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XWing X-Wing Rogue Squadron #28 [Masquerade (Part 1 of 4)]
Story: Michael A Stackpole
Pencils: Jim Hall
Inks: Gary Martin
Colors: Perry McNamee
Editor: Peet Janes

Summary

As Isard makes her final play at Imperial power, the Rogues are joined by Han, Chewie, Leia and Winter in a mission as critical as the Death Star attacks.


EnsViews Comic Review
Reviewed 03/13/98

Story
Perhaps someone has been forwarding my previous reviews to Michael Stackpole, because not only is he keeping up with everything I've learned to like about this title... but he's improving on areas of minor complaints I've had.

We're back to our main storyline after a brief sidetrack in the last couple of issues. I missed having Fel in the book and he's back, but we know see him moving on as his internal struggle about leaving the Empire is resolved... he now must face the disapproval from both sides about what he has done. I hope that his personal struggles continue to be played and that he's not reduced to a simple hot shot pilot.

My main beef with the title has been the lack of sophisticated Imperial leaders. Much to my delight, Pestage is given a brain in this issue and we're given a glimpse that he didn't rise to power simply based on nifty wardrobe. This new layer of deception bodes well.

A second problem I have is "cheap" cameos of main movie characters in books about 'secondary' characters like the parade of stars in XWing #25. The Millennium Falcon on the cover should give you a hint that Han, Chewie and Leia make an appearance. This time, it's no cheap ploy at ratings.. they're important to the story while the focus remains squarely on the Rogues.

As I mentioned in my preview of the book, previous incarnations of Winter have disappointed me... but here she's written exactly right, IMO, particularly Leia's description of her and utilizing her ability pass for the Princess.

I like how each surviving member of the squad is introduced at the start of each story arc. It gives new readers a chance to jump in, plus it lets me know how each artist is going to interpret each character.

Art
Johnson's work has a somewhat more "serious" tone than in the last issue, as is appropriate for the story. It still might be a little light in tone, but there were many very enjoyable pages like Wedge's meeting with Ackbar. Technology could continue to use improvement and it looks like someone gave Chewie a really terrible haircut.

Nestelle's colors are strong as always. I particularly liked the moonlight scene with Winter and Tycho.

Summary
This story introducing issue carries the momentum built by the previous arcs. X-Wing continues to be the best written SW comic in the fold. 8/10. Recommended.


Previews
Reviewed 02/12/98

This morning I received a preview copy of X-Wing #28 which is due on the stands March 3. I got it too late to have any response published, but I sent the following letter to Dark Horse anyhow. I'll do a full review once it's released...


Mr Janes,
After a refreshing two issue vacation from the main storyline, it's nice to get back to the main Isard conflict storyline. Not only are the strong points of this title's recent momentum in tact, but a few of my previous concerns have been addressed as well.

The return of Soontir Fel is obviously a highlight. I hadn't realized it, but after making his tough decision in #25 Fel could have become a much less interesting character. A man doesn't change overnight and I'm glad that his inner conflict is continuing to be explored as well as facing up to former enemies.

Winter has been handled very inconsistently in the books and comics. I wasn't crazy about her last X-Wing appearance, but her appearance here is showing promise. I've been waiting for someone to take advantage of her ability to pass for Leia...

Thank you for giving Pestage a little bit of intelligence. From previous issues and reading Jax in Crimson Empire, I was beginning to think that the first idiot to show up with a nifty suit was made the new Emperor. If I'm reading this right, you'll be making up for this with a chess game in the spirit of 'The Hunt for Red October'.

You likely remember my displeasure with the cameos in #25. I enjoy this title's aspect that the characters are behind the scenes unlike the movie principals. With that in mind, the appearance of Han and Leia is making me a touch nervous. I'm reserving judgment on this (for now) because it looks like they're integral to the plot and not ratings grab cameos.

I'm not sure how Johnson's style will play out with this less action driven (more character and plot) story, but things are OK so far. His drawings of the movie heroes were good, but the ships still need some work. I really liked the Akbar page.

Complexity makes this title great. Keep it up.

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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