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A graphic novel by Michael A. Stackpole and Drew Johnson (2000, Dark Horse Comics)
Book 8 of X-Wing: Rogue Squadron
4.5 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

As Leia meets with the current Imperial leader to gain control of Coruscant, Leia's lookalike gets kidnapped, sending Han to the rescue.



3 stars

Read on September 17th, 2000  
    Enjoyable story, though it seems more like setup than anything else.  The artwork wasn't as detailed as I've seen before, and some far shots seemed like simple outlines.

There are two major disguises here.  Winter dresses up like Leia, and gets kidnapped, and Soontir Fel pretends to be an undercover Imperial agent a couple of times. 

The story opens with the usual battle, where Rogue Squadron happens upon a pirate attack.  It's a good way to open up the book, but I hate coming into a battle like this without warning.  They chase the pirates away, of course, and get assigned to accompany Leia to the planet where former Rogue Plourr governs. 

Tycho is smitten by Winter, whom he met, I believe, back in Battleground Tatooine.  He asks Leia about the woman, which prompts her to use him as her decoy.  As Tycho and Winter are kissing, they are kidnapped by people under the control of Leonia Tavira.  While imprisoned, they grow closer together.  And after they escape, they are bound by many kisses. 

I found Winter to seem much less capable than she is presented in later books, especially Heir to the Empire, where she was originally introduced.  Of course, that was the first Star Wars book in recent times, so there can be no mention of her romance with Tycho, but they are married in I, Jedi, so this is a good start.  Tavira is also the major enemy in that book, and it is a great way to show how young and devious she can be.  She is drawn like a teenager!

Leia, meanwhile, sets off with the rest of Rogue Squadron, to meet with the head of the Empire, Pestage.  This man fears for his life, and the Empire, because of Ysanne Isard, who seems to be the true power behind the Imperial leadership.  They agree to terms, and that is when Tycho and Winter escape their cell.  It turns out that those two were being held right on the planet where Leia is meeting Pestage.

Rogue Squadron rescues them from the pursuing pirates (who happen to be the ones from the earlier battle), with some help from Han and Fel.  Han didn't know that Winter was a decoy, and thought that Leia had been kidnapped.  He followed the trail right to her. 

Meanwhile, Isard has sent a Star Destroyer to pick up Tavira and Leia.  Fel pretends he is a spy, and tells the Captain that he is interfering with a covert operation, and should leave.  Pestage is by then on the Destroyer (somehow -I felt I missed that), and confirms Fel's spy status, only to return home to Coruscant and be told that Fel has turned to the Rebellion. 

It doesn't matter, though, because he plans to leave Coruscant defenseless when the New Republic attacks.  They will quickly take over the seat of Imperial government, and he will be granted a few planets of his own in return. 

I have a feeling that this will come to a head in the next couple of comic stories, but I doubt it will end as they expect.  The novels indicate that Coruscant will not fall easily, but we will see. 

The artwork was simple, too, though Winter was drawn nicely!  The rest of the group looked much too young, but if I hadn't seen the movies, I liked their representations.  I am also undecided on the new TIE fighters, which seem like a cross between a TIE and a Y-Wing.

All in all, this was a pretty good outing.  The politics are getting complex, which is hard to do in a comic.  There is still a lot of action, which is good.  And the story is moving ahead quite rapidly.  There is more continuity now than there was in the first comics.  I expect, if they continue this series beyond the fall of Coruscant (which will perhaps overlap with the novels?), that the stories will become more isolated again after that.


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