– Spoiler Review –
Poe Dameron #17 starts a new arc, “War Stories,” which brings back one of my favorite new comic characters of 2016, Suralinda Javos, while also putting the ladies of Black Squadron front and center and the search for the “traitor” Oddy Muva heats back up. Sure, there’s plenty of set-up, but it’s entertaining as you’ve come to expect this series to be.
Suralinda Javos first appeared in Poe Dameron #7 (technically this series’ first Annual issue) and her switch from reporter out for a story to Resistance believer was engagingly told, resulting in her leaving quite the mark with me. I’ve been wondering when we’d see her again and finally Poe Dameron #17 brings her out of the bathrooms (literally) and to the front lines of a propaganda war General Leia wants waged so they pull in new funds for the Resistance. Originally I had thought Sura would be involved with uncovering the “traitor” of Black Squadron and that certainly didn’t end up being the case, but putting her reporter skills to use to win Resistance support over acquiescence to the First Order by the rest of the galaxy is a brilliant, perfect idea, both by Leia and Charles Soule. Her honesty, especially considering she’s a reporter, is refreshing and makes her easy to like, which she uses to help build camaraderie with the rest of Black Squadron after her duplicitous actions to get to the D’Qar and the Resistance in the first place. The issue manages to cover that event without getting too exposition-heavy, but such is the skills of Soule.
Putting Sura in focus has an exciting and welcomed side effect of bringing the gals of Black Squadron, Jess Pava and Kare Kun, into the forefront as well. Specifically, it looks like we’ll be uncovering more about Jess’ past, as Sura’s pointed questions to Jess reveals the first, of hopefully many, flashbacks about Jess to help explain why she is how she is. The running gag about her losing astromech goes even further this week, as it seems now all the astromechs are feigning malfunctions so they don’t get teamed up with her! As much as they fear being under her control, it seems her history includes an unfortunate incident where things not being under her control resulted in tragedy, hence why she personally mods and fine-tunes her own ships. The narrative threads to her past are inciting glimpses that have me looking forward to more and it’s really great to see her get fleshed out more as a character. Even though this series is named Poe Dameron, his squad is intimately important to his life, so focusing more on them is both natural and expected. I can’t wait to see what trouble the three gals will get up to, as well as how Jess history plays out.
Last issue, good ol’ dependably evil Terex got his head smashed against a wall and it might have just given him back some control from the implants Captain Phasma had installed on him. While this week didn’t get into that possibility too much, it did tease his growing independence when he told Commander Malarus she didn’t need to access the manual interface of the implant and that he would just simply answer any questions he might have; it’s not much, and while Malarus doesn’t seem to trust the implant’s control she still doesn’t believe he’s free from it, but it still seems he’s under the implants spell…for now. Speaking of Malarus, we get to see more of her, including her juicing up ritual (Soule did previously call her, “…a sadistic bodybuilder…”) and thirst for revenge against Poe and Black Squadron. She’s pretty devious here, from showing her lack of trust (and rightly so) of the implants on Terex and her plan to strike at Black Squadron: by scooping up Oddy Muva!
Yes, the traitorous non-traitor (at least to me) Oddy Muva is back in everyone’s sights again. I don’t see him as a full traitor considering he was just trying to keep his wife alive, and while that seems like something Poe might understand though likely not forgive right away, things are going to get quite complicated again. Poe and Snap head off to track him down, but the First Order nabs him first, leaving his wife Sowa to leave a little message for Poe, likely disinformation that won’t help put Poe or Snap in the forgiving mood anytime soon. It’s only been a handful of issues since Oddy managed to get away and I’m glad to see it hasn’t taken very long (and has been brought up organically/doesn’t feel forced) for the series to get back to looking for him.
Angel Unzueta originally brought Sura to life, so the visual consistency with her character was greatly appreciated, as the art team of Unzueta and Arif Prianto continually grows on me. Best stuff this week was a glimpse at Abednedo’s architecture, at least as far as Oddy’s home goes, and I hope we get to see more because it seemed quite interesting visually. They’ve been wonderful replacements for Phil Noto, whose covers (see above) continue to knock it out of the galaxy as well.
Here are a few other things:
- At the recent D23 Expo, Star Wars Land was officially unveiled as Galaxy’s Edge and to build excitement for it, there was a giant model of the upcoming park on display, as well as a booth with more details and inside peeks and what’s to come. One of the booth’s dioramas included an A-wing model, but more to the point for us Poe Dameron fans, this plaque’s description included a reference to dearly departed A-wing aficionado L’ulo himself! This was all thanks to Matt Martin of the Story Group, who’s main focus is the comics, hence L’ulo!
- Got to say, intentional or not, some of the stuff in the beginning of the issue regarding propaganda wars and people forgetting about conflicts ended up being pretty topical, especially in a world where some people seem to be dead-set on squashing the press while pushing their version of events/disinformation.
Set-up it may be, Poe Dameron #17 teases plenty of exciting and intriguing story threads and gets major bonus points from me for Suralinda Javos returning plus giving the ladies of Black Squadron more panel time.
+ Suralinda Javos is back!
+ Learning more about Jess, while Kare gets to join the focus too
+ The hunt for Oddy heats up on both sides of the conflict
Aphra (#1-6) | And the Enormous Profit (#9-13) | Remastered (#14-19) | Annual: #1
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith
The Chosen One (#1-6) | The Dying Light (#7-12)
Captain Phasma (miniseries)
The Screaming Citadel (crossover of Doctor Aphra and Star Wars on-goings)
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Out Among the Stars (#33-37) | Ashes of Jedha (#38-43) | Annual: #1 / #2 / #3
Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu (miniseries)
Darth Maul (mini-series)
Rogue One (adaptation)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)