Review: Poe Dameron #6

Look, I know that I’m riding off a BB-8 high in the wake of Dragon Con and that AMAZING panel with his puppeteers but this is TOTALLY BB-8’s issue. I mean yeah fine; the pilots help win too but they definitely would have failed without BB-8 and the other astromechs.

Poe and the rest of Black Squadron are still stuck down on the surface of the prison planet and the odds aren’t looking good… or at least they wouldn’t be looking good if they didn’t have a plan and some very capable astromechs up in the sky. This, by the way, is what really helps capture the spirit of Star Wars. One of my favorite parts of the saga (in the Prequels more so than in the Original Trilogy) was how Artoo would so often go off on his own and save the day. BB-8 is definitely his spiritual successor. How can you not love an awesome little droid like that especially when it emotes so beautifully?

The humans are all right too, I guess. No but actually: Terex is one of my new favorite villains and I’m falling more and more in love with the pilots of Black Squadron. They’re smart, they have a plan, and they seem to genuinely care about each other. Hopefully none of them end up going out in a blaze of glory. I love how Soule and Noto are being given the opportunity to really flesh out these characters we don’t know very much about and how they’re sparingly yet effectively using characters like Phasma and Leia. It’s all just so artistically done.

The Poe Dameron arcs are short but sweet and I am digging this book. Are you reading it yet? You should be because next issue is Poe Dameron’s Day Off!

Poe Dameron #6: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Poe Dameron #5

Black Squadron keeps reminding me more and more of Wraith Squadron and that’s definitely a good thing. Sure they’re all damn good pilots but they’ve also got some mad skills down on the ground too. (Wait that didn’t come out right… oh you all know what I meant!)

What really resonated with me this issue was how we finally get more insight into Jessika Pava. This is the first time that I’ve really felt like we’ve gotten to know who she is beneath the surface. Charles Soule doesn’t give us much—just a page—but it’s enough to have a lasting impact on the reader. These are the sort of character moments and revelations that I was really looking forward to in this book. Hot-shot pilots are great but I can’t really love them until I know them.

Of course, you can’t have an X-Wing book without some loyal and capable droids there to back their pilots up! BB-8 may have to take the crown of King of the Droids away from Tonin. (Hey, I told you this book was giving me more and more Wraith vibes!)

It’s worth continuing to point out the elements that continue to rock issue after issue in this book. Phil Noto’s artwork is a continuous delight and Agent Terex is so good at being bad that you can’t help but love him. The only other comment I have to make is that while Issue #4 felt like there were a hundred things happening in those 20ish pages, this issue almost felt too short. That’s not necessarily a criticism, just an observation. It’s almost the nature of comics– they’ve got to keep you coming back for more each time!

As it continues through its second arc, Poe Dameron is definitely a comic you should be picking up every month.

Poe Dameron #4: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Poe Dameron #4

The egg is hatched and now Black Squadron is in prison.  Yep, that about sums it up.

It’s really neat how Marvel is tying not just their same-era books together but also their Original and Sequel Trilogy era books.  First seen back in the main Star Wars book, Grakkus the Hutt makes his return in a storyline that feels very organic while also being a wink to those of us who read all the books.

There’s a lot that goes on in this issue–so much that it feels like it was double sized.  The prison arc gets set up and started and I’m enjoying it for so many reasons so far but what really struck me were the squadron focused bits.  One of the appeals of the Poe Dameron book was how we’d get to know the pilots from The Force Awakens a little better.  Pilots are fan favorites not just because they’re flashy flyboys and flygirls but because of how creators flesh them out further in the expanded universe.  Jess, Snap, and Karé are already starting to feel more real even though we’ve only seen them in a few issues.  Heck, I’m already on board with Snap/Karé as a ship!  Marvel really couldn’t have picked a better group of characters to focus on in this era.

On the art front… yeah look: you already know how I feel about Phil Noto’s work.  I don’t need to repeat myself: he’s fantastic.  But ohhhh baby.  That cover for next issue.  *fans self*  Poe, I’m gonna need you to keep that smolder under control.

Poe Dameron #4: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Poe Dameron #3

WHAT’S IN THE GIANT GLOWING EGG? HOW COOL CAN JESSICA PAVA BE? IS BB-8 THE ACTUAL BEST? Poe Dameron #3 answers all of these and more as Poe faces off against Agent Terex and Black Squadron has to fly like bats out of hell against some First Order TIE fighters.

