CB: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron #5-8 (The Phantom Affair)

Ah, even in the X-Wing series the Jedi have to rear their ugly heads!

Cover Art By: Mathieu Lauffray
Art By: Edvin Biukovic & John Nadeau
Written By: Darko Macan & Michael A. Stackpole

The Phantom Affair is a much better offering than The Rebel Opposition, but it’s still very incontinent and peters out the closer it gets to its conclusion. Prior to said conclusion The Phantom Affair was a fun read, one that used a simple premise and simple ideas to present an engaging story. It’s unfortunate that Darko Macan and Michael A. Stackpole felt the need to tie the story up in such a convoluted fashion.

There are too many exposition info dumps that plague The Phantom Affair, but at this point I’ve come to the realization that those are a given in Star Wars comics that take the tact that there is a lot of back story and who knows what the reader has actually read of said back story. Outside of the clunky exposition the story in The Phantom Affair is very simple and that’s why for three quarters of the arc it works so well. It’s the Rebel Alliance versus the Galactic Empire, and it’s really hard to get that wrong. That’s why so much of the opening story succeeds, there are good guys, bad guys, and the characters stuck in the middle.

The third act of the arc is when it lost me as a reader. The simplicity of the first two acts was tossed out the window in favor of a complicated resolution that really doesn’t hold up and is far too confusing for its own good. Misters Macan and Stackpole tried for some poetic moments in the very final panels, but the confounding nature of the panels that made up the rest of the ending rendered the poetry moot. I don’t know why the story had to turn into a confusing cluster of one note characters, explosions, and character sacrifices that didn’t mean anything. But, it did, and that really hurt The Phantom Affair.

I appreciated the art more in The Phantom Affair than in The Rebel Opposition. There was a switch in the final two issues of the arc and that did lead to some inconsistencies within the artwork. The styles of Edvin Biukovic and John Nadeau didn’t completely mesh and that made the changeover a tad jarring. Still, overall the art was enjoyable, it was clean, and the panels were easy to understand.

I could have done without the Jedi having to weasel their way into the story. I definitely could have done without Groznik exiting the story so quickly. However, on the whole I enjoyed the majority of The Phantom Affair. It’s ending does leave something to be desired, but what comes before the ending was enjoyable and made for an interesting read.





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