Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1

by Dennis Keithly

In Poe Dameron 1, the best pilot in the Resistance assembles his team…

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Poe Dameron 1.

Poe Dameron 1

Poe Dameron 1

Writer: Charles Soule | Artist: Phil Noto | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: Phil Noto

 Poe Dameron 1 combines the writing talents of Charles Soule with the artistic abilities of Phil Noto to tell the story of the best pilot in the Resistance before the events of The Force Awakens. Both Soule and Noto are veteran creators in the Star Wars comic galaxy. Soule has recently written two miniseries: Lando and Obi-Wan & Anakin (which has two issues remaining). Noto’s work has most recently been seen in the Chewbacca miniseries. Together, they have combined to create a tale that is both well written and visually excellent.

The issue opens with Poe demonstrating his piloting abilities. On a mission for General Organa, Poe has flown his trademark black X-Wing into a cave with BB-8 in the astromech socket. It is an effective introduction to the book. Poe obtains immediate credibility piloting his ship through a tight cave that has been rigged with explosive traps. His relationship with BB-8, which is more than just master and droid, is quickly established as a partnership. While Poe flies, BB-8 assists with mission critical data.

Poe Dameron 1

Just as it appears Poe and BB-8’s luck is about to run out on their flight through the cave, the action reverts to an earlier time where General Organa is briefing Poe. This scene accomplishes many things. First, it establishes that the First Order, the successor to the Empire, has not built up in strength to that of the Empire in its glory days. Second, Poe has been working for the Resistance for some time, and his reconnaissance missions have gone far in determining the First Order’s strength, their plans, and most importantly, that they are looking for Luke Skywalker. Third, Lor San Tekka, the leader of the Church of the Force that was destroyed in the opening scenes of The Force Awakens, has been missing and presumed dead. Recent intelligence suggests otherwise. General Organa, best known as Princess Leia of Alderaan, believes he is the key to finding her brother. Finally, General Organa has authorized Poe to create a special squadron to watch his back on these missions.

With that authorization in place, Poe assembles Black Squadron, which contains some familiar faces. First, there is Snap Wexley. Snap appeared in The Force Awakens as one of Poe’s pilots. His character was first introduced to audiences in 2015’s Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig. Also on the team is Kare Kun, who first appeared in the junior novel Before the Awakening. One of the most intriguing additions to the team is L’ulo. This male Duros was first seen in Shattered Empire, which introduced Poe Dameron’s parents, Shara Bey and Kes Dameron. L’ulo was the Green Squadron leader, and Shara was one of the pilots assigned to the squad. It is a nice touch adding Poe’s mother’s ally to the squad. The fourth member of the team is Jess Pava. She first appeared in Weapon of the Jedi, in which she heard a tale of Luke Skywalker from C-3P0 between missions. She later appeared in The Force Awakens. Rounding out the team is Oddy Muva. Unlike the others, Muva is not quite ready to be an active pilot on the team. However, he does serve as a technician to the group. As another nice nod to The Force Awakens, Muva is an Abednedo, many members of this race served as pilots in Poe’s squadrons or otherwise appeared in the movie.

Poe Dameron 1

As the story resumes in the present, Poe has successfully navigated his X-Wing to the heart of the cave. There he finds a large, blue, glowing egg-like structure. The egg is protected by a group calling themselves the Creche, who do not welcome Poe to their home. The Creche believe this egg will one day hatch a savior that will eventually reward them or their descendants for their service. Lor San Tekka has visited them and communed with the egg. He has moved on, and the Creche are not eager to assist Poe in finding him. Things change when BB-8 discovers a tracking device on Poe’s X-Wing. The First Order has followed him and are prepared to attack the Creche as the primary story of this issue concludes.

After the primary story of the issue, there is a short, apparently self-contained story in which BB-8 attempts to play matchmaker between a Resistance X-Wing pilot and a technician by sabotaging the X-Wing and otherwise making a nuisance of himself until the pair meets and decides to have dinner. It is a cute story. Other than being bonus material in this issue, it doesn’t appear to have any larger ramifications for the Poe Dameron series at this time.

Poe Dameron has been promoted as a new ongoing series. However, Leia’s mission for Poe seems to create a predefined conclusion to the series. Poe is out to find Lor San Tekka. Anyone who has seen The Force Awakens knows that Poe is ultimately successful in that mission by the time of that movie. Unless Soule and the Marvel editorial team plan to either tell earlier stories in this series, or have the series continue after the events of The Force Awakens, it appears Poe Dameron, much like Kanan, will have an ending after Poe’s mission is accomplished. That isn’t to say that this series can’t and won’t be incredible. For anyone interested in seeing more stories of the battle between the Resistance and the First Order, this series is for you. The conclusion of this issue tees up just such a conflict for issue two.

Poe Dameron 1

The egg that the Creche are guarding is intriguing. Star Wars has many mystical objects throughout its stories. In the current continuity, items such as holocrons have played an integral part of passing the lore, discovering power, and preserving the wisdom of Jedi and Sith alike. Therefore, the Creche’s egg is not so unusual. At least in this issue, Soule preserves the mystery of exactly what this egg is. Whether the Creche and the egg will survive an attack by the First Order remains to be seen. Given what the First Order did to the village on Jakku during The Force Awakens, it doesn’t look good for the Creche.

Something that shouldn’t be overlooked in Poe Dameron 1 is that this story features a team of X-Wing pilots. Many Star Wars fans were fans of the Rogue Squadron novels and comics of the Legends universe. Those stories may no longer be canon, but their legacy is carried over into this series. Poe Dameron’s Black Squadron is the spiritual successor to Wedge Antilles’s Rogue Squadron. Instead of infiltrating the Empire after the Battle of Endor to secure peace for the Republic, Poe leads his squad mates on missions on behalf of the Resistance to combat the rise of the First Order. There is a lot to like here and a lot of promise for this series. This issue is highly recommended.

Poe Dameron 1 Favorite Panel:

Noto’s art is quite good. The likeness for the familiar characters is clear. Poe Dameon is Oscar Isaacs, although he may look a little older in this book than he did on screen. General Organa is Carrie Fisher, but she looks a little younger than she did on screen. Regardless, Noto’s work is outstanding. The X-Wings and BB-8 look exactly as they should. The art is incredibly consistent and it doesn’t appear that a single panel was taken off or a throw away. Therefore, I am selecting a shot of Poe piloting his X-Wing through the cave. After all, X-Wings and space flight is what this series is all about.

Poe Dameron 1

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