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XWing X-Wing Rogue Squadron #31 [Masquerade (Part 4 of 4)]
Story: Michael A Stackpole
Pencils: Drew Johnson
Inks: Gary Martin
Colors: Dave Nestelle
Covers: John Nadeau
Editor: Peet Janes


Rogue Squadron and the Falcon step in to save Tycho and Winter. Pestage learns the Fel is with the rebels.

EnsViews Comic Review
Reviewed 07/04/98

The story begins with a six page conclusion to the dog fight started in the last issue. While I acknowledge that the banter and strategy of the battle is the scripter's responsibility, I'm going to defer discussion to the art review.

Next we get about eight pages of the entire cast of rebels reunited in a hanger. This was too long. The information shared between characters is not news to the reader. The various reunions really didn't lend any new insights into the characters involved. The Tycho-Winter and Fel-Wedge scenes failed to live up to the emotion that could have been present... perhaps because they were both predictable and a long time in coming. A few interesting lines of background chatter didn't save the scene. It should have been shorter and left more to the imagination.

We've seen Fel use an AT3 directive before. I realize that the plot point was to reveal to Pestage that Fel is with the rebels, but I still felt I'd seen this one before. I never got the feeling that Fel might actually mean the words he's saying as I did last time. The TIE capture might have been better served with fewer panels of planning and preparation.

I think I enjoyed it better when Isaard and Pestage weren't openly hostile toward each other. I found the deceit to be more interesting, but I guess I'll give this a "wait-and-see".

To sum up, I didn't find the writing here to be of the caliber I've come to expect with this title. I found it drawn out and generally devoid of any new ideas. The whole thing felt like filler. Sometimes less is more.

With a title like X-Wing, one expects some cool dogfights. The one to start this issue really disappoints. When the panel has no background, it feels empty. When it has buildings, they either add nothing or take away from the ships. I don't feel a sense of motion. There is no depth. Everything feels linear, which is what the films' dogfights tried to avoid. It feels like the angle of every ship is off. My apologies to Johnson on this rant, but the space action was very central to this issue and the poor technical art really pulled down my enjoyment of this issue. (NOTE: John Nadeau will be rejoining the title for issues #33-35 just to work on technical issues. Yay!)

The style of the characters is still enjoyable in general (except for Chewbacca... who now looks like a bald man with a big beard), but the novelty is starting to wear off and the style might be a little light for the subject matter at hand.

This is the weak link in what has been a strong chain. For a change, the poor technical art and cartoony characters were not saved by strong plot nor strong characterization. In hindsight, "Masquerade" would have been better told as a three issue arc combining #3 and #4 into one issue. This didn't hold my interest, even after a long comic-starved June.

5/10. Not 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.

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