– Spoiler Review –
Was there ever any doubt Charles Soule and Phil Noto could deliver a fantastic finale to Marvel’s most action-packed and adventurous series? Poe Dameron #13 not only wraps up its longest arc to date, “The Gathering Storm,” but it also deals with several story threads that have been around since the beginning, making this a well-rounded, action-packed, and even emotional finale for its first leg. Oh, and a certain homicidal droid named Mister Bones makes a scene-stealing appearance…what more could you ask for?
Soule set up some rather impossible odds in #12 for the Black Squadron to ever have any hope of coming out alive from their latest predicament and #13 finds several surprising ways to help nearly everyone make it out alive. While Oddy sabotaging the Carrion Spike and the First Order’s retribution against Terex were certainly highlights, the semi-appearance of Mister Bones, the hilarious homicidal and overly protective heavily modified B1 battle droid created by Temmin Wexley, aka Snap of Black Squadron, from the Aftermath Trilogy, just about stole the show. Without spoiling anything from the books, it isn’t quite possible for Mister Bones to actually be in this issue, but it seems Snap carries around the droid’s personality template because he believes it to be good luck (and rightfully so considering all that droid did for him) and he sends it to Poe to put into Nunzix, the extremely unhelpful (thanks to Threepio’s too thorough programming) commando droid. Getting to see Mister Bones revel in the destruction of us meatbags one more time is a true sight to behold and his moment ends just as quickly and hilariously as it started.
As a villain, Terex has been one helluva entertaining jerk and by issue’s end he finally gets his comeuppance. Not only are the Rancs destroyed, so to is his (borrowed) ship the Carrion Spike, and his time as a crime lord and/or agent of the First Order officially come to an end as he’s hauled off to be punished by the First Order. Poe makes sure Terex realizes all that he’s lost, and while Terex tries to point out Poe lost someone too (more on that in a moment), Poe reminds Terex as tough as the loss will be to process, at least he didn’t lose everything. The best part about Terex’s path in this issue is that he’s still alive by its end, which is a bold move by Soule and leaves open the possibility that he could come back to haunt Poe at one point again…if he survives whatever punishment awaits him from the First Order. I’m sure Phasma will give him a good many fists to the face, but I’ll hope to see Terex again anyways because he’s the type of villain you just love to hate and he was a true blast for the first volume of the Poe Dameron.
As alluded to above (and revealed by Soule himself a few months back when he said he reworked an upcoming funeral to honor Carrie Fisher), one of Black Squadron’s own does not make it out of this issue alive. Since many of the squad have been in The Force Awakens, the list was somewhat narrow, but it was still surprising and quite a bit sad to see L’ulo go. His death was pretty heroic as least, as he sacrifices himself so innocents could live, making it a bittersweet ending for a character who’s been around for awhile now. L’ulo was first introduced in 2015’s Shattered Empire #2 as a friend of Poe’s parents, specifically a squad leader over Shara Bey, and he later become an uncle-figure for Poe after Shara’s passing, so this loss will hit Poe pretty hard once he has had time to process it. He’s been a solid presence in both the comics and the life of Poe, so it’ll be interesting to see how Soule writes Poe and the rest of the Sqaud dealing with L’ulo’s death and how it’ll effect them going forward on their quest for Lor San Tekka.
While the excellent Soule will stay on this series, even though he’s working on the upcoming second Darth Vader series, this seems to be Phil Noto’s final issue of Poe Dameron, which is about the saddest news I could tell you right now about this issue. Noto’s work is nothing short of exceptional and he’s made this one of the most gorgeous looking of all of Marvel’s series to date, while his work so far has been an all too important piece of what makes this adventure series so much fun. He’ll still be doing the covers (as well as the ones for the Rogue One adaptation) and I bet we’ll see him again for a series in the future, but for now we must bid him goodbye. Angel Unzueta will continue on from here, and while I wasn’t a big fan of some of his face work in issue #7 (where he previously worked on the series), everything else looks fantastic so the art for Poe Dameron will still be in good hands!
Here are a few other things:
- Over at Tosche-Station, Bria shares her interview with Charles Soule about both his upcoming Vader series and Poe Dameron, specifically L’ulo’s death and what it means for the series going forward. Plus, the reveal that Suralinda Javos, an favorite of mine from issue #7, will be back soon!
- This issue introduced a new Commander of the First Order, Malarus, and I’m sure Soule can make her just as interesting and complex as Terex was as an opponent for Poe and Black Squadron. The fact that she couldn’t do anything to Poe and the squad because they’d record it and send it to Hosnian Prime, thus starting a war, was a nice little move on Poe’s part and a reminder of the stalemate currently gripping the galaxy in this time frame.
I might be more sad about Noto leaving the series than I am about L’ulo’s death, but both are integral parts to the excellent finale that is Poe Dameron #13…and so too is MISTER BONES making meat paste one more time. Between this and Doctor Aphra #6, we’re getting spoiled in terms of excellent writers, excellent series, and excellent finales.
+ Ending Terex’s reign of terror but keeping him alive
+ The issue has humor, sadness, and excitement all at once
+ MISTER BONES
+ You shall be missed, Phil Noto!
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Black Squadron: #1 | #2 | #3 | Lockdown: #4 | #5 | #6 | The Gathering Storm: #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | #12
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) | Annual: #1 / #2
Darth Maul (mini-series)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)