X-Wing: Rogue Leader #1
Story: Haden Blackman
Art: Tomás Giorello
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Gary Erskine
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (10/02/2005)
A week after the Battle of Endor, pilots Ten Numb, Tycho Celchu, Wes Janson and Wedge Antilles are called away from their duties to rendezvous with Commander Luke Skywalker at the Western Ridge on Endor. The mission is to investigate any Imperial presence on the planet Corellia. A week later, everything seems fine on Wedge's home planet. But while they are all sitting in a cantina in Coronet, they are caught in a surprise attack by Imperials.
Even though writer Haden Blackman has written several Star Wars video games (Starfighter, Bounty Hunter, Star Wars Galaxies), this title is not to be confused with the Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II video game for Gamecube. Although of course, it is linked to Rogue Squadron and is in fact a prequel to the 35 issue (plus a couple of specials) X-Wing: Rogue Squadron series that ran from 1995-98. That series in turn was a prequel to a series of X-Wing novels written by Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston.
But getting back on track, this story takes place a week after the Battle of Endor and immediately after The Truce at Bakura (which is referred three times in this issue). I know Blackman is very knowledgeable about the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and I hope that somehow the final issues of the Marvel series are going to fit in somewhere. In the same time period there is also the X-Wing Rogue Squadron Special that was offered in cereal boxes. That issue has Luke leading "Red" Squadron, so potentially it could take place right before of after this series. There is also the recent "Lucky" story in Star Wars Tales #23 that takes place during this issue sometime before they leave for Corellia.
We are introduced to the pilots doing various clean up duties on the moon of Endor. Ten Numb is extinguishing forest fires aboard a B-wing; Tycho and Wes encounter a gorax while investigating rumors of an Imperial patrol (fans will remember the gorax from the movie The Ewok Adventure: Caravan of Courage); and Wedge is pulling TIE wrecks out of the sky with a Y-wing. Then they all talk about the state of the galaxy and find themselves on Corellia as part of a major reconnaissance missions of all major sectors. They are suddenly attacked by Storm Commandos (again, Blackman shows that he knows his stuff) and an oncoming assault group of AT-STs and speeder bikes. A simple plot, but this is what we like about these stories. Can't wait to read the rest.
Giorello most recently did the art on Empire #20-21 "A Little Piece of Home," as well as several Clone Wars issues of Republic. Somehow, the art reminds me of Ken Steacy's style. But I really love the gorax and the Storm Commandos. They look amazing.
Aside from the story in Tales #23, there hasn't been a story about Rogue Squadron in over seven years. So a return to that time period is most welcome.
Rating: 8.5 / 10 Highly Recommended