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XWing X-Wing Rogue Squadron #22 [In the Empire's Service (Part 2 of 4)]
Story: Michael A Stackpole
Pencils: John Nadeau
Colors: Dave Nestelle
Editor: Peet Janes

EnsViews Comic Review
Reviewed 09/13/97

Story Summary
The Rogues return to base from a scan of Brentaal IV where they share horror stories about the fighting prowess of Baron Fel, former instructor of Hobbie and Biggs.

On Brentaal, inept leader Isoto lounges in the lap of luxury and tries to get the uptight Fel to loosen up while urging him to protect his personal interests once the fighting starts.

As the Rogues take on the skilled 181st, Janson and Ib are shot down. The Rogues take Oradin (because Isoto recalls the troups prematurely), but are reluctantly forced to withdraw on orders from Akbar. Janson and Ib are captured.

Isard convinces Sate Pestage to keep Isoto in charge in order to discredit his enemies within the Empire. Meanwhile, in the hall these supposed supporters are crying for Isoto's removal. Isard is playing both sides against each other.

Story
More than any other SW comic series (excluding novel adaptations) this series' characters have depth.

The Imperial Baron Fel is most fascinating. He has character and honor to burn. He's faithfully married, a master tactician, respectful and loyal to clearly less-competant superiors. When someone suggests that the Emperor-want- to-bes aren't worthy of following, Fel replies "The Empire, OUR Empire, is tasked with saving our citizens. We work for the people of Brentaal IV." This man is a hero.

This Isard is a first class manipulator... my favorite kind of villian. This is the kind of bad guy I expect to see in the prequels.

Akbar's moving from master tactician from ROTJ to the politician in Zahn's trilogy.

Koyi Komad, a female Twi'lek technician, is only in a few panels... but I think she's going to be a great addition to the cast.

Art
The pencils aren't quite as consistant as last issue, but some panels are marvelous. Nadeaus' color work during the space battles (explosions, lasers, sunsets and exhaust) is great stuff!

Summary
This is one of those rare comic series that gets away with making the action secondary and focusing on interesting characters.

9/10. Highly recommended.

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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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