– Spoiler Review –
After an Annual interlude, we’re back to Speed in Space with Poe Dameron #16, which brings this particular space bus to a stop in all sorts of exciting ways, while allowing other members of Black Squadron to get a pleasant share of the spotlight.
Due to the previous arc and the series’ first Annual spending most of its time with Poe in the spotlight—this series does bare his name after all—it was rather refreshing to not only give the entire crew more to do this arc, but to allow someone other than Poe to be the one with the crazy but successful plan. Poe took it upon himself to steer the bomb-rigged freighter away from his friends, but they wouldn’t let him go it alone and then proceed to hatch the plan that’ll save them all and help them win the day. While Snap Wexley and Jess Pava have their parts, it’s Karé Kun that takes the lead and steals the show, helping them turn the bomb left for them against the very people who rigged it: the First Order. Arriving on said plan contains tons of entertaining banter between the remaining members of Black Squadron, making them feel even more like a cohesive squad unit and tight-knit pack of friends as they go about calling each other space crazy and having problems with counting. It’s been a while since we’ve had this camaraderie on the page and it’s even better to see them all still fall into such a groove despite the death of L’ulo; they set out to have this mission be a success in his honor and they pull it off as enjoyable as ever. Charles Soule not only delivers on the action-adventure nature of the series again with #16, but brings the team back to the forefront and the series is better for it.
Speaking of stuff the series is better for…it felt extremely odd to be cheering for a villain, but hey, this is Terex we’re talking about here! Since his introduction, he’s been an absolute joy to hate and his enforced servitude to the First Order via implants felt both cathartic and saddening at the same time. Thanks to Poe and Black Squad’s success (oh, the irony hidden there!) and his own annoying robotic-like nature nowadays, Terex is knocked aside by an angered Commander Malarus (first introduced in issue #13) but in doing so she causes his implants to take a direct hit, possibly freeing Terex from their hold! Yes, everyone’s favorite charismatic baddie might just be free from the implant’s grasp and there is NO telling what the man will do when he’s back in full control of his mind and body, with both the Resistance and the First Order as enemies. This is an extremely exciting development and I can’t wait to see where Soule takes this next!
As for Malarus, I mentioned in my review of issue #15 she hadn’t quite yet left an impression and the same still holds true by this issue. She’s still garnered my interest and I’m sure we’re set to find out she’s more than meets the eye (get it? Because she has one darkened eye…I’ll stay away from the jokes), so I’ll let it slide she’s not made as big of an impact as Terex initially did. However, she did construct this devious plot and was gladly parading implant-stricken Terex around, so there are some redeeming villainous qualities just waiting to be expanded.
Angel Unzueta’s art continues to grow on me, as his face work initially threw me off but now I enjoy the more photo-realistic approach, helping give the characters more volume and more facial expression range. Likewise, Arif Prianto’s colors bathe every panel in light that matches Unzueta’s approach, and I particularly enjoy how the glow from panels and explosions appear faintly on characters and their surroundings like you’d expect them too. While Dameron‘s initial artist Phil Noto might be a tough act to follow, but Unzueta and Prianto are making this series their own in very memorable ways.
Here are a few other things
- Soule spoke with Marvel regarding crafting the bad guys, including some insights into his plans for Malarus in the issues ahead.
- Curiously enough, there haven’t been any clarifications to where this series’ Annual issue takes place in regards to this arc, and a solution certainly didn’t naturally appear with this issue. Maybe it’s supposed to be after this arc and before the next one? Or maybe we’re never meant to know. More on the Annual and that particular problem in my review.
- I love that Jess’ penchant for losing droids has caused the Resistance droids to call her The Great Destroyer! And her crash landing was perfect.
The entire issue is par for the Charles Soule-led Poe Dameron course, delivering on an entertaining dynamic between the pilots, riveting action, and exciting developments for both sides of the conflict. Speed starring Poe might be over, but issue #16 is still a win.
+ Karé and rest of Black Squadron step up to the spotlight
+ Terex might just be free of the implants…
+ Art continues to shine (literally, at times!)
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)