Comic Review: Star Wars – Rogue Squadron: The Rebel Opposition
I’m continuing with Dark Horse’s run of Star Wars comics with probably one of the most beloved spinoffs not created with Timothy Zahn.
Writers: Michael A. Stackpole & Mike Baron
Penciller: Allen Nunis
Inker: Andy Mushynsky
Letterer: Steve Dutro
Colorist: Dave Nestelle
Cover artist: Dave Dorman
A few years after the Battle of Endor (but before the taking of Coruscant), Rogue Squadron, commanded by Wedge Antilles, is performing an escort mission to assist several freighters transporting food from Cilpar to Mrlsst. The Alliance doesn’t hold Mrlsst, but there is a resistance movement on the planet that is sympathetic to the Alliance, and an Alliance operative – Targeter (Winter), has made contact with the group.
However, on arrival, the Rogues find not a convoy, but an Imperial ambush. Wes Janson is shot down but survives and Tycho Celchu lands to recover Janson, only to find that he’s in no condition to be flown back in his speeder’s tow sled. When the Rogues land and make camp, they are ambushed by the Cilpar resistance, who claims that Alliance forces on the planet have joined up with the Empire. Wedge is rather confused by this. Wedge tries to persuade the leader of the Cilpar resistance – Elscol Loro – that this must be an Imperial trick, while also trying to find the Rebel cell and Tycho and Janson.
Meanwhile, Tycho and Janson make contact with Winter – and find out about the plans of the local Imperial garrison, lead by Moff Boren Tascl. She suspects that Tascl has a mole within the Cilpar resistance. Wedge is coming to the same conclusion as well, but he’s not sure who.
Tycho infiltrates the Imperial Garrison, with the assistance of a stolen uniform provided by Winter. Tycho, who is from Alderaan, can talk the talk, as he’s a former Imperial officer who later defected. He ends up getting roped into flying against the Rogues but ends up getting shot down by Winter in his own fighter.
After Winter returns to Janson, the two are captured by the mole in the resistance – Vance Rego – a confidant of Elscol. He mistakes Winter for Leia, and takes them both to Tascl, before leaking word of the capture to the Resistance as a trap. Wedge is not stupid and spots the trap – and with the assistance of Elscol and her Wookie companion Groznik, along with the actions of Winter, Tycho, and Janson, they turn the tables on the Imperials, capturing Tascl, taking out the garrison, and causing Vance to exit, pursued by the local carnivorous wildlife.
- The Empire covered up the true cause of the destruction of Alderaan and the existence of the Death Star from the rank and file.
- We visit the planet Cilpar, which is settled, but which has some very hazardous wildlife.
- We’re introduced to one of the Star Wars universe’s versions of coffee, which is toxic to the local carnivorous wildlife – the Ronk.
- The Ronk are also attracted to light.
- Winter: I don’t think I mentioned this earlier – but she’s got an uncanny resemblance to Princess Leia, enough for her to possibly be a body double.
- Wedge Antilles: Officially got an assist for the kill on the second Death Star.
- Tycho Celchu: From Alderaan. Was on the comm with his girlfriend and their family when Alderaan was destroyed. Also flew alongside Wedge and Lando in the attack on the Second Death Star, but his A-Wing was told to pull out before the main chamber, to draw some of the TIEs out with him.
- Wes Janson: Not only made it through Hoth but also made it through Endor.
- Plourr Ilo: Pilot in Rogue Squadron. One of the first female X-Wing pilots we’ve seen so far (as sadly the female pilots from Endor were cut out of Return of the Jedi.)
- Dllr Nep: Sullustan pilot. Very musically inclined, and has extremely sensitive ears.
While Dark Horse doesn’t have any truck with the Comics Code (as evidenced with the Jabba comic and River of Chaos), The Rebel Opposition introduces a lot of the fake swear words that would show up through the rest of the X-Wing series, along with later Star Wars writers.
This is a good kickoff to the X-Wing series, the characterization of the squadron is good, and it fits with the core concept of a series where the leads of the main Star Wars films are completely absent. No Han, no Luke, no Leia, no Lando, no Chewie – not even Threepio or R2-D2. This is a book about the rank and file of the Alliance military. Consequently, it’s a really fun lead, and it’s one of the books that I – and clearly a lot of other people – wanted from the Star Wars universe.