Comic Review: Poe Dameron #18

The Creative Team:

Published By: Marvel Comics

Released On: 16 August 2017

Rating: Rated T

Writer: Charles Soule

Penciler: Angel Unzueta

The Synopsis:

Jess Pava and Kare Kun are on a mission to expose the First Order to the rest of the galaxy! Meanwhile, Poe Dameron and Snap Wexley are tracking down Oddy Muva – the traitor!

The Plot:

Part two of the War Stories arc picks up directly from where part one left off. A First Order Officer is explaining to a group of alien villagers that he has just shot one of their group (the end of the previous issue) because he wants to know the location of a vein of thorilide crystals. The reason the First Order know that the planet has the vein is due to old Imperial records, which also show that the Empire didn’t mine it themselves. What appears to be the leader of the alien group replies to the officer that his people saw what the Empire did to the planets it did mine and that he and his people refused to let that happen to them. The officer is not intimidated.

While this is going on, the journalist Suralinda is watching and recording the exchange for a propaganda piece she is working on for General Leia Organa. Although Suralinda thinks the footage is perfect, Karé and Jess (the members of Black Squadron who have been sent with Suralinda) disagree and think they should intervene and help the villagers. Suralinda is opposed to this as the footage is needed to get more support for the Resistance.

We then move to the other two members of Black Squadron, Poe and Snap. They are following the trail of Oddy, who betrayed them. They find Oddy’s wife, who tries to explain that her husband was forced to do what he did for Terex in order to save her life and rescue other slaves. She gives Poe and Snap the route of the transport Oddy is on. (From the first issue we know this is a set up by the First Order).

The story then shifts to Oddy and the transport vessel, where Oddy is being tortured by Terex for information on the Resistance. Oddy pleads with Terex, hoping that his ability to be able to remove the implants from Terex will allow him to be spared. Terex will not be swayed.

We then return to the alien villagers. Before another villager can be shot, Karé and Jess begin to fire at the First Order troopers, much to the dismay of Suralinda. Very quickly, the two members of Black Squadron are captured. Suralinda is also captured but tries to make a bargain with the officer; her footage for her life. To sweeten the deal, she also tells the officer he has just captured half of Black Squadron.

As Poe and Snap fly towards the transport, Snap begins to question what they should do about Oddy. Poe replies that he will leave it up to Leia. The issue quickly shifts to Commander Malarus onboard the transport, who is informed that Poe and Snap are on route and that the other half of Black Squadron have been captured…

The Review:

The Poe Dameron series has been improving for several issues now, and this issue keeps that momentum going. Let me get the obvious out of the way, the artwork, as always, is outstanding. The faces of the characters, particularly Poe and Snap are exceptional. The very last page of the issue, the montage, really took my breath away and left me wanting to see Unzueta contribute more of his work to Star Wars comics.

Now that is out of the way, let’s start with the story. There was a lot in this issue. I’m not quite sure how the writer did it, but he has expertly woven in many elements into this issue. I really felt, as a reader, that I had been treated to a mini graphic novel, as opposed to a single issue of a comic. The story delved into moral issues, providing character moments that have always been present in the movies.

The conflict between Black Squadron and Suralinda was excellent and comes back to the age old debate of do you sacrifice the few to save the many. This is then shown again with Oddy,  who had to betray his friends to save his wife. This moral questioning is very well written and crops up again and again throughout the issue. The tension of what Karé and Jess are actually going to do is built up well, I really wasn’t sure which side they would choose.  Snap also starts to think more on this issue and I thought Poe’s repsonse was perfect, he leaves it the leadership. It shows a mature character who knows what he is good at but also his limtations. This is clearly an issue that will come up again later in the story arc.

There was a great reference from the First Order officer, citing the use of old Imperial records, which we hear Kylo Ren referring to in The Force Awakens. These easter eggs to the movies, through this and the last story arc, are woven in brilliantly with the story. They don’t draw attention to themselves but are there for sharp eyed readers.

This is the first issue of the series where I feel the writing has been able to outmatch the artwork (and the art is incredible!). Soule has done a tremendous job and I hope this attention to detail and steady pace continues for the rest of the arc.

Issue Preview and Cover Variants:

Regular issue

40th Anniversary Variant Cover by Tradd Moore and Matthew Wilson

Availability:

Poe Dameron is an ongoing series available from Marvel. Issues #14 -19 will be collected in a trade paperback (31 October 2017) entitled Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 3. You can order it now from the following link.

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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.