Star Wars Omnibus
X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Volume 2
Story by: Michael A. Stackpole
Distributed By: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Having read the first collection of the action-packed comic book series that follows the snub-fighter flying members of the Rogue Squadron shortly after the Battle of Endor, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Squadron: Volume 2. I needed to know more about the new members of Rogue Squadron and how Wedge was handling being the leader of the group.
Volume 2 begins with a Forward written by my favorite Star Wars author Timothy Zahn, in which Zahn explains what it was like to swap Star Wars ideas with Michael A. Stackpole, writer of the X-Wing comic book series and half of the X-Wing novel series. He jokes about the experience, discussing how they would each call one another when they were signed on for a new project, asking permission to use certain characters as a courtesy, even though, once signed on to work in the Star Wars Universe, authors usually have carte blanche when it comes to the characters. It was a nice introduction to the second volume of the X-Wing Rogue Squadron series.
This volume of Star Wars: Omnibus: X-wing Rogue Squadron contains the Star Wars: X-wing – Rogue Squadron Special and issues #9-20 of the Star Wars: X-Wing – Rogue Squadron series. In addition to the short story contained in the Special, there are three storylines contained in this volume – Battleground Tatooine, Warrior Princess and Requiem for a Rogue. In the Rogue Squadron Special, Wedge Antilles and his squadron of fighters rescues the people of the planet Tandankin from Imperial rule. Unfortunately, his method for doing so incurs the wrath of the very people he was trying to save. But a surprise appearance by a very special Rogue puts everything right again and Wedge is once again hailed a hero.
Battleground: Tatooine hails the return of covert operative Winter as the Rogues attempt to locate an Imperial weapons cache. All evidence unfortunately points to a former Rogue member’s father, making for some uncomfortable feelings all around. We soon discover that a Ryloth named Firth Olin, using the brain of his relative Bib Fortuna (Jabba’s former right-hand man), is responsible for hording a great deal of the weapons. When he joins forces with Imperial Captain Semtin, who has access to the hidden Imperial base known as Eidolon, the Rogues are forced to join up with Imperial Special Forces members in an effort to stop them. This story is important to the Star Wars cannon – it is the first time that the feelings Winter has for Tycho Celchu are revealed. Star Wars novel fans will remember that these two become star-crossed lovers and eventually marry. I for one loved the ending of this storyline as each of the bad guys got what was coming to them.
In Warrior Princess, the true identity of Plourr Ilo is revealed – she is the long-lost Princess of Eiattu. As a young child, hunted by evil members of the government who massacred her family, Plourr had saved herself by running from the only place she ever truly called home. Now, the world of Eiattu is warring with itself and the Imperials currently occupying it. Two factions, one filled with members of the old government and one rebel group led by Harran, the long-lost Prince of Eiattu, are at odds as to how to wrest the planet from the Imperials and how the planet is to be ruled after this feat is accomplished. Plourr Ilo should be happy to learn that she was not the only surviving family member of her line, but somehow, this news seems to only anger her. We soon realize that all is not what it seems on Eiattu as we sift through all of the subterfuge to discover the truth behind the power struggle on Eiattu.
In Requiem for a Rogue, we find the members of Rogue Squadron, minus Plourr, attempting to locate the missing Bothan starship known as Starfaring. When they discover her on a planet in the Malrev System, things seem too easy. As it turns out, they were right – the planet is actually home to a Sith temple, where a minor disciple is now exerting his Sith powers on the local inhabitants of the planet. To make matters worse, the Rogues soon realize that one of the Bothan survivors of the Starfaring actually caused the ship to crash land on the planet in an effort to seek out this temple and claim the Sith power for his own. It is in this storyline that the Rogues suffer the first major losses since the Battle of Endor.
Michael A. Stackpole has done it again! The writing of this series - the dogfights, the quips between characters, the action scenes, the lulls between the action – all of it is just perfect. The story of Rogue Squadron is riveting and as you turn the pages, you find that you can’t put the trade paperback down until you’ve viewed the last panel. Star Wars: Omnibus: X-wing Rogue Squadron: Volume 2 further defines the characters we met in the first volume. And, although there are losses incurred in this volume, the sacrifices made by those lost are hugely important to the galaxy at large. The events in this series of comics help to shape the characters we see in the X-Wing novels.
As far as artwork is concerned, the panels themselves are not masterpieces. They are decently drawn, but nothing compared to some of the artwork we see in comics today. However, I do feel I should mention some masterpiece-like cover art included in this volume. In my opinion, the best of the cover art belongs to Mark Harrison for his depiction of Warrior Princess. The color, the attention to detail – these things wowed me as I opened the trade paperback to this page. Coming in at a distant second is the cover for Requiem for a Rogue by Stuart Hiner, whose portrayal of an X-Wing going down in flames was rather striking.
At approximately $20.00, Star Wars: Omnibus: X-wing Rogue Squadron: Volume 2 may seem a bit pricey. However, when you think of the amount of comics compiled in this trade paperback and the significance of the story arcs, any Star Wars fan would find this price to be a steal.