In Review: Poe Dameron #13

The terror of Terex concludes with a literary character making a surprise and welcome appearance.

The covers: Just a pair to track down on this latest issue of the adventures of Black Squadron’s lead pilot before the adventures of The Force Awakens. The Regular cover is a beautiful image by Phil Noto, the interior artist for this issue. Captain Phasma is shown from her right side in profile, while Poe is reflected in her salvaged armor. He’s in his X-wing pilot suit and looks incredible. This is a must have. The Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant cover shows a black and white Luke staring beyond the reader. He’s outside his familiar home on Tatoonie. The red suns rage behind him, joined by a giant image of Old Ben who also looks in the same direction. This is also a terrific cover and is another winner from Jeff Dekal. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant A

The story: The threat of Terex comes to a close in this issue penned by Charles Soule. High above the planet Poe has crashed on, Black Squadron is engaged in a firefight with Terex’s Rancs. Deep within one of the planet’s caves, Poe is hiding from the Rancs with N1-ZX. He receives a message from Snap who asks if they could get a little help from BB-8, but Poe reveals that he was destroyed (last issue). “All I’ve got is the worst droid in the entire galaxy.” This results in a funny response from Snap, with Poe saying he’s with Nunzix, who’s a commando droid. This has Snap thinking fast and sending something Poe’s way that could help. What follows is something that will be very familiar to readers of the recently concluded Star Wars: Aftermath novel series. I’m standing and applauding Soule for providing a justification for this character’s entrance into comics and giving a solid nod to the Chuck Wendig novels. The action in the skies for Black Squadron is really good, with one character not surviving to make it to Episode VI. The action with Poe is also good, with the neat assistance he gets and the one-on-one battle he has with Terex. That’s no spoiler, because Soule had to have these two have a final showdown and it lives up to expectations. How the battle concludes was spectacular and had me cheering. The final six pages are the story’s coda and they’re sadly anticlimactic. These pages could have been condensed to make the fight between the men longer. With exception to the last few pages, this is good conclusion. Overall grade: B+

The art: Phil Noto is again responsible for the art and the colors and this book, again, looks amazing. The first page splash above the planet’s surface is worthy of a film opening with the fighters battling. The circular inserts of the characters is incredibly cool, reminding me of classic comics using these shapes. Poe’s first appearance has him resembling the classic look of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers as he crouches behind a rock with a pistol held ready. Poe’s reaction in the last panel on Page 3 is funny. The new character that goes into action on 4 is spectacular, with enough teased to the reader to let him or her know what’s occurring without going into R-rated graphic territory. The villain’s entrance on 8 is awesome, even before he’s fully seen. The battle between Poe and Terex begins on 9 and it’s sharp. Noto has got this mapped out so solidly that any reader will be able to follow their battle, and it does get ugly, with Poe getting a pointed wound. The full paged splash on 12 is horrific and beautiful. It’s a testament to Noto’s ability to make this something to really look at as it ends one character’s life. The next page returns to Terex and Poe. The middle three panels on that page perfectly capture the realistic movements of someone who receives that wound. The first panel on Page 14 elicited a cheer from me. This is a fantastic moment and every reader is sure to be mirroring Poe’s face at the bottom of that page. I’m a sucker for TIE fighters and there are several in this issue, with their first close up on 17 being gorgeous. The skyline on the surface of the planet is wonderful in a sickly mustard, introducing some truly sick individuals into the story and increasing the tension by making the reader feel unwell. Noto needs to do a Star Wars comic every month, for life. Where do I send my money to this cause? Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna brings dialogue, droid speak and transmissions (the same font), sounds, a scream of pain, and an iconic droid’s sounds to life. I was thrilled to see Caramagna allowed to insert some sounds into this issue, which features the fall of a literary character. Unfortunately, space battles are still barred from his expertise, and they continue to remain sadly mute. The oversized single word of joy on 11 continues to show why the dialogue font for this franchise needs a complete make over, as this word looks odd enlarged. Caramagna’s high point is the scream atop 14, which is as glorious and as painful as I needed it to be. Overall grade: A-

The final line: The terror of Terex concludes with a literary character making a surprise and welcome appearance. The visuals by Noto are a feast for the eyes. 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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