Published By: Marvel Comics
Released On: 20 September 2017
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Angel Unzueta
Black Squadron is reunited once again — and together they share a common goal – The First Order must be stopped! But at what cost?
The third and final part of the War Stories arc opens on the First Order Cruiser, The Enshado. Poe and Snap have both been captured, with Malarus gloating to the two that they are on their way to collect the other members of Black Squadron. After leaving the pilots’ prison cell, Malarus orders the robotic controlled Terex to kill Oddy Muva.
On the planet Spalex, Suralinda, Jess and Karé are tied up in First Order custody. Suralinda explains to the pilots that she had to tell the First Order who they were to keep them alive and that she has a plan to save them. We have a one panel flash back of Jess being bound with three other girls and a pirate looming over them before returning to the present. Suralinda tells the pilots they need to run in order to provide a distraction so she can use her remaining camera drones for her plan.
Back onboard The Enshado, Terex goes to Oddy to carry out his orders. Instead of following them, Terex tries to disobey them. The robotics implanted in Terex’s brain begin to detect this autonomous activity and start shocking him. Battling through the pain, Terex is able to free Oddy and show him a video feed of Poe and Snap, trapped on the ship.
Returning to the planet Spalex, Jess and Karé run away from the First Order, who are quickly neutralised by Suralinda’s camera drones crashing into them. Before they can celebrate their freedom, the team find The Enshado in orbit and ships inbound to their position. One of these ships is a shuttle, piloted by Terex and Malarus.
In their cell, Poe and Snap are trying to work out how they are going to free themselves, when suddenly the door is opened. Before heading back towards their fighters, a fire alarm is sounded, clearing their path of any First Order stormtroopers.
On the planet, Jess, Suralinda and Karé run for their ships, in the hope they will be able to escape. However, before they can reach them, the ships are blown up by the pursuing craft. Thinking they are done for, the pilots and Suralinda await the inevitable. Poe and Snap have other ideas, and in their x-wings, the two destroy the tie fighters. They soon find that they are being pursued by a swarm of tie fighters, too many for them to be able to handle. That is until Oddy, who is piloting one of the tie fighters, starts shooting down the other ties. Over the comm, Oddy explains to Poe how he set them free and that he loved the squadron. Oddy then sacrifices himself by flying into the cruiser hangar and blowing it up. Terex and Malarus jump to hyperspace.
Reunited, Black Squadron are happy to see each other again. When Poe asks Suralinda if she got her footage, Suralinda replies that she kept a single drone recording. She goes on to explain that her story is of Oddy, who sacrficed himself for love and destroyed an entire cruiser. Poe seems shocked as that isn’t the full story but Suralinda just tells him to grow up…
The last two story arcs for Poe Dameron have been some of the best this series has had to offer, and the conclusion to War Stories does not dissappoint. With each of the comics in this arc, you feel you are not just getting a single issue but a good chunk of story that delves far deeper than any of the other stories being produced by Marvel. Charles Soule is doing an incredible job of writing this series and I hope he continues to.
The character of Suralinda is excellent, and her purpose in this issue was very well thought out. She is the reality check. Right at the beginning of the issue, Karé hates Suralinda for selling them out. It is Suralinda who explains that without her, the pilots would be dead. Black Squadron, for all their great flying, are still very idealistic. They have firm principles that they cannot be moved from. Put simply, the world is black and white, good against evil. Suralinda sees the world in greys and she does what needs to be done. It means bending principles but the goal is the same. The arc ends with this exact lesson given to Poe. He argues about Oddy being the hero, but it is Suralinda who tells him quite blantantly to grow up, that there’s a war. She believes in the same cause as Black Squadron, but she also knows the limitations of being idealistic. She knows that in war, the truth has to be bent in order to win. Her role is very similiar to Han Solo’s in the Original Trilogy and I do hope that she returns.
The humour was also very reminiscent of the Original Trilogy. In lots of comics, books and even some of the Prequel movies, humour in Star Wars has been dumbed down and been obvious. The humour in this issue was very welcome and very sarcastic. And most importantly it worked and didn’t feel out of place.
As always, the artwork in this issue was phenomenal, I’m quite confident in saying that you will not find better artwork in any other Star Wars comic at the time of writing. Unzueta knows how to draw Star Wars and knows how to do it well. I hope we continue to see him lending his skills to Star Wars projects for many years…
Issue Preview and Cover Variants:
40th Anniversary Variant Cover by Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson
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 links for the US and the UK.