POE DAMERON #8
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Phil Noto
Colorist: Phil Noto
Inker: Phil Noto
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: November 9, 2016
Plot: Despite spending most of their time trying to track down Lor San Tekka, Black Squadron’s search mission has come to a halt because there seems to be a traitor amongst Poe’s team.
Story: Poe has been a really great book and Charles Soule is really building up these characters nicely. It really helps to fill out the Star Wars lore and story by adding increased depth and background to all of the supporting characters in the movie. Black Squadron has been through some pretty fun mission and issue 8 focuses on the aftermath of their recent return to the home base, where Poe learns that he might have a traitor in his group.
One thing that this issue really nails is exploring the two main characters’ emotions. On one hand, Poe is extremely broken up about the news that he might have a traitor on his team. Soule does a nice job of weaving in and out of how he personally knows each member and has never doubted them before. Although the story only spends a small portion of the issue on this in the beginning, it really bleeds through the rest of the story and impacts Poe’s decisions later on.
The choice to place a traitor on the team is a nice conflict because Black Squadron is the top group Leia has right now, so they can’t afford any losses. Once the spy is actually revealed, how will Poe and the team respond? Sometimes characters can’t bounce back from things like that and a group’s trust between one another is never fully restored. This is what Poe Dameron is looking to deliver as a book though, compelling stories about the events that take place before and in between these movies.
The other thing that issue 8’s story really touches on is the background of Terex, the main antagonist in Poe Dameron. Terex has been a pretty big mystery, but filling in his background and giving him more of a personality has really boosted the interestingness of the character. Before this issue, Terex was relatively bland and always felt like a typical bad guy who threw a wrench into things but never actually won in the end. Now, readers learn in this issue that he was a former storm trooper that survived a big crash when the Empire was falling, and in order to survive, he had to rediscover who he truly was.
Poe Dameron has been a fun and well-done book, but finally exploring Terex a little more was a major element missing from the story. Issue 8 really begins to dive a little deeper into what it is like to be a storm trooper and how Terex survived in order to make it to where he is now. This is a great aspect to include and to see the antagonist receive these new emotions brings a completely new point of view into Poe Dameron that should only add to what this book has built thus far.
Art: Phil Noto has also really been doing a phenomenal job with his artwork in this book. The artist has all of the characters perfectly drawn with a great amount of detail, but lately he has been utilizing the different scenery available to bring a fresh artistic take on each issue. In Issue 8 there are a lot of desert planet type of landscapes and Noto nails the tone and shading of the color in all of them.
There are a lot of really pretty color palettes chosen in most, if not all, of the panels that are well thought out. Above Noto colors the scene perfectly but the way he inserts the colors almost gives the panel a hazy feeling to it as if the wind was kicking sand into the air. His detail on the characters is always extremely well-done but the color really sets the scene and brings things to life.
Noto and Soule are a great team, who really seem to compliment each other which makes a great product. Soule is very good at displaying the emotional weight of situations within the dialogue he writes and Noto never falls short of that with the accompanying artwork. However, when Noto receives the opportunity to deliver a full or half page action scene, he always nails it. The picture above really scales everything nicely and sets up how grand the scene is with the massive Star Destroyer crashing onto Jakku. The panels all contain a lot of detail but are more complex than they seem, bringing a lot of subtle techniques to light.
Verdict: Poe Dameron continues to be a great book with two great guys working on it. Soule has not really had any missteps with the story and the introduction to Terex’s background brought some great depth to his character. Noto continues to compliment Soule while also delivering strong artistic work that add visual emotion and action to this story to round it out perfectly.