My love for the Star Wars universe runs deep. When I first heard that Disney was buying the Star Wars franchise I was apprehensive; when it was announced that all existing canon was being scrapped minus the films and TV shows, my reaction was akin to Kylo Ren finding out that Rey has escaped. It was truly crushing to me that all the books and comics that I’ve collected over the years suddenly didn’t count anymore.
A friend of mine helped me get over it by reminding me that all the old stories I’ve collected are still there for me to enjoy, this just means I’ll be getting twice the amount of Star Wars adventures to consume. Thus far I’ve done a fair job of collecting the now-canon Marvel trades, but I’ve found myself wanting more.
Charles Soule is in a truly unique scenario with Poe Dameron. He’s earned the opportunity to help fill in the blanks for a brand new character in a brand new chapter in the Star Wars universe. Rey, Finn, Kylo, Poe and so many other characters have origins that we can only guess at. How did the Resistance form? Where did the First Order originate? Who are the Knights of Ren? Why did Luke run away? These are all things any Star Wars fan will ask themselves and hypothesize over with their friends. Stories such as these are here to fill in those blanks and at the same time give fans new adventures to enjoy. There are still two films to go, so Soule is tasked with telling a great story while at the same time working within the large constraint of not being able to give too much away.
So how did Soule and Noto do? Is it good?
Star Wars: Poe Dameron #12 (Marvel Comics)
Official Marvel synopsis:
“Poe is on the run from Terex’s forces with only C-3PO and BB-8 to help him! Can the greatest pilot in the galaxy survive without a ship? PLUS: A traitor revealed?!”
I’d yet to flip to the first page before Phil Noto already impressed me. Noto is known for his retro photorealistic style and this cover is an encapsulation of exactly that–it’s quite simply fantastic. His use of a soft-edged wispy aesthetic is masterfully put on display and gifts the reader with warm fuzzy feelings of Star Wars nostalgia. Poe may be a new character to the Star Wars universe but seeing him and C-3PO being chased across a desert by a combination of what appears to be a TIE fighter and X-wing left me feeling great before I’d even started reading the story.
Oddy was revealed in the last issue as the leak within Black Squadron and given his scenario it’s hard to call him a traitor or spy. But even after this revelation it appears that the spy scenario may not be as simple as it would appear. The combat droid N1-ZX may or may not be feeding C-3PO false information. If Poe can make it out of this situation alive, we might just find out if N1-ZX actually knows where Supreme Leader Snoke is located. Given the film’s lack of information on Snoke and the general lack of information overall on him, I have high hopes for N1-ZX to produce.
Terex continues to be the star of the Poe Dameron show. We’ve seen Terex actively work to destroy the Resistance, operate as a First Order officer and run one of the most dangers crime syndicates in the galaxy. All at the same time! It’s a tribute to Soule’s writing that none of this seems at all far fetched. Terex handles the situation at hand brilliantly by using the Rancs gang to circumvent Supreme Leader Snoke’s mandate of no open hostilities against the New Republic/Resistance.
Soule did a nice job using a non-traditional group of characters to put together an action-packed issue. Poe is cornered in a cave system on a remote desert planet he crashed on with BB-8, C-3PO and the one-armed N1-ZX. The odds aren’t in his favor for making it out of this. The two Resistance droids use their skill sets in creative means to try and buy time for Poe to fend off Terex as he awaits rescue from his fellow members of Black Squadron.
The issue leaves us with a setup for what I hope to be the final confrontation of this story arc. Black Squadron arrives on scene and is poised for battle with Terex’s star fighter fleet, even though they’re outnumbered 5 to 1. Poe is out of allies on the ground and Terex has discovered something about C-3PO that could make him more worth Terex’s time than Poe.