? Either way, it is absolutely dreadful, and ruins pretty much every panel Plourr is featured in.

The pastel coloring will be a familiar sight for any fans of the Marvel Star Wars run.
The coloring is a highlight of the book, however it does not mesh well with the plot, and the book tends to lack the whimsical, far out, feel that made the Marvel comics such a hit. The book maintains a serious tone throughout, which seems to clash directly with the colorful and simplistic nature of the colors, and new creations are at a minimum. That being said, the coloring is enjoyable and vibrant, just not the right choice for this book in particular.

Conclusion

An underwhelming plot and disjointed artwork taint the first appearance of a mostly promising cast of characters. There is nothing memorable or surprising about this comic, and the art work is sub par when compared to more modern comics. The Rebel Opposition is a mediocre introduction to the first monthly series in the Dark Horse run.

Final Score

45/100

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