Canon Comic Review: Poe Dameron #9

Poe Dameron #9

– Spoiler Review –

In issue #9 we dive even deeper into Terex’s backstory, it’s revealed how Threepio is responsible for a key moment in The Force Awakens, Poe finds himself on Kaddak at the wrong time, and more in another excellent entry in the always enjoyable Poe Dameron series!

Poe Dameron 9 FullAgent…I mean, ‘Lord’ Terex has been a fantastic character since his introduction in issue #1, as he’s got a personality to match Poe’s, an enigmatic past, and an unpredictable nature about him. His backstory began to be revealed last issue and we dive even deeper in #9, uncovering the start of what changed him from Imperial Stormtrooper to someone the people of Kaddak, a planet where people being thrown off buildings is common-place, would call him Lord. In an interestingly handled series of moments in both flashbacks and the present, we learn that Terex got involved with an effort to restore the Empire by taking over his old Imperial post, the Rothana Shipyards. He and Corlac, the stormtrooper who opened his eyes on Jakku in #8, get involved with a group headed by Wenda and Bett, plus their underlings Wisper and his gang. While the heist of the abandoned Imperial ships hasn’t completely unfolded yet (we’ll see more of that story next issue, including how he gets the Carrion Spike, Tarkin’s old ship, since it’s at the shipyards here), it’s obvious Terex never really gets involved with restarting the Empire, as something happens in their heist which turns him into the head of a particularly devious gang called the Rancs, which is why he has such a unique and intriguing set of armor. Terex being a rather revered head of a deadly gang helps explain why many of the criminals at Megalox in the previous Poe Dameron arc bowed down to him and got out of his way instead of attacking him, meaning his time as Lord Terex must’ve been rather merciless. He’s still very wide-eyed to the world around him by the start of the Rothana mission in the past, so I’m very interested to learn how he becomes a ruthless leader of a deadly gang, so ruthless are they that they’ll kill Wisper, the leader Terex appointed when he went off to join the First Order, so Terex can be Lord again. After that, the fact that he joins the First Order for a bit tells us his dream of restarting the Empire, which began a year or so after Jakku in a bar on Kaddak, is eventually rekindled in him years later after being the leader of the Rancs for a while. After everything we get here, including plenty of humor from the focused, deadly Terex, I can’t wait to see both stories unravel in the issues ahead.

I never quite wondered how Kanjiklub and the Guavian Death Gang managed to team up to hunt down Han Solo for debts he owes them, as it could’ve happened a number of ways and the information was inconsequential to enjoying their particular scene in The Force Awakens, but now we actually have the answer and it’s a pretty damn funny one. It turns out Threepio, in his very boastful demeanor as the head of an important droid spy ring for the Resistance, gabs about his dear friend Han’s deal with the Guavians within earshot of Kanjiklub at a bar on Kaddak. Conveniently (which I’ll forgive because of how funny the moment is), both gangs are there and while there’s no dialogue shown, we get a few quick shots of the two gangs nearly getting into a fight and eventually settling their differences and teaming up to hunt down Han! What a good friend Threepio is! And, technically, we now have Goldenrod to thank for the oft-quotable line, “Tell that to Kanjiklub.”

Poe doesn’t get that much to do this issue, as it’s largely devoted to Terex’s backstory and Threepio’s droid spy ring (remember, one of his sp…operatives supposedly has the location of Supreme Leader Snoke), but he does give us some background on Kaddak and the Sliver (the giant diamond growing out of the ground that the city is built on and around). More interestingly though, Poe’s innate kindness leads to two funny moments: firstly, he’s in disbelief Threepio has to call anyone Master, considering the droid’s ‘contributions’ to the major events in galactic history, but Threepio so humbly waves off the compliment. I’m curious to know where Poe learned these stories and if they weren’t some type of memoir of Threepio’s because, as we all know, he didn’t really help any of the variously important situations he got caught up in. However, this is a fun little wink-and-nod to the fact that George Lucas used the droids as a narrative framing device; Secondly, when asked at the Ranc gang’s entrance if he’s Poe Dameron, he kindly reveals he is…only to be promptly shot with a stun blast! The real kicker to the moment is the gangster’s final line, “Just wanted to make sure.” Was Terex expecting Poe? Did any one of the people of the Sliver who call Terex Lord inform him of Poe’s presence in the city? How will Poe survive his encounter with Terex when he’s the head of a deadly gang that practically seems to control the whole city of the Sliver?!?

Those final questions are part of the rip-roaring fun Charles Soule continuously delivers every issue with the Poe series, brought to vibrant life by Phil Noto. Soule manages to pace #9 entertainingly enough despite some info-drops in Terex’s flashback scenes, while he makes this slightly more confident than normal Threepio a humorous blast to listen to…for once. And it seems like Noto has a lot of fun this issue delivering tons of new species and whatnot for background characters on Kaddak, but it’s the little things that always impress me about his work, including the difference in Terex’s demeanor from past to present, how Kanjiklub and the Guavians teaming up is conveyed so effortlessly without dialogue, and BB-8’s little shocker extension being out after Poe’s knocked out.

Here are a few other things:

  • Much like Poe #8’s various nods to different eras of the GFFA with Terex’s helmet collection, this week there’s a Rogue One: A Star Wars Story blink and you’ll miss it Easter Egg: in the shot of the various Imperial ships in the hanger at Rothana, there’s a TIE Striker in the bottom right.
  • Is Rancs short for Rancor? If so, why was that chosen for the name?

You’re missing out on some of the most fun in Star Wars comics if you’re not reading Poe Dameron (and Doctor Aphra of course), and issue #9 proves it yet again.

+ Lord Terex’s backstory gives answers…and even more intriguing questions

+ Threepio’s fault for a scene in The Force Awakens 

+ Soule and Noto at it again

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth and you can follow the website @MynockManor.

CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Poe Dameron
Black Squadron: #1 | #2 | #3 | Lockdown: #4 | #5 | #6 | The Gathering Storm: #7 | #8 | #10 | #11 | #12 | #13
Doctor Aphra
Aphra (#1-6)
Kanan
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Darth Vader
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)
Star Wars
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)
Rogue One (adaptation)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Lando (mini-series)
Chewbacca (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)

One-Shots: C-3PO