Published: September 26, 2018
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Angel Unzueta
Cover Artist: Phil Noto
In this final chapter of the POE DAMERON series, we see what may be BLACK SQUADRON’S last mission, as they desperately attempt to find allies for GENERAL LEIA ORGANA’S decimated RESISTANCE. It’s been one heck of a ride, but all stories must come to an end.
The final part of The Awakening storyline, as indeed in the final part for the entire series, opens aboard the Millennium Falcon. Poe Dameron and Leia Organa are discussing whether or not they should go and help Black Squadron. Leia tells Poe that she can’t risk the entire Resistance for four pilots but concedes in allowing Poe to find his own way there to try and help them. She also promotes him back to commander.
On the planet Ikkrukk, Snap and Karé are in their x-wings, trying to fend off a never ending swarm of TIE fighters to give Suralinda and Jess time to get Grail City’s defences back up.
Suralinda has been shot and it takes all of Jess’ effort to get her to wake up and continue their fight to the city’s control centre. Unfortunately, a group of First Order sympathisers are on their way to them, blocking the pilots’ path to their destination.
To try and avoid the TIE fighters, Snap and Karé move closer to the First Order cruiser. However, Karé quickly takes damage to her wing that stops her from manoeuvring.
Jess gets the attention of the sympathisers before telling them to look up. On the ceiling, Suralinda spits acid on the men, who quickly find themselves in agony and blinded. Jess finishes them with her blaster. Hurriedly, they move onto their target.
About to crash into the cruiser, Karé thinks all is lost until Poe shows up in a ship to save the day. He contacts the First Order cruiser to let them know it is him, only to be greeted by officers who believe he is lying. It seems the First Order has told its members that the Resistance has been destroyed. Poe gets Snap and Karé to line up the ties for him, which he shoots down over the cruiser, turning the First Orders own ships into bombs. This has thankfully bought enough time for Jess and Suralinda, who activate the city defences and stop the First Order.
Black Squadron reunite, having now gained new allies for the Resistance. Poe lets them enjoy the celebrations before deciding to tell them what has happened to the Resistance. Poe then reflects on what he has learnt, that the galaxy that needs saving is your own personal one…
Let’s start with this issue by itself, the conclusion to the only story currently that goes beyond The Last Jedi. To say expectations were high would be an understatement. The fate of Black Squadron is completely unknown, giving Soule a lot of chance to make us worry about the fate of our heroes. From the word go, the feel of this issue is perfect. The captions beginning, “A long time ago,” fit just right and allude to a much greater future for Poe, which is echoed at the end of the issue. And although he isn’t in it much, Poe really shows how he has grown. Not only through the series, but what we have also seen in the films. He has taken on board the lessons that Leia has tried to teach him and shows much better leadership than he did in The Last Jedi. I do wonder if Soule knows anything about where the character will be going in Episode IX, as the style of Poe’s command really seems to come through in this comic and I would love that to be echoed in the future movie.
You get a very real sense of the burden that is on Leia. The decisions she has to make are even more crucial, as they could cost the entire Resistance. We also see how different Leia and Poe think, each having sound arguments for their decisions. With Leia’s role in Episode IX probably being minimal, it is good to see Leia here and where her character is heading.
The First Order have been told that the Resistance is dead. Poe uses this to help sow confusion amongst the Order. I think this is interesting. Does that mean Kylo does not find the last remaining fighters a threat, as surely he would warn his own troops? Or does he worry it will already show problems with his leadership? Again, I would love to know if Soule has had chance to see the script for Episode IX and if these are clues to the film or educated guesses.
I have always loved the work of Unzueta and in this final issue he out does even himself. Every frame is perfect and you have to look no further than the final frame to go wow! This is the finest artist drawing in the Star Wars universe and I do hope we get to see him return for other series.
This final issue is action packed and full of worry. One could argue that Soule should have killed off at least one of the main characters but I for one am glad he didn’t. With so much death at the end of The Last Jedi do we as fans not need some hope? We are in a time where it seems all too easy to kill of characters to illicit an emotional response from the reader. Soule doesn’t give into this and allows his superior writing to get the same response without the need for losing a character. And it seems right to end the entire series on a note of hope.
Although I felt the series took some time to find its feet, when it did, Poe Dameron was one of the most well written series to come from Marvel. With so much content released (probably too much), to have such well thought out story plots made me come back again and again with a high expectation that was met every time. The duo of Soule and Unzueta is a match made in heaven and I do hope we see them return. I understand that the series has to come to an end… for now. On the letters page there is some hope that it may return after the release of Episode IX and I can’t see why it should not. There will be plenty of stories to tell of Black Squadron and a whole galaxy to explore. If you have yet to explore this series, I urge you to go and read it now, before Episode IX and see what comics are all about. If you have read it, then I’m sure like me, Poe and the rest of Black Squadron, you are looking to the stars, awaiting the next chapter of Black Squadron, whether it be on the big screen or in the pages of a comic…
Poe Dameron issue 31 is the last comic in this series. This issue was released on 26th September 2018 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores and retails at $4.99.