In Review: Poe Dameron #21

The inclusion of Leia in a role other than general makes this an outstanding Star Wars book.

The covers: Poe is flying his X-Wing upside down with BB-8 dangling underneath him. In the bright orange background two other X-wings can be seen. This is a stunning cover for the layout and Marvel being cool enough to put the title and the usual notifications at the top of the image down at the bottom. This is a WOW Regular cover by Phil Noto. The Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant is also an incredible cover. Ashley Witter has created the battle at the Death Star with several X-wings and TIE fighters flying about firing at each other. This is absolutely print worthy. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant A

The story: In the previous issue Lor San Tekka, shown briefly at the beginning of The Force Awakens, was captured on Cato Nemoidia after breaking in to one of Baron Maccon’s ultra secure vaults to have a look at the Kazertath. Charles Soule starts this issue with Maccon speaking with his captive. The Nemoidian assures the man that he will be given a trial and a just and fair sentence. This dialogue is interrupted when a ship lands that the baron is unfamiliar with. A passenger emerges that he doesn’t recognize, but Lor San does — it’s Leia Organa! This came out of left field and is a stunning revelation. Why she’s there and what she does is fantastic. Stating what she’s up to would spoil much of the story, suffice to say it’s absolutely awesome. Seeing Leia involved in anything other than generaling in the comics is new and exciting. Every time she appeared I was on cloud nine. I read every word in joy. Fans of Poe need not be worried, he’s got a major scene as well as he and Snap are going somewhere. There are also three pages with another X-wing pilot, and her pages are shown to expand on Poe and Snap’s conversation. These scenes are solid reads, but simply can’t stand equally with Leia’s pages. I loved this issue and I love what Soule is doing. Overall grade: A

The art: One of the reasons the scenes with Leia really shine is because of Angel Unzueta’s art: she looks incredibly realistic. And she looks her age! I’ve never seen this modern a Leia in a book and she’s fantastic. Also good is Lor San Tekka who resembles Max Von Sydow completely. The same can also be said of Poe and Snap looking like Oscar Isaac and Greg Grunberg. The X-wings look great, with Pages 5 – 8 looking solid. The Nemoidians steal the issue with their pompous clothes and overly grand gestures. When one of them looks shocked it’s gold on the page. The droids they employ are similar enough to the ones shown in several of the Star Wars cartoons, but different enough to know they’re an upgrade. The architecture of these villains’ buildings is also eye catching; even the corridors look impressive. It’s the smile on the last page that’s the cherry on top of this issue. Unzueta nails this book’s art. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The Nemoidians live in extremely gaudy structures and Arif Prianto gives their interiors every possible shade of wealth: ivory, gold, and glowing reds for sensors. The art is lush for these buildings, but the colors make it money. The coloring of the human characters makes them ultra realistic, especially Leia. As with the art, though, it’s the Nemoidians who are exemplary with the amazing shades on their flesh. Their clothes also scream wealth, such as the bright reds on Maccon. There’s some great work done with reflections in the floor and characters emerging from smoke that show the colors making a scene real. Really strong work. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna creates scene settings, dialogue, sounds, and droid speak. I am standing and applauding the sounds and droid dialogue in this issue. This is the first Star Wars comic I can recall that had appropriate sounds for all the laser blasts and explosions in the issue. It looks fantastic. Just as good is when BB-8 and another droid converse. Their fonts look wonderful. I’m glad these changes have occurred and I just need the scene settings and dialogue to change and I’ll be a happy camper. Overall grade: B+

The final line: The inclusion of Leia in a role other than general and visuals that are out of this world make this an outstanding Star Wars book. This series is flying high! Recommended! 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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