The first part of the story comes to a close far sooner than I expected but I like that it doesn’t get dragged out. Soule knows how to tell a tight story and doesn’t make things go on and on just to fill page space. All of those questions that I started this review out with are answered and more. The short, non-spoilery answers to those questions are: 1) Something weird, 2) VERY, and 3) Obviously! One of the best things about Soule’s story here is how he’s able to work little character details in almost seamlessly. We learn more about Snap and Karé and Jess and yet none of it feels forced.

The other best part of the story is definitely Agent Terex. The creators come up with a creative yet plausible way to potentially keep him around for stories to come. A good villain can be worth their weight in gold and Terex definitely has lasting potential.

It’s always worth mentioning how lovely and fun Noto’s artwork is. Without it, Terex wouldn’t have the same flair and Poe wouldn’t have quite the same charm. Even the adorableness of BB-8 jumps right off the page.

Poe Dameron continues to be a decidedly fun read and certainly worth your time. Next month, the hunt for Lor San Tekka continues and they head to prison… because that always goes well.

Poe Dameron #3: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Obi-Wan and Anakin #5

Perhaps more so than with any other book, it is a damn shame that Obi-Wan and Anakin comes to an end today and isn’t an ongoing because Charles Soule and Marco Checchetto have knocked it out of the park with every issue. Obi-Wan and Anakin #5 concludes a fantastic story that’s a must read for all Star Wars fans.

This review contains spoilers. Continue reading

Review: Poe Dameron #2

poe dameron cover 2Poe Dameron #2 is, without a doubt, more delightful than it has any right to be. If you thought that Charles Soule and Phil Noto did a good job with the first issue than oh baby, strap yourself in because this next one is going to be F U N.

In an interview, Soule mentioned that this first story is “straight-up weird, ‘70s sci-fi” and that vibe definitely comes through nice and strong in Issue #2. The stand out is Agent Terex who is so delightfully evil that he could be a Bond villain and I mean that in the most positive way possible. I couldn’t stop grinning the entire time I was reading the issue. Terex is one of those larger than life characters who just makes you want to punch him in the face and that’s if Phasma doesn’t do it first. I honestly think that I’ll be very disappointed if Terex dies in this arc because I could happily read stories about him for dozens of issues to come.

This is a comic about Poe Dameron though and he’s not forgotten. After all, the First Order is trying to find him. This is definitely Terex’s issue in the spotlight but Soule and Noto don’t neglect Black Squadron. They get their chance to contribute to the mission and even have to work with very unclear parameters. Bless L’ulo and his A-Wing and his glee for life. That’s another thing that makes this series so great: it’s fun because our pilots are having fun. Even in dire situations, their love for flying just leaps right off the page.

One of the best things about the state of Star Wars right now is how the comics and books are really starting to fill in the galactic gaps in the years before The Force Awakens. Between Bloodline yesterday and this issue today, we’re starting to get a much better picture of the canon galaxy.

Also. Those flametroopers with their jetpacks. THOSE JETPACKS. They are as delightful as Terrax.

Delightful is my word for this issue. Had you gotten the memo yet?

Review: Obi-Wan and Anakin #4

Four issues in and the mystery on Carnelion IV just keeps getting deeper. Out today is Obi-Wan and Anakin #4 by Charles Soule and Marco Checchetto and this book just keeps getting (yep, you guessed it) better and better.

Look. It’s not that I’m not solidly enjoying all the pages of Obi-Wan and Anakin because I am. The situation on Carnelion IV is fascinating and something I want to know more about. Checchetto and Mossa are doing some absolutely beautiful work on those pages. But the Palpatine stuff… hot damn, that’s what makes this book shine. You know those giant omnibuses that have 30+ issues of a comic? Yeah, I would happily spend a day curled up with a book or two of those reading a Soule written comic just about Palpatine, Anakin, and Obi-Wan in the years between the Battle of Naboo and Order 66.  The manipulation is so beautifully done. Pages like this make me see why people find Palpatine to be such an intriguing character. Plus? This may be the first time that someone has, within the story itself, acknowledged how little agency Anakin Skywalker has ever had when it comes to making decisions about his life. (Spoiler alert: he hasn’t gotten to decide anything.) It’s something that has been discussed between fans but it is especially painful to hear Anakin himself actually talk about it.

One of the coolest things about the limited series that Marvel has been doing is how distinct they all feel. It’s been their chance to experiment more especially when it comes to genre. There’s something about this arc that just feels more… science-fiction-y than some of the others. (It’s because of the mechs which are AWESOME.)  Also worth mentioning about this issue is the beautiful work that Checchetto did on the cover. That would look gorgeous as a print or poster.

