Black Squadron plots their escape from the clutches of Malarus in Poe Dameron #19.
This article contains plot details for Poe Dameron #18.
Poe Dameron #18
Writer: Charles Soule | Artist: Angel Unzueta | Colorist: Arif Prianto | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: Phil Noto | Assistant Editor: Heather Antos | Editor: Jordan D. White
The propaganda mission General Organa gave to Suralinda comes to an end in Poe Dameron #19. In a stroke of luck, Commander Malarus, of the First Order, captured all the members of Black Squadron. In addition, Suralinda appeared to betray the squad to protect herself. However, Suralinda had a plan. Although she surrendered some of her cameras recording the First Order’s misdeeds, she had others in reserve. With those cameras, Suralinda cleverly schemes an escape for herself, Kare, and Jess on the planet of Spalex. Meanwhile, Malarus imprisoned Poe and Finn on the First Order Light Cruiser Enshado. With a little unexpected help from Agent Terex, Oddy Muva, the double agent, helps Poe and Snap escape from the cruiser on their X-Wings. In a final act of redemption, Oddy sacrifices himself to destroy the Enshado and insure Black Squadron’s escape.
Poe Dameron #19 ends some storylines and furthers others. Although Malarus is a disappointing character, this issue has other redeeming qualities making it a worthy read.
Agent Malarus the Maniacal
One of the most troublesome aspects of the current Poe Dameron storyline is Malarus. She is the embodiment of many villain clichés. For instance, when Poe and Black Squadron finally thwart her plan, she clenches her hands into claws and cries out “Noooooo!” Prior to that, while pursuing Jess, Kare, and Suralinda from her attack shuttle, she gleefully exclaims, “Run run run, ladies!” Her wrath is comically over exaggerated. Furthermore, she seems too easily defeated. She isn’t a real credible threat. Her behavior is reminiscent of a bad Saturday morning cartoon villain.
Terex’s Schemes and Motivation
The opposite of Malarus is Terex. Unlike Malarus, Terex is a nuanced character. Currently under the control of the First Order due to the implants, Terex is largely powerless to resist their commands. Malarus demonstrates this by issuing him orders and condescendingly patting him on the pat with an “Of course it is,” in response to his acknowledgments. Her confidence is one thing, but this smacks of folly and underestimation.
However, Terex fights back and resists in this issue. After Malarus deems Oddy Muva expendable and orders his death, Terex returns to the interrogation center. Once there, Terex fights his implants and exercises some degree of “autonomous host activity.” The implants respond by employing countermeasures. Terex fights long enough to free Oddy, show him Poe and Snap’s holding cell, and assist in Poe and Snap’s escape. In a few panels, Soule and Unzueta cleverly reveal Terex’s disadvantage. Although Malarus accidentally damaged his implants a few issues ago, he is not yet free of their influence.
Later, when Malarus laments the destruction of her capital ship, Terex is grinning. Despite the countermeasures employed by his implants, he exercises some satisfaction with Malarus’s failure. This raises further questions about his earlier actions. Whether his actions are those of atonement or preservation remains to be seen.
Oddy was in an unenviable position. The First Order held his wife as a hostage. Terex used this leverage against Oddy. With compromising intel from Oddy, Terex intercepted Poe and Black Squadron on multiple occasions. Once Oddy freed his wife, he intended to disappear. Having betrayed both the First Order and the Resistance, he was not safe anywhere. That plan ended when the First Order found him.
Oddy sought redemption by assisting Poe and Snap escape from Malarus’s ship. In addition, he commandeered a TIE Fighter and provided support for Poe and Snap against the First Order squadrons. Ultimately, he sacrificed himself by crashing his ship into the hangar bay of the First Order cruiser.
His final words to Poe were a wish Poe would tell Oddy’s wife that Oddy died a pilot. It was Oddy’s wish when he was a mechanic with the Resistance. In the end, he died a hero. Oddy is the second member of Black Squadron that parishes in this series (L’ulo was the first). This series does have real consequences.
Concluding Thoughts on Poe Dameron #19
Poe Dameron #19 is a good issue. It wraps up the Oddy Muva plotline while furthering Agent Terex’s plotline. If it has a weakness, that weakness is Malarus. She has a great name that speaks volumes about her character. However, she comes across as a cartoon villain. Malarus is only ever momentarily dangerous. Furthermore, between her and Terex, even in his subdued state, she seems the least likely threat to the Resistance. Where Terex was a scalpel, she is a sledgehammer. She is not subtle and over the top.
Suralinda is an excellent addition to the team. It has often been written here that in many ways, Black Squadron is the spiritual successor to Rogue Squadron. Like Rogue Squdron, Black Squadron completes missions with a variety of skills and tactics. As a journalist, Suralinda brings something different to Black Squadron along with her unique personality.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.