Ossus Library Index Star Wars Timeline




A graphic novel by Michael A. Stackpole and Darko Macan (1997, Dark Horse Comics)
Book 2 of X-Wing: Rogue Squadron
4.5 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

The New Republic and the Empire compete for possession of a compact cloaking device from a non-aligned world.



3 stars

Last read on February 23rd, 2002  
    A very well told story, but it had some large gaps in it, and the art was hit-and-miss.

The characters are what make this comic a great story.  They are so believable, their motives so raw and pure.  These are fighter pilots.  The characters are so much better developed than what we saw in The Rebel Opposition.  Wedge, as the lead character, gets the best dialog and the best characterization, but that is not at the expense of the others.  From Hobbie and Janson, who we saw in The Empire Strikes Back, to Tycho, Plourr, Elscol (and her Wookie bodyguard Groznik), and finally to the beautiful and wonderful Mirax, they all get to shine in their own way.

The setting is the planet Mrlsst, basically a University planet.  I like the way everybody is a student here.  It is actually pretty funny to see the security guard leading Wedge away ask him "please don't hurt me, sir, I'm only a security guard to pay my way through the University"!  The waitress who showed Wedge around the town was also a student, though she never seemed to change clothing (but I did appreciate the low-cut blouse...).

The government on Mrlsst has a super-weapon that it wants to sell to the appropriate party.  Of course, the Imperials are desperate for anything that will put them ahead.  But Wedge stresses that the New Republic would know when not to use it.  Wedge makes a pretty weak argument (which seems like a strong argument), but that is because he knows the miniature cloaking device, small enough to put on a fighter-craft, does not exist.  I guess it's too bad that Darth Maul's Sith Infiltrator had such a device.  But I also suppose it shows just how far behind technologically the Empire set the galaxy back. 

What does surprise Wedge is who his counterpart from the Imperial side of things is:  Loka Hask, the man who was directly responsible for the death of his parents, years ago.  It's nice to finally get an official accounting of the disaster that struck the young Wedge Antilles.  And that part of the story is superbly done, as we watch through Wedge's eyes the pirate tanker take off from the station without unlocking its clamps, setting the fuel station on fire.  Booster Terrik and Mirax have to comfort him, which is why he becomes a smuggler.  He goes after the pirate and destroys the ship, but Hask escaped.  The biggest revelation from this portion of the story, however, comes from the fact that Wedge's father was named Jagged Antilles!  This is obviously why his mysterious sister, married to Baron Fell, named their son Jagged Fell in the New Jedi Order book Ruin!

When it looks like the New Republic will get the Phantom ship, the Imperials break into the security area and steal the technical readouts, implicating Tycho in the crime.  The Imperials used the group AEA -Anti-Endor Association to do the job.  The group was pretty funny to watch as they stood on a stage denouncing the death of the Emperor and the fact that the battle of Endor took place at all!  Tycho gets into a fight with a small group of them, but comes out the winner because of a mysterious stranger.

Everything leads to a large asteroid in the ring about the planet, where a secret laboratory was set up by a professor who was injured and retired.  It was he who created the fiction of the Phantom project, but it turns out that he created something much more sinister:  a portable planet slicer.  While I was very glad to see that the cloaking device was indeed a phantom, I was much more alarmed at the planet slicer.  Why develop a new super-weapon at all?  I got really sick of it, really quickly, especially with all the super-weapons that populate the expanded universe.  And I am very surprised that nobody tried to use it so far in the New Jedi Order.  But I am still worried that they will! 

The Imperials capture the lab, but Mirax stole the remote control, and activates it on the asteroid, which disappears, taking the Interdictor Star Destroyer with it. 

I can't figure out why Wedge says that the New Republic will keep the planet slicer safe, and not use it, when the device disappeared into the wormhole with the asteroid.  Hask would not have been salivating over the "pocket Death Star" -a hilarious phrase- if it wasn't actually there.  All Mirax had was the remote.  As far as I am concerned, if I don't have a TV, the remote control for it will not show me any images!

Another mystery is how Wedge knew the governor's aide was part of the AEA.  He never sees the man at the rally, and Tycho never met the aide.  So how did Wedge come to the conclusion that he was part of that organization?

But the worst of the mysteries of this book comes from the ghost Jedi.  This is the hologram who blinded an Imperial officer, saving Tycho.  I can admit that the effect could certainly have been psychological, but the ghost Jedi then rescued Wedge from his holding cell by slicing open the controls.  Holograms couldn't do that, and if this one could, why did it have no effect on the Imperials on the asteroid?  It took on the appearance of Elscol's dead husband and had the Wookie brought up to the asteroid, but I don't understand why?  Yes, Groznik held onto Hask when he tried to escape, but I don't understand why he was there in the first place.  And does that mean that Elscol's late husband is not actually dead?  Where did Professor Falken get his likeness? 

I enjoyed much of the art in this installment of the Rogues, but often, especially in the daylight scenes (unusual for a Star Wars comic), the images appeared a little washed out, and the backgrounds were often a single color, even white!  It looked a little too simplified.  The scenes with Wedge's youth were the best, I think.  The rest had much less detail than I am used to.

But for the most part, I really enjoyed this story.  The ins and outs of the University were pretty fun, even to the point where Mrlsst's underground is way above ground, with the student who can break into any file on campus!  We have our first Rogue casualty, though he's not a fighter pilot.  I don't understand how Groznik can follow Elscol around, when she is in a fighter craft all the time.  The Rogues really click, their banter is amusing, though some of the military talk is a little too technical, typical for Stackpole.  It is kind of nice to see some independent missions, before the Rogues get into an official arc, a long-term battle strategy, or the New Republic sets its eyes on Coruscant.



3 stars

Also read on January 23rd, 1999  

Back to Top

All Star Wars material and covers are Copyright Lucasfilm Ltd and the publishers.
All reviews and page designs at this site Copyright (c)  by Warren Dunn, all rights reserved.