Star Wars Omnibus

X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Volume 3

Story by: Michael A. Stackpole

Distributed By: Dark Horse Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            Once I had read the first two volumes of Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron, I could hardly pass on reading Volume 3.  This is the final volume and collects issues # 21-35 of the X-Wing Rogue Squadron comic book series.  It features the story arcs In the Empire’s Service, The Making of Baron Fel, Family Ties, Masquerade and Mandatory Retirement, all written by Michael A. Stackpole.

            This volume of Rogue Squadron tales begins nine months after the Battle of Endor.  The Rogues are racing around the galaxy taking on the remnants of the Empire.  They may have defeated the Emperor and divided the Imperial governments, but they still have not completely won the war.  Short pilots, Wedge is forced to fortify his forces with replacement pilots, each with a great deal of skill, but little experience in fighting the sorts of battles Rogue Squadron is called upon to wage.  One recruit, Xarcce Huwla, even offers to resign his position in the squadron, because, as he puts it, he doesn’t wish to die.  The reasoning behind this statement is that Rogue Squadron is often sent on missions that any other squadron would never come back from.  Wedge soon realizes that Xarcce’s observation is right on the mark as he and his Rogues embark on mission after impossible mission for the New Republic, each mission threatening to be the last for Rogue Squadron.

             The story arcs contained in this volume of the Rogue Squadron Omnibus are incredible and kudos to Michael A. Stackpole whose writing holds a captive audience glued to its chair until the last page is turned.  The only story arc that I found less than exciting was In the Empire’s Service.  However, that story arc was essential as the jumping off point for the rest of the series.  The Making of Baron Fel sheds light on the Imperial flying ace’s past, allowing readers to understand how someone with such high morals could fall prey to the leadership of the Empire.  The story of his defection to the New Republic is incredibly intriguing.  Family Ties, in which members of Rogue Squadron search for Baron Fel’s wife in an effort to save her from the wrath of the Empire, introduces us to Corsec Investigators Corran Horn and Iella Wessiri.  As any Star Wars fan knows, Iella is destined to become Wedge Antilles’ wife and Corran Horn is to become one of Rogue Squadrons most infamous pilots.  It is this tale that brings up the idea of recruiting Horn in the future for his piloting skills. 

            As Director Ysanne Isard  makes her bid for power among the Imperial remnants, the leaders of the Empire realize that their time as ruler in the galaxy may be limited.  One such leader, Lord Sate Pestage decides to enter into negotiations with Princess Leia and the New Republic on the planet Eiattu in an effort to save his hide and retain some semblance of power.  Masquerade marks the return of Leonia Tavira, a former Imperial commander turned pirate, who, in attempting to kidnap Princess Leia at Eiattu, ends up with more than she bargained for.  Fans of Han Solo and Chewbacca will be happy to hear that they play a big role in this story arc. 

            It all gets wrapped up in the final story Mandatory Retirement.  Wedge and his Rogues are called upon to save Lord Pestage, now an Imperial prisoner accused of treason.  This particular mission evokes great debate within the ranks of the New Republic as some are loathe to use their resources to come to the aide of a high ranking member of the Empire.  The Rogues are forced to use whatever allies they have to complete the rescue mission.  Unfortunately, the target of this mission is frustratingly less than cooperative.

            As always, author Michael Stackpole’s writing is incredibly captivating.  Whether describing a dogfight or a love scene, Stackpole’s writing puts you there in the moment – everything seems incredible real.  That is why I’ve always loved his novels.  However, when you add the artwork included in this comic book series, the story is even more believable.  Drew Johnson and Gary Hall should be awarded for their work on this series, providing the most realistic looking Leia in the series, as well as the hottest Isard I’ve ever seen.  John Nadeau’s cover art is amazing.  The artwork created by Nadeau for the series is great, but I disagree with his interpretation of what Isard should look like.  In all accounts I’ve read about the character, she’s always been evil and ice-hard looking, yet incredibly attractive.  Nadeau’s Isard is evil and decrepit looking.  I was not very happy with Steve Crespo’s work in the Mandatory Retirement story arc as I found it to be too cartoonish for my taste. 

            As the final collection of Rogue Squadron comic books, Star Wars Omnibus: X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Volume 3 contains the best story arcs and the most impressive artwork of the bunch.  Having read the numerous Star Wars novels out there, I was happy to discover that a great deal of the characters could be found in this particular trade paperback.  I have an incredibly vivid imagination and it was nice to see the characters I imagined brought to life in comic book format.  The story arcs contained in this series are essential reads for anyone interested in the X-Wing novel series as the events in the comic book series have a great deal of impact on what happens in the novels.  The price of $25.00US may seem steep, but when you consider the amount of comics collected in this volume, the incredible writing and terrific art work, as a Star Wars fan,  how can you go wrong?! 


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