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

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.)

Boys with Big Hearts

Easily the best thing about this new Star Wars trilogy is our new hero, Rey, and the praise for both her and Daisy Ridley is flooding in. While not the straight-up leads of the film, the rest of the new trio, Finn and Poe, are almost just as great. (Almost.) The Force Awakens is headed by three amazing newbies, each of which a character for young kids to look up to and want to emulate.

Sure, Rey is a hero for all genders, but let’s not kid ourselves: children aren’t stupid. Little girls notice the distinct lack of leading ladies in cool roles, and Rey is someone that they can finally pretend to be in the playground without having to be “Ara, daughter of Aragorn”. She is finally theirs. 

Everyone can love her and look up to her, but she is most of all for all those little girls who have been needing a girl leading Star Wars since forever ago. That, of course, is a post for another time.

Finn and Poe, similarly, are heroes for everyone of any gender, but they are also wonderful examples for young boys to emulate. Where Poe could have been a Han or Anakin-esque cocky pilot with a little too much arrogance, he is instead a genuinely, confidently sweet guy. Finn, raised as a Stormtrooper in the First Order, is similarly sweet, with a big heart and an overflow of empathy. Continue reading