In Review: Poe Dameron #2

A fantastic villain debuts to make Poe's life miserable.

The covers: A threesome to track down before the First Order finds them! The Regular cover of ‘Poe Dameron’ is by interior artist Phil Noto and features Poe in profile. Before the heroic pilot is a banner of the First Order and four stormtroopers led by new villain Agent Terex. The skinny, pointed mustache classifies the man as a fop, though the rocky scars above his eyebrows have him appearing to be a seasoned veteran of many skirmishes. The villain looks great, surrounded by those troopers, and Poe still stands out in the image, being so large. Noto should also be given be kudos for creating a fantastic likeness of Oscar Isaac. The only thing that could have made this better would be brighter reds, as this is a bit of a dully colored cover. The first Variant cover is a textless version of this cover, which is just as good as the Regular. The final Variant cover is by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire showing a terrific image of Poe in his X-wing evading fire from over twenty TIE fighters, with an explosion getting too close to BB-8 in the back. Great point of view and the colors make this really stand out; loving the green on the enemy fighters. Overall grades: Regular A-, Variant Noto A-, and Variant Shalvey A 

The story: Picking up from the events of last issue, a group of ten flying stormtroopers are zipping into the cavern where Poe is hidden, led by Agent Terex. The second panel has him yelling to Poe, whom he cannot see, “We’re coming for you, my friend! We’re coming!” This is as close to a character yelling “Talley-Ho!” in a Star Wars comic that I’ve ever encountered. The travel is halted by an enormous sealed door. Looking at the obstacle, Terex asks the closest trooper if he knows that Terex used to be “one of them.” The trooper’s response is priceless: “Yes, sir. Many times.” In two pages (or if one wants to go there, four panels) writer Charles Soule has made this leader a dandy and a braggart. The doorway is blown and Terex enters to find people, who call themselves the Creche, around a giant egg. Their leader tells him he must leave before he is destroyed. The villain says, “My, my, look at all these guns. Glad I bought some, too,” and his troopers fly in. His comment in the third panel on Page 4 is fabulous. I haven’t laughed out loud at a Star Wars comic in a while, but the speech and gall of this man is incredible. The story then goes into a three paged flashback to show how Terex got himself involved with the First Order. The setting is great and the person that hires the man will make fans cheer, as this person does more in three pages than was done in The Force Awakens. The inclusion of these pages is to show that what the reader has seen of Terex so far is just a facade; he is much smarter and much more knowledgeable of the situation than he is letting on to the Creche or his troops. It’s almost as if Terex is an evil Mirror Universe version of Lando Calrissian. BB-8 does a key action in this book that allows Poe Dameron to make his presence known. The characters that appear on Pages 10 and 11 had me overjoyed because of who they are, and their actions show them to live up to their legend. The tete-a-tete between Poe and Terex is outstanding, fleshing out the pilot’s bravado while rounding out Terex even more. The cliffhanger is terrific, occurring next to Poe and high above in orbit. Overall grade: A

The art: The illustrations and colors are by the extremely talented Phil Noto. The book starts in very dramatic fashion with the reader looking at Terex and the troopers flying at him or her. The second panel is a humorous gesture as he shouts his proclamation at Poe. The coloring of the power emanating out of the flying troopers’ jetpacks is a terrific shade of neon blue, making them stand out significantly in the interiors of the brown cave. The red tint on Terex’s goggles gives him the perfect villainous color and separates him further from his empty black eyed soldiers. Terex’s first appearance on 4 without his helmet is a character defining moment, and it’s super — and the coloring on him is incredibly realistic. The hologram that appears in the book has the familiar blue hues from the films, and set against the backdrop of some hot pinks, it’s vivid. Pages 8 and 9 shows some great emoting for Terex, going from pitying to threatening — an excellent combination for a villain. The partial double-paged splash on 10 and 11 is exciting. It’s also impressive as the layout generates speed without Noto having to put speed lines into this work. Especially cool are the four circles inset into the piece to draw attention to the four characters. Page 15 is the masterpiece of the book. Ships are fighting, which is undoubtedly one of the hardest things to illustrate, but the layout and way in which Noto chooses to show so much action is outstanding. The coloring is also very different from anything I’ve seen before in a Star Wars book, but it seems completely natural. This book looks outstanding. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Dialogue, a meditative hum, sounds, yells, a transmission, and a scene setting are crafted by VC’s Joe Caramagna. The dialogue continues to be an issue in all of this franchise’s books, so thin that words carry no strength and letters seem to combine, but the sounds are outstanding. Of special note is BB-8’s utterances, which are thinner than shown in other books, emphasizing that the droid is trying to keep its speech on the down low. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: A fantastic villain debuts to make Poe’s life miserable. A fabulous read! Overall grade: A

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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