In Review: Poe Dameron #12

An average issue, for story and art, that's just not as strong as previous outings.

The covers: Three is the magic number on this twelfth installment of this Star Wars series. The regular cover is by interior artist Phil Noto and features Poe and Threepio running for shelter — any shelter — as they are receiving fire from Terex and his Ranc gang. The action of the image comes across finely, with Poe’s hair moving as he’s running and several blasts frozen in time as they rain down. The coloring is a little too similar, with the background yellow blending in too much with Threepio and Poe; there’s just too much yellow — period. The Variant cover is by Bengal and it’s really neat. Poe is wearing his X-wing pilot’s outfit, sitting on a rock, staring forward. Behind him one can see BB-8 making his way to Poe’s ship. In a pale blue sky that contains a distant orange sun, two X-wings are streaking upward, slightly covering the book’s title. Great cover. It isn’t necessarily specific to this issue, as its elements are generic, but there’s no denying that this looks good. The Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant cover is a highly detailed image from Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gho. Luke has his macrobinoculars out, looking forward anxiously. Ben Kenobi is behind him, and Artoo and Threepio are behind the Jedi Master. All four are on a rocky background, obviously Tatoonie, because four large versions of Tusken Raiders are eclipsing the sky. One of the creatures has his gaffi stick raised high above his head in a yell. A great cover that is one that every Star Wars fan will want to own. Overall grades: Regular B, Variant A, and Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant A+  

The story: Poe has crashed his fighter. He, Threepio, Artoo, and N1-ZX are staring at the craft when Poe notices the incoming ships and tells them, “They’re coming. We need to move.” They run off to a nearby cave, but Threepio can’t keep up. Poe orders BB-8 to lead Nunzix into the cave, while he carries the golden droid over his shoulders. They make it in, just as shots from the enemy ships close the entrance. “Ah. Then it’s a hunt, I suppose,” Terex says. “I do love a hunt.” Inside the cave, Poe shivers before saying they need to go down deeper. Nunzix starts to complain that’s not much of a plan, leaving Poe to say, “You don’t like it…stay here.” Back inside the Carrion Spike, Oddy Muva has met up with his wife Sowa Chuan, who’s been one of Terex’s many slaves. His plans for revenge don’t go as he planned, and then it’s back inside the cave which the villains have just entered. The rest of this story by Charles Soule is a cat and mouse tale of Terex and the Rancs trying to get to Poe and the droids. One droid has a surprising fate (Page 10), while another surprisingly makes an excellent contribution to the battle (13). Both of these outcomes surprised me. These were the high points of the issue because the chase through the cave is really drawn out. I was glad to see at least a partial conclusion to this chase. However, Page 17, sadly, does not work. It makes Poe look incredibly stupid. He’s been really smart in all of his previous comic adventures and for him to make this “almost” error diminishes his character. The arrival of some characters on the same page is terrific, with the book’s final page putting these characters in a cliffhanger. Overall grade: B

The art: Phil Noto is the artist and the colorist of this issue. For a world that’s essentially a ball of dirt, Noto makes the first page, which is a splash, really arresting. The coloring is beautiful. It’s brown, but every possible kind of brown, and it’s amazing to look at. The running of the characters on the second page looks good, with a strong change of perspective between the first and second panels. Things brighten up when blasts start falling upon them, with the fourth panel on the page having good imagery and strong colors. The shift in colors for the final three panels on 3 is also well done, connoting cold without it being specifically stated by the characters. This leads to a nice change of venue on Page 4 with bright pinks making up much of the background. There’s a tender moment in the third panel on that page that again connotes obvious meaning to the reader. The best page of the book is 8 which features one character moving about rapidly. The way Noto has set up the panels is a little jumbled, making the pace of the individual hurried. The colors are also terrific, making the explosive moments powerful. Noto does what he can for Pages 10 – 12, but it just comes off as a series of panels of talking heads. Not helping is that three of the characters have frozen expressions on their faces. Much better is the sequence on 13 and 14, which features the most characters in the issue. The partial double-paged splash on 18 and 19 looks great, echoing a famous scene from the original film. The last page is a full paged splash which sets up the number of characters well. Overall grade: B

The letters: Dialogue, droid speak, BB-8’s outbursts, a scene setting, sounds, and a yell are created by VC’s Joe Caramagna. I like everything but the dialogue, which is too wispy. Overall grade: B

The final line: An average issue, for story and art, that’s just not as strong as previous outings. Overall grade: B

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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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