– Spoiler Review –
The boys of Black Squadron on the hunt for a traitor, the gals on the hunt for a story to gain the Resistance some new backers; nothing can go wrong with a Squadron split, right? Thankfully, everything does go wrong and that’s why we tune into Poe Dameron every issue, and #18 is no different.
Not only has it been nice to have Suralinda Javos back, an enterprising journalist always out for the next great story, Jess Pava and Karé Kun of Black Squadron get their own chance to shine. While this issue didn’t contain any more flashbacks or history for Jess, as I had hoped after last issue did, it does feature plenty of time with the ladies striking out together on their own mission, for better or worse. The ideologies of the journalist clashes with the Black Squad’s solider mindset, creating some tension from within their group, as they debate on whether to intervene in the First Order’s razing of an innocent-filled village or wait it out so they can get the most damning evidence for their Resistance propaganda campaign. The morals get murky, and while they spend some time on the do’s and don’ts for each plan, Jess and Karé’s ultimate choice aligns with what you’d expect from the good guys. I do appreciate Charles Soule waded into concept as deep as he did on this action-focused series, and even though it dismisses the morally unsound choice as quick as it was brought up for our heroes, the moment’s hesitation shows how neither side is completely black or white. Of course their rescue mission goes south, just as Sura predicted, and while Jess and Karé did what they’re best at, Sura focuses on her strength and begins to talk her way out of the sticky situation they find themselves, surrounded by the First Order. While Jess’ life is guaranteed until The Force Awakens, despite her getting shot here (Soule has a great habit of putting the ones we know will survive in the worst predicaments), will Sura’s quick thinking be enough to get her and Karé out of things alive? I sure as hell hope so, as I don’t want either of them to perish, and I’d love to spend more time with the ladies of Black Squadron in future adventures.
Poe and Snap Wexley are on Oddy Muva’s trail, stopping in at their former friend’s home and finding his wife still there. While the First Order did leave her there to spread disinformation to Black Squadron, which Sowa certainly does at the end, she at least tells them the truth of Oddy’s predicament when Terex had her as blackmail against him. I was only slightly surprised at Poe and Snap’s response to the information, as had L’ulo not perished they’d certainly be a little more understanding, but Oddy had plenty of chances to bring his situation to light so they could help him, a reality that helps me understand their ultimate response that Oddy must stand trial, no matter his intentions. Their situation at the end of the issue isn’t as dire as the one the ladies’ of Black Squad are in, flying into a trap set by Commander Malarus, but either way they are all in trouble for sure. Considering this series has had two separate instances where General Leia is working on grooming Poe to be a leader beyond just that of his single Squadron (issue #14 and Annual #1), I found it pointedly interesting he makes the comment how happy he is to leave the, “…complicated stuff to the Generals,” showing he isn’t quite there yet as we know from TFA. But Leia’s grooming certainly isn’t over, as Entertainment Weekly’s Fall Movie preview guide pointed out she will continue in The Last Jedi, so don’t expect that change to come any time soon here in the comics.
I’m still under the belief Terex’s implants have been damaged to some extent, but so far he’s remained under their sway or is still just biding his time, even after a tempting offer from Oddy Muva. The interrogation of Oddy by Terex was the second most intriguing part of the Poe Dameron #18 (first going to the ladies’ situation), as Oddy’s comments to Terex on how he’s the slave now highlights how far the villain has fallen. It’s also great to allow Oddy this chance to get back at his captor, despite being a captive himself again, and it was pretty funny to see him laughing during his interrogation, which had me recalling scenes from plenty of action films where our hero/heroine gets captured and laughs their way through their capture at the hands of the villains (something even present in Star Wars!). I’m intrigued to see if and when Terex shows just how free of the implants he truly is, possibly by taking up Oddy on his offer. Likewise, will Malarus get her comeuppance, potentially at Terex’s free hands, or by another embarrassment from Black Squadron’s escape from her vile clutches?
Either way, I’m happy Angel Unzueta, with colors by Arif Prianto, are here to show us how all these things will go down, as I continue to enjoy their work more and more. I especially enjoyed the final, full page, which looks front cover worthy as it really helps frame the control Malarus and the First Order have on the situation over Black Squadron. I also like the insectoid-populated planet, a sharply red hued place, as it has a really stark but intriguing design/look that highlights the two sides of the battle while making things feel a little extra dismal for our heroes there.
Here are a few other things:
- Salvador Larroca (Darth Vader, Star Wars) has drawn Unzueta into the Star Wars series as an Imperial officer, but I’m not sure which issue it is for, though I do know it at least has been 33 or 34 so I’m sure it’s still yet to come. Prior to this, Assistant Editor Heather Antos has been drawn into both the Han Solo miniseries and the Star Wars series, which also had Editor Jordan D. White in it. I find these Easter eggs pretty fun and hope they continue to do this, as appropriate, from time to time. How cool would it be if they eventually open up a contest to get your own face drawn into a series?
Poe Dameron #18 puts all of Black Squadron into another situation full of impossible odds, making for an exciting issue and building anticipation to see how the heck they get out of this one!
+ The ladies on their own
+ Oddy talking trash while captured
+ More of the ol’ “how the hell will they get out of this” we’ve come to know and love from the series
Aphra (#1-6) | And the Enormous Profit (#9-14) | Annual: #1
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith
The Chosen One (#1-6)
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) | Annual: #1 / #2
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)