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A graphic novel by Michael A. Stackpoke and Steve Crespo (1999, Dark Horse Comics)
Book 7 of X-Wing: Rogue Squadron
4.5 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

Baron Soontir Fel tells the story of his Imperial disillusionment, joins Rogue Squadron, and gets Wedge to send some people out after his wife -Wedge's sister.



3 stars

Read on July 2nd, 2000  
    At last we get to find out why Isard sent Fel into a losing position in the last Rogue Squadron set.  This graphic novel actually takes the form of two stories.  In the first one, Fel tells how he and Wedge are related, and of his life story.  In the second one, some members of Rogue Squadron are sent to Corellia to make sure Fel's wife is safe.  His wife ends up being Wedge's sister.

  Fel grew up on what might have been Corellia (but it is not named explicitly, except to say that he is Corellian.  But Corran Horn's father was there, so that's a good indication).  He won swoop matches, and other races.  He worked for the same company his mother and his father worked for.  The world is drawn all in greens and joyous colours, so it seems that it must have been out of Imperial control for a while.  But it did get Imperial visitors, because one of them took notice of Fel's flying skills, and gets him into the Imperial Academy. 

  There, his world is changed for good.  He is indoctrinated, and progresses through the ranks very quickly.  He eventually returns to the Imperial Academy to train TIE pilots, and ends up training quite a few members of Rogue Squadron, who later defected.  He gains the attention of Tarkin, who asks him to join his bodyguard team.  Before that can happen, however, Biggs Darklighter defects, and Fel is not able to prevent it.  He is sent to a backworld planet, with a squad that is in very poor condition. 

  But Fel is good at whipping poor squads into shape.  He does the same here, and realizes that Biggs gave him a gift.  If he hadn't defected, Fel would have died on the Death Star.  In a splendid victory, Fel achieves greatness once again.  He attracts the attention of a famous actress -the sister of Wedge Antilles. 

  Several battles later, Fel's squad is turned into an elite fighting unit, similar, it seems, to Rogue Squadron.  He and the actress get married. 

  The beginning of his disenchantment with the Empire begins when Ysanne Isard tests his loyalty with an erotic kiss.  It continues through many other trials, but it has made an enemy of Isard. 

  He was welcomed into the change of allegiance.  Wedge invites him to become part of Rogue Squadron.  The team is not ready to accept him, but are quick to concede the point that many of them were Imperials, before, too. 

  In the second part of the story, Fel realizes that his wife has gone into hiding.  He needs to make sure she is okay.  Do that, and he will give Wedge a powerful weapon of the Empire. 

  So Wedge sends Wes, Hobbie and Plourr to Corellia, to check on her.  They get caught up in a kidnapping of Fel's two year old nephew.  CorSec, in the form of Corran Horn and his partner, follow them as they work, hoping to get some information as to the kidnappers.  They manage to meet with the kidnappers, and Plourr takes care of most of them, but the leader escapes. 

  They mount an assault on the estate of the kidnapper, and barely rescue the toddler, with Fel's brother's help.  They convince Fel's brother, his wife and child to come join the New Republic.  They now know where Fel's wife is hiding, and that she is safe.

  The fight scenes were neat to see.  I could literally watch them unfold.  The colours were rather subdued in most cases.  But the drawings were nicely done.  The people looked like people, the shadows were where they were supposed to be.  The script was also well done.  I like the banter between Rogues.  It makes them feel like a team, without distracting from the main plot.  However, the dialog bubbles were a little confusing at times.  It wasn't entirely clear where the next sentence should be read.  But that's minor complaint. 

  This is one of the better graphic novels.  It had an interesting story, even if it wasn't too relevant to the present.  It was relevant to a new member of Rogue Squadron.  His history gives us a perspective from which to view him.  He could be considered an innocent who was corrupted by the Empire.  The second part of the story gives us an insight into Corran Horn.  I think we'll be seeing a lot more of him soon.  That would lead in to I, Jedi very nicely.  I sometimes wonder if these authors are trying to fill in every single event between the early books.  There was even mention here of Han Solo being in Fel's class as he graduated from the Academy.  That was nice to see.


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