In Review: Poe Dameron #10

This makes me want to join the Resistance to be in the action alongside Poe.

The covers: There’s a threesome to find if you feel the Force is strong in you to track down all the covers. The Regular cover is by interior artist Phil Noto. It picks ups just a few seconds after last issue’s explosive ending. Poe is on his back looking up at his attacker, his finger raised to tell the assailant he’d like to make a point. To his right is everyone’s favorite goldenrod, C-3PO, and to his left, with a defensive arm out to deliver a shock to protect his master, loyal BB-8. This is a funny frontpiece, considering the position of the hero, but it’s an honest one, because this is exactly where this issue should begin. I can’t praise Noto enough for how outstanding he draws the title character, resembling actor Oscar Isaac. The first Variant is by Danillo Beyruth. This has Poe in the cockpit of his X-wing, with BB-8 behind in the astromech’s position. He’s looking incredibly stressed as he pilots his ship out of danger from the two TIEs trying to blast him from behind. I like the perspective on this, especially the curve to the cockpit, but the lack of any background kills the drama; a starfield would have helped immensely. The final cover is the Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant and I had forgotten that these were coming out this year. This is the second variant in this series and it’s by Stuart Immonen. It features the classic scene of Leia inserting the Death Star plans into R2-D2. Behind her is a computer effect of what will happen when a proton torpedo is fired into the exhaust port. The entire image is framed in a yellow on black wallpaper that contains outlines of the Death Star, a TIE fighter, and an X-wing. I have really got to track this one down! Overall grades: Regular A, Variant Beyruth B, and 40th Anniversary Variant A+

The story: The final installment of “The Gathering Storm” by Charles Soule opens with Poe unconscious, who was shot point blank last issue. See-Threepio, Beebee-Ate, and Oddy Muva are quickly surrounded by the Ranc gang that Poe was seeking. One of the thugs suggests they be blasted because they only need Dameron, prompting Threepio to apologize to the man and say they shouldn’t do that. Why the criminals should leave them alone is quickly revealed and it’s an outstanding moment. It’s always pleasant to see these characters get their props in a Star Wars adventure, given how they’re constantly abused by every form of life in the galaxy. Once this problem has been solved and Dameron regains consciousness, the droid they were searching for, Nunzix, appears. Meanwhile, at Level 72 of the Sliver aboard the Carrion Spike, agents of the First Order are trying to unlock the ship so they may return it to their base, but Terex has it locked down. The agent soon boards the ships with some new/old allies. Terex is making plans to show the First Order what he can do. This is followed by a flashback that is interesting, but fairly predictable in its climax. Much more interesting is what the protagonists are up to, and once they see the Spike things intensify quickly. I really like what occurred on Page 14; that is the definition of power. It was also neat to see that one hero decides to take matters into his own hands on 18; I want to know what’s going to happen to this character. All of this story’s installments have had very strong cliffhangers, and this issue is no exception. It is a “WOW!” moment. This had some very strong character moments for both the heroes and the villains as the timeline continues to move closer to the beginning of The Force Awakens. Overall grade: A

The art: Can we all just agree that Phil Noto is an illustrating god? He was tremendous on the Chewbacca limited series last year and his work on this series is just as superb. As stated earlier, his likenesses to the characters are wonderful, be they human, alien, or droid. I am impressed with an artist who can put emotion into the emotionless Threepio, but that’s exactly what Noto does every time the droid gets some dialogue — it’s amazing. The first panel on Page 2 is a great bird’s eye view of the scene, teasing what’s to come in panel four. Nunzix’s entrance on 3 is great and though he, like Threepio, has an emotionless face, every image of him gives a wonderful tone to his dialogue. Terex has grown tremendously throughout this series and he continues to become one of the best new characters in the Star Wars canon, with him being ferocious looking in the flashback and a malevolent god on 10: those five panels alone show that he could carry his own title (After all, Doctor Aphra has one…). The last panel on 11 is of a Shakespearean order with its simple layout, but carrying so much power. The final page is a full paged splash and there’s a lot in it; Noto gives it so much detail any reader will pause to take in all that is there. It should also be noted that Noto colors his own work. He also does this exceptionally well. The opening pages’ browns, oranges, and violets make the setting absolutely alien and rustic, but also entirely believable. Using reds for the interiors of the Spike is an excellent way to give the proceedings there an evil atmosphere and backlight the characters strongly. The flashback sequence is tinted in grays and browns to age it so the reader has a visual clue that this part of the story is not set in the present. Pages 14 and 15 are a wonderful mix of colors that represent the diverse life forms on the Sliver. Marvel, is there any way to ensure that Noto is doing a Marvel book every month forever? Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, droid speak and transmissions (the same font), sounds, and broadcast to the Sliver are crafted by VC’s Joe Caramagna. The story doesn’t need too many sounds in this issue, though when they occur, such as when BB-8 speaks or blasters are fired, they look awesome. I’ve not been thrilled with the thin font used for characters’ dialogue since Marvel reacquired the Star Wars franchise and I’m still unhappy with it; when characters get angry the svelte look of the text diminishes the power of their words, take a look at Terex’s words for examples of this. Overall grade: B

The final line: This makes me want to join the Resistance to be in the action alongside Poe. Excellent story and superior visuals. The perfect way to tide over fans until December 15. Overall grade: A

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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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