Review: Poe Dameron #19

Poe Dameron has long been one of my favorite lines of the Star Wars comics, outlasting other favorites such as Kanan and Anakin and Obi Wan and starting earlier than Doctor Aphra. For a long while, this comic was basically our only source of information about the setting of the new trilogy in the extended canon, except Bloodline and even that is set earlier than the movies and features more of a transition to where we are by the time of the movies.

This comic has been a fast-paced, action-packed adventure full of interesting details, fascinating insights, enjoyable characters and fun dialogue. Not only was Agent Terex an amusing and interesting villain in his own right, this comic gave us the first glimpse of how terrifying and brilliant of an enemy Captain Phasma is. The art for Poe Dameron has also been above average for the Star Wars comics, in my opinion, easily in the top five lines, in my opinion.

This issue was the culmination of the hunt for Poe’s Black Squadron, carried out by Captain Phasma’s subordinates, Commander Malarus and Agent Terex and I enjoyed watching it play out. While I find Malarus less compelling than Phasma or Terex, I do think that she is the sort of villain we need at this stage in the story, and I still find her more amusing than most of the short-term antagonists I see in the Star Wars comics. This comic generally does a great job of holding up the standard of excellent villains and engaging dialogue that we all see as central to Star Wars.

For anyone who is interested in learning more about the setting and characters central to the new trilogy, I would suggest reading all of Poe Dameron, it really brings the, admittedly occasionally overwhelming, setting of The Force Awakens alive and is definitely one of the most fun comics currently running. The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of in this issue was the cover. It wasn’t bad, but I felt it wasn’t as well done as some of the others on this line have been. This issue’s variant cover was a 40th Anniversary celebration cover, so it featured Luke and Leia rather than the Poe or anyone else in the comic, but I did like that one.

Now, onto the fun stuff for the more intense Star Wars fans. As always, spoilers for the entire current canon, just in case. With the The Last Jedi fast approaching, we’re getting a great deal of new, material relevant to the new trilogy. Given the events of this issue, I assume that the Poe Dameron comic will soon be coming to a close, assuming it ends with Poe finding Lor San Tekka on Jakku.

The last few issues, and this one in particular have done a good job setting up exactly how we end up with Phasma and Kylo personally tracking Poe to Jakku. I’ll admit I’m a huge fan of Phasma, but I think almost anyone can start to feel bad for her at this point. The second she entrusts a single task to any of her subordinates, they seem to almost compulsively mismanage the situation. I know this is a chronic problem for the more competent and intelligent villains, but even Pryce and Thrawn’s subordinates do things right occasionally. …And being compromised by incompetent or treacherous subordinates and coworkers is basically half of their characterization.

That being said, I was pretty happy with how the whole situation turned out, and I’m actually coming to enjoy Poe’s old, morally dubious friend Suralinda, who is becoming increasingly loyal to the Resistance and morally upright. I know we’ve seen a lot of stories regarding the Resistance and the Rebellion and their ability to change people by example and offers of forgiveness, from amoral smugglers like Han Solo to bounty hunters, petty criminals and even Imperials such as Sabine Wren, Ezra Bridger and Agent Kallus in Star Wars: Rebels, but it’s important to show how the Rebellion and the Resistance do more than just fight evil governments: they help and change other people for the better. Even if that change doesn’t always result in a happy ending.

I personally think it’s surprisingly compelling that  Suralinda came to the Resistance to help tell the story of how they’re better than the First Order, to help them win the propaganda war, and now finds herself changed by the very stories she hopes to use to change others and convince them to help. And as Poe Dameron draws to a close, I hope we cover not only the meeting of Lor San Tekka and Poe, which is a foregone conclusion, given the opening of the film, but also the resolution of Suralinda’s arc and the impact her story has on the public perceptions of the Resistance and the First Order.

This issue was, given the contents, pretty important to the entire Poe Dameron comic, definitely not one to miss for anyone invested in the setting of the new trilogy. It was also pretty fun and well written, I enjoyed a lot of the dialogue and thought that the art for this issue was particularly good. I for one am greatly anticipating the remainder of this comic.

Rating: 4.7 Stars

Art: 5 Stars
Cover: 4.5 Stars
Dialogue: 5 Stars
Plot/Relevance: 5 Stars

(W) Charles Soule (A) Angel Unzueta (CA) Phil Noto

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