So, for those of you who don’t know Poe Dameron is probably my second favorite Star Wars title currently running (after Doctor Aphra, though the new Darth Vader is also a serious contender). I thought this issue was really strong and pretty ground-breaking from an in-universe standpoint, so let’s just jump right in.
First, it was totally gorgeous. The cover was one of my favorite Star Wars comic covers I’ve seen so far, I totally loved it. Actually, all of my favorite titles have been crushing their covers lately. Marvel doesn’t have a reputation for doing narrative covers anymore, but they’ve been doing it for Star Wars (at least with Doctor Aphra, Darth Vader and Poe Dameron) and they’ve really been nailing them. The cover is really simple for this with a lot of clean lines but is somehow unique and eye-catching. It really captures Poe as a character too, I just really love it.
The interior art was also great. Poe Dameron is usually one of the better Star Wars comics art wise, but Angel Unzueta and Arif Prianto really outdid themselves this time, Leia looked amazing in her princess outfit and all of the colors were absolutely fantastic.
Yeah, we saw Leia in decked out like a princess again, you know, if me telling you how great the art looked wasn’t enough, that happened. And there’s really nothing like Leia snapping at people not to call her a princess when she’s clearly purposefully dressed like a princess. It’s peak Leia. Leia alone is enough of a reason to read this comic. In fact, the whole issue is really about her part in this whole plan, and the issue really showcases her. Even if you’re not usually into the Poe comics or new trilogy, this is worth reading for any Leia fans, she’s absolutely great in it.
Now, moving on to the hardcore Star Wars nerd stuff (and there is a lot of it today). As usual, spoilers for the whole canon up until now. Trust me, today you’ll need them.
I know you all want me to talk about what Lor San Tekka was saying about Force, and I promise we will, but first let’s talk about the situation on Cato Neimoidia for a minute, because it actually tells us a lot more about the state of the galaxy than you may first think. It sort of seems like it’s how it was at the end of the Republic (back when it was part of Confederacy of Independent Systems), but less organized and more violent. The Trade Federation were corrupt but they were very successful at commerce, now the planet is just made up of bunch of greedy Barons making their own laws, accountable to no one and willing to murder each other to convince people that this is a safe place to keep their stuff. They used to be the Ferengi, now they’re the fucking Lannisters.
Setting aside the fact that this is a terrible business model, it’s pretty alarming from a galactic government point of view. Sure, the Empire was evil but at least it was a central authority that everyone was accountable to in one way or another. The Rebellion set the galaxy free, but some people have done some pretty terrible things with freedom, and the New Republic Senate isn’t exactly doing much about it. And it seems that the real winners from this are (as I once predicted) the ruling classes of the former Separatist planets (at least those that Tarkin didn’t completely wipe out). So, that’s a pretty serious political problem, but I don’t know how to to what degree we’ll go into or deal with it.
Now, we can talk about the Force shit. So, I know this seems crazy and out there and weird but is it? Or is it just everything the new movie seems to promise us with its title alone? I’m glad we’re laying this concepts down though, I guess. Though I think that between the Bendu and probably whatever those ridiculous Mononoke Force Wolves are up to, Rebels has also done a lot of legwork on this. Also, I think that we have been driving toward dark and light working together in a lot of different areas in the universe, but it’s good to know that the signs of this are real, and it’s not just apophenia on my part.
So yeah, the dark and the light can work together and be united, isn’t that nice? Except that, given the greater context of the secular galaxy, there are only two situations in which that really works. First one in which both those who serve the dark and the light are threatened by a single, greater enemy. Second, one in which those who wield the force separate themselves entirely from the rest of the galaxy. Because absent those two situations, those who are aligned with the light will be aligned with either democracies, theocracies or constitutional monarchies and those who serve the dark will support authoritarian or militaristic rule. Because the light believes in the inherent value of each being and the dark believes in the subjugation of the weak by the strong. And since even secular people seem to fall on one side of the fence or the other, the divides naturally exist within Star Wars society, the force wielders just fall into them.
Honestly, Lor San Tekka blaming the Jedi vs. Sith conflict for all of the wars in galactic history sort of feels like when Diana blames Ares for all human war in the Wonder Woman film. At most the Jedi and Sith could influence and exacerbate underlying conflicts, but they couldn’t cause them. The First Order doesn’t exist because of the Sith. It was started by Rae Sloane and Brendol Hux, against Palpatine’s express wishes. It was its own fascist thing that happened because Rae Sloane didn’t stop believing in authoritarianism once all the dark siders were gone, and they weren’t the reason she believed in it to begin with. It was just who she was. I just don’t think we can instantly find middle ground because the Force wielders start getting along.
So, yeah, in summary, I know the idea of the “dark and the light standing united” is appealing, but don’t be too drawn in by it. After all, alliances mean compromises and, as we know from the Clone Wars, Force wielders compromising their ideals leads to corruption and weakness, not peace and harmony. Perhaps there is another way, but, for now, color me skeptical of the idea that dark and light (both Force sensitive and secular) could work together sustainably without a common enemy.
Still, I think this is a really important concept that we’ve introduced, and this issue was pretty landmark both in terms of the current state of galactic politics and underlying ideas. Definitely if you’re a Star Wars person, or even want to just be sure you’re prepared for the next movie, I would suggest you start getting into Poe Dameron.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Art: 5 Stars
Cover: 5 Stars
Dialogue: 5 Stars
Plot/Relevance: 5 Stars
(W) Charles Soule (A) Angel Unzueta (CA) Phil Noto