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XWing X-Wing Rogue Squadron #21 [In the Empire's Service (Part 1 of 4)]
Story: Michael A Stackpole
Pencils: John Nadeau
Colors: Dave Nestelle
Editor: Peet Janes

EnsViews Comic Review
Reviewed 09/09/97

As you know, my first impressions weren't great but I'm slowly warming up to the Rogue series.

Story Summary
A short-handed squadron is on a scouting mission to Brentaal IV where they come across and defeat a squadron of TIEs. This draws the attention of the new Emperor (I presume, I could be wrong... he looks like one of the strange advisors in ROTJ) and Isard (a female Imperial officer in a red uniform with one red eye). She convinces him of a plan to allow Brentaal and members of the 181st Imperial Fighting Group to be captured by the rebels.

New recruits are added to the squad. After some banter and a briefing by Akbar, the Rogues head to Brentaal where they destroy the Imperial presence.

Back at the Rebel Base, it is discovered that the "squints" they destroyed are part of the 181st lead by Baron Fel... the best Imperial pilot alive.

Last, we finally meet the Baron who is angry with Isard for sending his men to their death, but who vows to destroy Rogue Squadron.

Story
While this is obviously merely a setup for a larger story, it has some nice elements that has me genuinely enjoying this Rogue series. I really liked the amount of time spent at the base. It gave me a feel of a good military film that I haven't felt in the previous issues.

Sometimes references to previous Rogues seems forced, as does some of the in- flight chatter... but overall the dialog is good.

Art
Nestelle's color work is simply great once again. Nadeau is the first artist on the series I can give high praise for drawing both technology and characters. The dogfights are great and the scene with X-Wing flying through the landing bay is the kind of exciting visual that shows why Star Wars belongs in comics.

Summary
With this praise, I must admit that as a stand alone comic it's not a must- read, but as part one... it points to wonderful things as a series. 8.5/10. Recommended.

Best line: "Surface impact? You won't be trench-running the next Death Star we find, Janson."

Cover Image

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"EnsViews" are copyright 1997-8 by Paul Ens. They are posted to rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc, emailed to Dark Horse Comics and archived on theForce.net. With the exception of Dark Horse Comics Inc, they may not be reprinted without permission.

Titles, Cover images, Dark Horse Comics, and the Dark Horse logo are trademarks of Dark Horse Comics Inc. and its respective Licensors.

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