Review: Poe Dameron #11

Okay can we please start by discussing how drop dead gorgeous this cover is? Phil Noto is rarely anything but excellent but this is another level. I want this framed on my wall.

But about the actual content of the issue… Oh Terex. You’re certainly not going to win First Order Officer of the year and frankly, I’m increasingly concerned about your contining existence. (It’s shocking that Phasma hasn’t broken his spine already.) That said, Charles Soule is presenting us with an interesting comparison with our two sides. Leia formed the Resistance because the New Republic was blind to the threat and now Terex is using his own private army to strike against the Resistance because the First Order can’t. It’s a thought-provoking contrast especially since the First Order is so focused on….uhhh…order. It’s surprising that they’d bring Terex in at all and now that he’s in and pushing back so strongly against Phasma… how long will he stay a part of the First Order especially if he loses to Poe?

We still don’t know who the spy is for sure and it’s driving me insane! While Poe comes to the same conclusion that I did several issues ago, I have a feeling that there’s going to be a twist. This is comics: there’s always a twist and I can’t wait to read what it is.

Sidebar: If someone doesn’t pull together a Lord-General of the Rancs of Kaddak cotsume soon, I’m going to be very disappointed.

Poe Dameron #11: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Poe Dameron #10

Another month, another issue of the ever delightful Poe Dameron book by Charles Soule and Phil Noto! This is the arc of the droids and the backstory and we keep getting more each time so let’s get right to it.

It’s been said before on Tosche Station (probably by me multiple times) but having the Story Group around is going a long way towards Star Wars stealing the “it’s all connected!” tagline from the MCU. (It’s cool. They’re all in the Disney family.) Getting to see the Carrion Spike in this book and having its backstory from Tarkin acknowledged in this issue is just really cool and feels like a neat little reward for fans who read everything. At the same time, fans who only read the comics won’t be left feeling lost.

This issue is, per Charles Soule’s Twiter, the last of the Terex backstory and I have to say that I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. We’ve not only been getting insight to Terex’s earlier days but also the First Order. It makes me curious as to how many other people like Terex (ie: those who are not Imperials who didn’t go into immediate exile together) are a part of the First Order.

Finally, we arrive at the droid part of the plot. (You know… the one that also includes Poe… who this book is about.) Nunzix the droid is hilarious if you’re a fan of droids with sass. I still don’t know how to feel about Threepio the Spymaster because it seems like a spymaster should be better at being subtle but hey! As long as the Resistance gets the information, right?

On the art front, I’d like to publicly thank Phil Noto for drawing that First Order lieutenant with his code cylinders further to the side and upright like back in the days of the Empire instead of in the middle and diagonal like they were in the film. This is much less offensive to the eyes.

Can we have issue #11 yet? I NEED TO KNOW WHO’S THE SPY.

Poe Dameron #10: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Poe Dameron #8

Poe Dameron #8 has a little bit of something for everyone. Sweaty Poe aggressively kicking a punching bag! Adorable BB-8 listening to his angsting and holding out a sweat rag once he’s done! Unexpected Agent Terex backstory! Adorable Oddy getting permission to fly Poe’s X-Wing! AND WHO IS THAT DROID WITH THE RED ARM???

Despite his not-so-restful shore leave time last issue, Poe Dameron is not doing great. He’s increasingly concerned that one of his pilots might be a spy for the First Order; something that’s particularly troubling given that he’s known some of them for a very long time. It’s worrying enough that he doesn’t feel comfortable tapping any of the four for a top-secret mission to rescues one of Threepio’s droid informants. Seeing Poe like this makes me want to just give him a hug (and then find the spy and shake them senseless.)

Just as Charles Soule promised us, we’re going back to Jakku in a flashback to the Battle of Jakku! We finally learn a little more about who Terex is (outside of being fabulous,) where he comes from, and why he’s with the First Order. It’s definitely giving the character more depth and I suspect we’ll only learn more as this arc progresses.

The only downside to this issue is that it’s woefully lacking in other Black Squadron pilots. I’m already missing those kids and hope we’re not going to go an entire story arc without them.

As always, Issue #8 is another solid entry of the Poe Dameron comic and the Agent Terex backstory alone is worth the price of admission.

Poe Dameron #8: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

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: 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: 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.

New Poe Dameron comic coming in April!

USA Today announced yesterday that a Poe Dameron ongoing, written by Charles Soule and art by Phil Noto, will begin in April. And there was much rejoicing at Tosche Station! It’s described as a Mission: Impossible style story, with Poe on his mission to find Lor San Tekka, and will feature BB-8 and some of the other X-wing pilots we saw in The Force Awakens. Since it’s an ongoing, can we expect to see the story go past the events of TFA?

(In case you were wondering, yes, this is the way to get Nanci interested in subscribing to an ongoing comics series.)