Comic Review: Poe Dameron Annual #1

The Creative Team:

Published By: Marvel Comics
Released On:
21 June 2017
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Penciller: Nicole Virella

The Synopsis:

Poe Dameron has never been one to follow the rules. So when he disobeys a direct order from General Leia Organa and gets stranded in First Order space…with no ship and little oxygen…how will he survive?

The Plot:

This one shot comic is set before The Force Awakens and follows Poe Dameron on one of his many adventures while working for the Resistance.  The issue opens ‘before’ the current time of the comic, with Poe apologising to General Leia Organa for a reconnaissance mission that got out of hand.  Leia is quick to point out to Poe that he is cocky and that this reckless behaviour is going to get him killed.

The comic quickly shifts to the present, where Poe is awoken by BB-8.  He finds that both he and the droid are stranded in space after pursuing a distress signal against General Organa’s orders.  Poe quickly realises that they are in a minefield and that the only way they are going to get out of the situation is to head to the ship that is still transmitting the distress signal.  To make matters worse, Poe discovers that his blaster only has one or two shots left, his lifes support is damaged and he has no way of getting to the ship. BB-8 tries to pull Poe to the ship, but with little effect, forcing Poe to use his blaster on one of the mines. With the explosion from the mine, Poe and BB-8 sail towards the ship and are able to enter, just before Poe’s life support fails. Once aboard, Poe find his way to the docking bay where he is shocked to find First Order stormtroopers up to something.  One of the troopers spots Poe…

Flash back to ‘before’ and we return to Poe still apologising to Leia.  Leia explains to Poe that the Resistance is more than one man, that the key is to not act alone, but to work as part of a team.

…Back to the present, the trooper that spotted Poe has gone in search of him.  Thinking he has found him, the trooper tells Poe not to move but is quickly accosted by BB-8. With the trooper incapacitated, Poe and BB-8 are able to fake a hull breach, forcing the remaining troopers in the docking bay to leave.  With the area cleared, BB-8 accesses the ship’s computers to find that the troopers are loading explosives to smuggle to the peaceful planet of Jaelen. When finding out who ordered this, Poe does not want to believe the answer.

Seeing an escape pod, Poe works quickly to collect the explosives and load them onto the pod. Before he can join BB-8 on the pod, a host of stormtroopers arrive.  Ordering BB-8 to leave and pass the information they have found to General Organa, Poe sacrifices himself to give BB-8 the best chance of escape.  Before the Stormtroopers have time to attack Poe, Black Squadron arrive to rescue him.

The comic moves to it’s finale, ‘later’.  General Organa is thanking Poe for stopping the First Order and is impressed with the way he was willing to sacrifice himself for the Resistance.  In the last frame, Poe explains to General Organa that the explosives were ordered by Terex, who he now knows is alive.

The Review:

So, as a reader of the Poe Dameron series, how did the first annual do? To be honest, it was somewhat disappointing. The story is a very simple one, enjoyable yes, but when you have an annual, that has the extra page count of a regular issue, I’d be expecting something a bit more.  An annual is an event, something to draw readers in and is a very careful balancing act by the writer.  Not only do they have to please the fans of the series who already know what has happened before, but they also need to engage the new readers who will only just be discovering the series.  For me, the balance was far too skewed to the new readers.  The big reveal at the end, the pay off, is already known to readers of the series and is therefore rather anti-climatic.  There is also the inherent problem with this series, we know our main character survives.  Set before The Force Awakens, we know Poe Dameron will survive whatever ordeals he has to come face to face with.

What I did love about this comic, were the characters.  The dialogue for Leia was perfect.  There are few authors who can get the voice of a character right, yet Thompson has no issue with Leia.  Her remarks about Poe are linked directly to Han Solo and it’s good to see Han brought into the story, if only as a reference.  The other character to have shone in this issue was BB-8.  In fact I do wonder if this should have been a BB-8 annual rather than a Poe Dameron one.  The little droid did not disappoint.  It was refreshing to see how BB-8 is inferior to R2-D2 in certain ways, notably the lack of rocket thrusters, and yet still has the creative thinking to get him and Poe out of situations.

On the whole, the artwork was ok.  Poe’s flight suit looked fantastic as did BB-8.  My only complaint would be the over cartoonist style that seems to appear on Poe’s face when speaking to Leia, it didn’t suit the issue.

Overall, this annual felt a bit of a let down.  As a follower of the series, I was expecting something more, something to treat regular readers to.  Yet the sole focus of this comic seems to have been for the new fans.  If you are just starting to read the series, this comic is an excellent jumping on point and from that perspective I can’t recommend it enough.  If you are like me however, you may find the predictability and the ending of this annual to be a little disappointing.  With so many fantastic comics coming from Marvel at the moment, I do wonder where the future of this series is heading.

Issue Cover Variants:


Availability:

Poe Dameron Annual #1 is a one-shot comic from Marvel and available from all good comic stores now.

Mark 'Spooked Hippie' Alders
Mark’s day job is a primary school teacher, where in his classroom you will find life size cut outs of Darth Vader and Chewbacca, trying his best to educate the youth of today in the ways of the force.