Obi-Wan and Anakin continues to be a fantastic book and the only thing that makes me reluctant to pick up the next issue next month is that it means this will be coming to an end.

Review: Poe Dameron #1

Less than a year ago, we had the wonderful Heather Antos, Assistant Editor for the Marvel Star Wars comics, on the Tosche Station podcast and we maaaaay have begged a little for an X-Wing/Rogue Squadron comic. And we weren’t alone in really hoping to see more stories focused on X-Wing pilots in the new canon.  A few months ago, we learned that Poe Dameron was getting his own series. I’ll be honest with you all: when Marvel announced this book, I was mostly excited but also a tiny bit hesitant. I’ve been a huge fan of Charles Soule’s work in the Star Wars universe thus far and Phil Noto’s art is always lovely but I wasn’t quite sure if it was possible for someone to that find that same vibe that made Stackpole and Allston’s pilot books so good.

I shouldn’t have worried. Not for a minute.

Poe Dameron #1 has a little bit of everything. It has the assembling of the squad. It has some fun flying action. It has BB-8 being adorable. It has Leia Organa being the badass General that she is. It brings in pilots we already know. And it has Poe calling BB-8 buddy. What else could you want?

I don’t want to overhype this book but I also want to strongly encourage everyone to go pick it up today. This is absolutely the book that so many of us have been hoping for and I’m so glad that it’s finally here. Poe Dameron is in the hands of a very strong creative team and I absolutely can’t wait to see where the hunt for Lor San Tekka takes us and I definitely can’t wait to fall even more in love with this new group of pilots.

Review: Obi-Wan and Anakin #3

Everyone’s favorite Master/Padawan team is back in Obi-Wan and Anakin #3 by Charles Soule and Marco Checchetto.  It’s a little more of everything that’s made this book so gosh darn good thus far.

Palpatine.  We’re going to start with Palpatine.  Look, I know I said it last time but I’m sad that we can’t get a Palpatine ongoing from Soule.  He is so clearly having the time of his life getting to write these Palpy Flashbacks in this book.  I know he’s already writing the Poe book and a zillion others for Marvel but… oh you mean that even writers have to sleep sometimes?  Alas.  Getting back to the point, it’s fun to watch Palpatine and Anakin interact because while he clearly has an agenda, he doesn’t have to be nearly as subtle because Anakin just doesn’t pick up on the manipulations.  It’s simultaneously delightful to watch Palpatine be the Puppet Master and incredibly sad to watch Anakin be manipulated by someone he trusts.

Back in the current time line, Obi-Wan’s brokered a temporary truce between the waring groups but… okay can people please stop taking advantage and twisting Anakin to their goals?  If you’re not careful, you’re all going to turn that poor boy to the dark side and then you’ll– Oh wait.  Crap.

Checchetto’s art paired with Andres Mossa’s coloring continue to be drop dead gorgeous, by the way.  This is an amazing team who puts out some really gorgeous work.  I hope we get to see more from this pair in the Star Wars universe.

Obi-Wan and Anakin continues to be so enjoyable that I can’t stop wishing it was an ongoing.  (How’s that for an endorsement?)

Review: Obi-Wan and Anakin #2

Do you know what would have been a better title for this lovely comic by Charles Soule and Marco Checchetto? “Obi-Wan and Anakin and HOLY CRAP PALPATINE NO!”

After crash-landing on Carnelion IV, Obi-Wan and Anakin find themselves pulled into the middle of an intense battle between the Open and the Closed. It’s not long before it becomes clear that there’s more going on here than either group is letting on. In the past, young Anakin pays a visit to Chancellor Palpatine.

I wish that I could focus my musings on this issue to be more about the Carnelion IV parts but everything Soule is doing with Palpatine is incredible and he’s not even doing that much. Palpatine’s page time in this book is short but a combination of Soule’s writing and Checchetto’s art packs a hell of a punch. There’s a page that got an honest-to-goodness audible reaction from me and that doesn’t happen every week with comic books.  If Soule wasn’t already lined up to write Poe Dameron after this, I’d be clamoring for a Palpatine book from him.

That’s not to say that the main story isn’t good. I’m curious to see both where it goes and who exactly sent the distress call. There’s also clearly a ton of history between the two people that could likely make for a fascinating tale all on its own. It’s also fun getting to see Master and Padwan work together but also have their moments to shine.

The best compliment that I can pay this comic so far is that it’s not quite what I expected but it’s definitely something that has me impatiently waiting for more every time I finish an issue and if that’s not a solid recommendation from me, I don’t know what is.