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‘Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 2: The Gathering Storm’ digs up the past and lays groundwork for the future

Get ready for a wild and crazy ride as we dive into the second volume Charles Soule’s Poe Dameron. We’ll follow Poe Dameron and Agent Terex, two soldiers on opposite sides of a cold war, across space as they march on a collision course to their final confrontation.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 2: The Gathering Storm
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Phil Noto
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Marvel synopsis:

Continuing the adventures of the ace-pilot hero of Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Poe Dameron faces the wrath of a vengeful Agent Terex! But how does Terex always seem to know what Black Squadron is doing? Could there truly be a traitor in the Squadron’s midst? Poe will undertake a secret mission from General Leia Organa herself: to escort none other than C-3PO on a dangerous journey to the planet Kaddak! Can they complete the mission and keep their key informant intact? Or will Terex’s past somehow come back to haunt them? Join Poe and Threepio as they take on the First Order!

What’s the skinny?

No matter how clever and careful Poe Dameron is, First Order Security Bureau Officer Agent Terex has managed to stay one step ahead of him. As coincidence and bad luck continue to pile onto Poe’s plate, it starts to become abundantly clear that the only way Terex could out maneuver him so well is if someone within the Resistance was feeding him information. The worst part is it’s not just the Resistance that has the leak, but Black Squadron itself, General Organa’s personal covert ops unit that’s compiled of Poe’s closest friends and allies. With General Organa assigning Poe to a top secret mission, he has little time to figure out how to lead Black Squadron, find the traitor and complete his mission.

As a new character to the Star Wars universe, we know very little of Agent Terex’s past and the motivation that drives him to be such a thorn in the Resistance’s side. That all changes in volume two as the fog surrounding Terex’s origin and drive is finally lifted. You’ll get to see the defining moment of his life on Jakku that led him to become the leader of a cutthroat mercenary pirate gang and later First Order Security Bureau operative that we see today.

There are plenty of great supporting characters along the way from both sides of the fight–C-3PO and BB-8 are along for the ride with good guys, with Captain Phasma and her First Order cronies in Terex’s camp.

What’s the catch?

The First Order passes on an easy opportunity to take out the best pilot in the Resistance and all of Black Squadron. What gives?

A one armed assassin droid takes out nine armed space pirates, only to be then taken out by one dude with a blaster rifle. Admittedly I feel like I’m nitpicking a bit here, as this part of the story was hugely entertaining and rather hilarious.

Is it good?

I only found two problems with this story across six issues of comics and it could be argued that Soule provides enough logic to explain both scenarios. My issue of course being, I don’t agree with his logic around the First Order’s decision not to kill Poe and Black Squadron. But given that this is the only problem worth writing about throughout the entire story arc, I’d say Soule did a really nice job here.

Consistentency is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Phil Noto’s work in Poe Dameron. From start to finish there wasn’t a single panel or page I noticed that felt like the artist wasn’t giving his full effort and attention. It’s not easy to bring a starship to life that’s compiled of X-wing, TIE interceptor and AT-AT parts, but Noto sure makes it look that way. The other standouts here are the covers. Wow are they fantastic! There’s one for each issue and they’re all so damn pretty.

There’s so much about this story that I enjoyed and the top level plot was just plain awesome. Charles Soule did a great job further developing Poe Dameron’s character by adding more than just fancy flying to his resume. We’re able to watch Poe struggle with loyalty, completing a dangerous mission and fighting on the ground, an environment his combat skills aren’t known for. On the other side of the coin the motivations, history and convictions of Agent Terex are laid bare. Despite returning to the life of crime from his past, Terex is still loyal to the First Order and is hell bent on handing destroying Poe and the Resistance.

If you look a little deeper you’ll also find plenty of humor, nods to a few characters seen in The Force Awakens and a ship tied to a famous character from the Empire’s past. This story takes you on a ride across the edges of known space, provides a unique cast of supporting characters, visits remote alien worlds, digs up the past and lays down the framework for the future. Most importantly reading this story was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Resistance and its best pilot.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 2: The Gathering Storm
Is it good?
The Gathering Storm takes you on a ride across the edges of known space, provides a unique cast of supporting characters, visits remote alien worlds, digs up the past and lays down the framework for the future. Most importantly reading this story was a lot of fun.
The quality of the artwork is awesomely consistent from start to finish
Terex origins explained
Phil Noto's covers are utterly fantastic
Pirates, space battles, assassin droids, alien creatures, spies...need I go on?
The First Order passes on the opportunity to take out Poe and Black Squadron

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