In Review: Poe Dameron #5

Action and laughs that will please Star Wars fans of all ages. Recommended.

The cover: Being escorted by two guards from the ship that monitors Megalox Beta, Poe Dameron is in manacles and doesn’t look pleased with his present situation. Fans familiar with the ace pilot know he won’t be in this situation long. A good teaser image from interior artist Phil Noto on the Regular cover, who’s also responsible for the colors. Noto is an outstanding artist, so it should come as no surprise that the title character strongly resembles actor Oscar Isaac. The red lighting gives this cover an excellent sinister mood. If one can read Aurebesh, Poe’s togs are extra cool. The Variant cover is also nice, with a great close up of Poe inside his fighter. This image by Cameron Stewart is a sweet illustration of the pilot with some vivid colors. This is one to also track down. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: Black Squadron waits outside the Fortress of Grakkus the Hutt on Megalox Beta, a prison compound. They’re waiting for Poe Dameron to emerge with information where Lor San Tekka is. They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, with guard Hutts bearing weapons barring their entrance to the fortress, while outside its gates is a mob of criminals who want them dead. The doors to the palace open and Agent Terex of the First Order emerges. He and the squadron exchange unpleasantries, before he walks outside the gate. None of the criminals attack him, instead bowing before the man. This prompts Snap to ask, “Who is this guy?” Thankfully, Poe emerges next to bring them up to speed. They have to get Grakkus off of Megalox for him to reveal Tekka’s location. Unfortunately, Terex has been given the same task, so it’s a race to see who can free the Hutt first to get the location of the missing man. What Poe does on Page 5 is great, which begins a subplot that was just as engaging as the main story. The meeting that occurs on 7 and 8 is fantastic. Writer Charles Soule has created some really strong characters on these pages and if more time had been spent there I would have been more than happy. There’s a really fun joke that starts in the middle of 10 and becomes explosive on 11. Page 17 introduces a new character and he (it?) has some terrific actions and sensation verbal responses that end the issue. The cliffhanger for both stories is good, but I have to admit that I found myself really drawn into the story that was primarily text free. This was a really fun read. Overall grade: A

The art: As stated in the cover review, Phil Noto’s characters are stunning. They resemble the familiar faces from The Force Awakens, as well those alien characters seen in the other Star Wars films. His original characters also deserve special mention, and at the top of this list is Agent Terex. He’s got all the dash and snobbery of a classic movie villain. His, mostly, bald head, trim mustache, slim build, and black fly suit mark him as evil and egotistical. The characters that he converses with on 7 and 8 look very threatening, with the smallest characters being wonderfully annoying and snippy. Poe and Black Squadron don’t have too much visually to do this issue, since they’re stuck between two locations, but Noto makes them look interesting even during conversations. The scene stealers of the issue are the characters that first appear on 6. These characters look stunning and the way in which Noto can bring them to life with their limited dialogue is impressive. Noto showed on the Chewbacca limited series that he’s more than capable of telling a story without text and he does so here flawlessly. The joke on 10 is great, but the character that roars to action on 11 is superb. The visual at the bottom of 12 had me cheering. The new character that appears on 17 is visually threatening, but to see him (it?) in action on 19 is terrifying. This panel that ends this page makes the action seem unimportant, which makes it even more horrific. The final page is a great cliffhanger that has me wondering how the hero will survive. Noto also colors his own work and they, too, are great. The colors outside the palace are appropriately desolate, only gaining radiance when L’ulo is shown or a door opens to show the interiors. The colors of the characters that appear on 6 are perfect, with the lead character looking awesome. These characters’ sounds are also excellent, being really bright. The darkened room and the bright back lights on 7 and 8 make the conversation delightfully ominous. The best colors are the cool blues on 9 – 12. I can’t imagine Noto ever making a visual mistake. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, transmissions, sounds, the unique font of the character that first appears on 17, and tease for next issue are by VC’s Joe Caramagna. The sound work on this issue from Caramagna steals every panel and page they appear on, especially with those who don’t speak standard. Overall grade: A

The final line: Action and laughs that will please Star Wars fans of all ages. Recommended. Overall grade: A

To learn more about this issue go to http://marvel.com/comics/issue/57990/star_wars_poe_dameron_2016_5

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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