Comic Review: Poe Dameron #16

The Creative Team:

Published By: Marvel Comics
Released On:
28 June 2017
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciller: Angel Unzueta Galarza

The Synopsis:

Who is Malarus and what does she want? Meanwhile, the Resistance is running dangerously low on supplies. Poe and Black Squadron are on the case!

The Plot:

Issue sixteen of Poe Dameron is part three of the Legend Lost arc. The ‘legend’ is Duros pilot L’ulo who died in the previous story arc and was also featured in the Shattered Empire series. His death still weighs heavily on Poe and Black Squadron, who have been sent out by General Organa to retrieve fuel for the Resistance. Unfortunately, the First Order has stolen the fuel from the tanker Poe and his team have intercepted and find that it is now a massive bomb. In a Speed like scenario, they are unable to slow down without triggering the bomb.

Racing through asteroids, Poe tries his best to avoid the empty fuel ship from being hit. The other members of Black Squadron (Karé, Snap and Jess) do their best in their X-wings to shoot the asteroids but are soon forced to land on the tanker as their ships are out of fuel. Scraping past the last of the asteroids, Poe manages to clear the tanker but soon informs his team that with the ship increasing its speed, it will soon fall apart.

The team takes stock of their options until they are informed by BB8 that he is tracking the First Order and the stolen fuel. Realising that the ship carrying the fuel must need a hyperspace ring, Karé quickly comes up with a plan…

Escorting the fuel ship, Commander Malarus and the First Order make ready to return to First Order space. Terex, Poe’s long time nemesis of the series is also aboard with his cybernetic implants. Malarus is quickly informed that a fast moving ship is heading towards them. Poe communicates with the First Order vessel, stating that the stolen fuel is not leaving. Malarus launches tie fighters who believe the tanker to be defenseless. Black Squadron launches, leaving Jess’ astromech piloting the tanker. The X-Wings have all been re-fueled by siphoning fuel from the tanker.

Black Squadron make short work of the TIEs, destroying the hyperspace ring and then threaten to destroy the ship with the stolen fuel. The Lieutenant of the fuel ship is ordered to remain with the ship by Malarus, who then goes onto explain that she has been ordered to not engage the Resistance and so can’t send TIEs to support. Realising his fate, the Lieutenant orders the crew to abandon ship but not before setting the self destruct. Malarus flies into a rage and lashes out at Terex before ordering her ship to jump away.

Poe lands on the fuel ship wiith just enough time for BB-8 to save the day and stop the self destruct. Jess’ droid is not so fortunate and blows up with the empty tanker. Black Squadron, with fuel ship intact, head home.

The Review:

After the disappointing interlude of the Poe Dameron Annual, I was a bit worried where the series would be heading next. I shouldn’t have been. This issue of Poe Dameron is everything this series should be. The action was fast paced and never stopped throughout the whole issue. What I did like, and what has lacked with certain past issues, is that this was all set in space. Poe is a fighter pilot, and not just any pilot, but the best in the Resistance. I don’t want to see him on the ground, I want to see him in space doing what he does best, flying! This issue certainly delivered. It reminded me very much of the old Rogue Squadron stories from the Legends canon. I also loved the reference from Commander Malarus that the First Order cannot engage the Resistance. This keeps in line with The Force Awakens and creates an extra dimension to this story.

In my last review, for the Poe Dameron Annual, I mentioned that there is little suspense when you know the main character can’t die. Thankfully, with Black Squadron back this is not an issue. With the death of L’ulo, a fantastic character, the reader is left wondering who else in Black Squadron will suffer. Although a worry for fans, this brings some welcome tension to the story telling.

I am also intrigued to see where the relationship with Terex and Malarus will go. Terex did not do a lot in this issue, perhaps the only minor quibble of the story. The impression received, was that Terex is almost like an annoying C-3PO and Malarus is doing what Han would like to do to the droid.

Finally, although the writing was excellent for the issue, nothing could stand up to the fantastic art of the issue. Galarza has done some jaw dropping artwork that really sets this issue head and shoulders above most of the other Star Wars comic titles. Every line is well thought out and the panels suck you in so you know exactly what is going on. I hope Galarza continues to work on Poe Dameron as I would read this series just for his work.

Issue Cover Variants:

Availability:
Poe Dameron #16 will be collected in the Trade Paperback, Poe Dameron Volume 3 in October 2017.

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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.