Friday, April 6, 2012

Shepherd492 reviews: Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: The Warrior Princess

X-Wing Rogue Squadron: The Warrior Princess 

The Warrior Princess is the fourth arc in the Rogue Squadron series of comics. The four issues that comprise the story were collected in a trade paperback in 1998, and in the Rogue Squadron Vol. 2 Omnibus in 2006.

                      The Warrior Princess is the first arc to focus on the character of Plourr, the snarky background character featured in many of Rogue Squadron’s early adventures. The comic also introduces us to four new Rogues, a new Imperial Moffs to antagonize our heroes, and the various factions of the planet of Eiattu 6. Fleshing out a character with little background and next to no personality was a good decision, and the political dynamics of Eiattu 6 are very interesting, but unfortunately Plourr is still an annoying character, and the antagonists are somewhat flimsy. It is still a perfectly serviceable Rogue Squadron tale however and well worth a purchase for fans of the series thus far.
                The comic starts with Plourr being summoned back to her home world to deal with the civil war brewing between the royalty and the rebels, backed by the Empire and fronted by none other than Plourr’s long lost brother, Harran. We spend some time sorting out the political situation on Eiattu 6, then it is off to what the series does best- explosive dogfighting sequences and better than average ground combat. The dogfighting is actually pretty subdued here. We get a VR simulation at the very beginning, then Rogue Squadron provides air support later, but there really isn’t much space combat. In fact, the virtual reality simulation is thrown in for seemingly no other purpose to provide a fix for the space junkies.
                Next we are introduced to Moff Leonia Tavria, the Imperial connection in this particular piece. She is a fairly standard character for the time that she shows up, but hopefully she will appear in later works in the series and play a more significant presence. The four new members of Rogue Squadron are also promising additions for future arcs. They are unexplored for much of this comic, but we do get some foreshadowing about an interesting dynamic between the Quarren, Nrin Vakel and the Mon Calamari, Ibtisam. The two species have long been at odds, and that is reflected in this comic, with the two arguing ceaselessly about nearly everything. This sets up some promising branches for future stories, though these two are the only two background Rogues to be of any interest in this arc. The various Rogues do split up into teams to achieve some plot variety. The cutaways are fast and furious here. There are few instances where the authors stick with one particular plot for more than 5 pages. Like the previous arcs, there is much juggling of the various characters at work and, though this work is a bit more frantic than the others due to the even larger number of personnel, it ends up working out.
                As for Plourr, she is much more tolerable than in previous books, but still far from being an enjoyable character. She meets her future husband through an arranged marriage, and instantly hates him, is a bit prone to doing stupid things, and doesn’t develop that much through the events of this story. We do learn quite a bit about her background, which is easily the most interesting aspect of her. She was the lone survivor of her family when the Imperials came to remove the leadership from power. She escaped from captivity, and in the process killed her insane younger brother. That brother is now allegedly leading the rebel forces on Eiattu, and she becomes determined to confront him. In what is easily the most dramatic, tense portion of the story, she confronts him and eventually has to shoot him. This works as a powerful conclusion to the arc, and in the denouement, we get a satisfying resolution to Plourr’s story that fans of hers will appreciate. Without spoiling it, I was happy for the closure of her arc because it was a positive ending that sets her up for potential cameos in the future.
                   The artwork is suitable for the series, but nothing special. The first few pages, barring the space battle, are extremely forgettable, with terrible facial expressions and bland coloring being the trend. The facial expression remain pretty bad for the entire arc, but the coloring gets more bold and dynamic in the second half of the comic. In particular, liquids look really good, especially wine and blood, both of which are seen at length in the books closing half.

One of the few panels featuring actual space combat in the entire comic.

               From a design standpoint, I really appreciated the incorporation of three new aliens into the fold. Previously Rogue Squadron was graced with only one truly alien member, now it has four, all of which are quite diverse in terms of appearance. Though they don’t develop much as characters here, there is definitely some potential and if nothing else the variety is a positive. Even Plourr looks decent here, with a nice mix of hairstyles (though she is still mostly bald) and a more interesting array of outfits. The world of Eiattu 6 is also handled very nicely, mixing swampy locales with stately mansions and ballroom dinners. The Imperial base/prison featured here is kind of bland, and we don’t spend a lot of time with the Imperials in general, but they’ve certainly looked much worse, even within this series.
The new aliens add some much needed diversity.

                The Warrior Princess is a decent arc, but not a great one. Fans of the series won’t be disappointed with the adept character juggling at work here, and it was nice to finally see a story where Wedge wasn’t the focal character. Your enjoyment of the story may depend on how much you like Plourr, but even people who can’t stand the character will find something to enjoy in one of the many side plots or the historical parallels (the situation on Eiattu 6 and Plourr’s backstory are loosely based on Russia circa 1917.) The art is nothing spectacular but if you have been satisfied with the series to this point it will definitely give you some bang for your buck. Reccommended for most fans.
Final Score

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