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 #9

Do you remember back in the old days how there was a droid that would essentially shut down if you told him to shut up three times? Yeah, I think Threepio could use one of those protocols. (There was more to it than that but you get my point. Make Threepio shut up!) probably about 80% of the bad things that happen in this issue could have been avoided if Threepio had just been quiet. The other 20% rest on someone shooting Terex back during the Battle of Jakku.

Charles Soule promised us backstory for the dastardly Agent Terex and he’s certainly delivering. What remains to be seen is if this is also definitely backstory for the First Order. I’d love to see the behind the scenes coordination going on between Team Poe, Team Aftermath, the Story Group, and anyone else working on the Battle of Jakku because there are so many moving parts for a giant event that we’ve only briefly seen in Lost Stars. Terex is such a great villain that it’s fantastic to see more of his backstory but I’m more fascinated by the origins of the First Order which are increasingly more complex than I’d originally suspected. The flashbacks are my favorite bits of this arc and I can’t wait to see more!

Switching back to the Resistance, I love Phil Noto’s art on this book! Especially for this issue! The planet feels so real and lived in and is a really great visual tieback to The Force Awakens. It’s a nice reminder of how close in time this comic is to the film. Shout out the Guavian Death Gang! (I wish them no luck on their hunt for hunt for Han Solo.)

Poe Dameron #9 is a solid issue overall but undoubtedly worth it because of the spotlight on Agent Terex regardless of whose name is on the cover.

Poe Dameron #9: 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 #7

Poe’s flying solo and off on a personal mission to see an old friend! What could possibly go wrong? (A lot of things. So many things.) Come on, buddy: You should know better than to go somewhere in the galaxy and not bring a blaster. That’s, like, Impending Galactic War 101.

As far as standalone issues go, this one really pops out and that’s due in great part to Suralinda, an old Navy-turned-journalist friend of Poe’s. It might say his name on the front of the book but this is definitely her issue to shine. Charles Soule has her go through an entire character arc within the issue that’s incredibly satisfying and completely about her. I sincerely hope we get to see more of Suralinda in the future because she’s too good of a character to leave in one-shot hell.

We don’t get Phil Noto artwork this month but we do get Angel Unzueta with Frank D’Armata on colors which is definitely a change up but not a bad one. I especially like his rendering of General Organa and also his commitment to Poe’s five o’clock shadow. I also love what he did with Suralinda’s character design and costume. (Hey cosplayers: That’d be an awesome project…)

If you’re looking for a good place to jump on to the Poe comic, this is absolutely the time to do so. It’s a fun ride that requires no real backstory and it even brings a whole new meaning to “I can fly anything.” 10/10, I absolutely recommend.

Poe Dameron #7: Charles Soule/Writer, Angel Unzueta/Artist, Frank D’Armata/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

NYCC 2016: Interview with Charles Soule

poe dameron cover 2I was lucky enough to sit down and chat with Charles Soule for a few minutes at New York Comic Con. Since we last talked at Baltimore Comic Con last year, he’s finished his run on Lando, written the Obi-Wan and Anakin series, and is currently writing the ongoing Poe Dameron series for Marvel Comics. (And that’s in addition to all the other books he writes for Marvel and all his creator owned work.) Needless, to say, he’s stayed busy.

Bria for Tosche Station: Thank you again for talking with me this morning and congratulations on conquering the world of Star Wars Comics.

Charles Soule: It has been an incredibly ride. Doing a series set in Prequel time, doing a series set in Original series time, and new era time? I can’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.

TS: I think you might actually be the first person to have written in all three eras in the new canon.

CS: I guess the dream’s achieved. I can retire now. It’s all happened.

TS: I think it was at NYCC last year that the Obi-Wan and Anakin book was announced which I loved by the way. What was it like getting to delve into another era and its characters since before that you’d been working on Lando?

CS: The thing that I really liked about it was that not only was it a Prequel Era story which is sort of unexplored to begin with but it was in the unexplored—no one has written anything between Episode I and Episode II as far as I know other than this.

TS: One or two Legends books but not much.

CS: So it was very cool to be able to look at a time when the Jedi were… they weren’t ascended but they were certainly powerful and their infrastructure was in place and all that. Palpatine was active but hadn’t yet revealed himself as Sidious. The relationship with Anakin was really developing. There were all these really potent, dramatic things I could do with the Obi-Wan series that aren’t available in other parts of the timeline so I was really thrilled to get a chance to take a crack at it. Continue reading

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