Since the release of The Force Awakens, everyone on the internet (myself included) has been clamoring to know more about the best (and best looking) X-Wing pilot in the galaxy. Who is he? Why did he join the Resistance? How did he get so good that General Leia Organa personally recruited him to find her long-lost brother? Marvel is nothing if not a wish granting factory. They have answered our prayers and given us the Poe Dameron origin story of our dreams. This canonical series is the story of Poe and his trusty droid BB-8, before he meets his BFF Finn and saves the day.
Written by Charles Soule, whose current run of Daredevil you should also be reading, with art by Phil Noto that does Oscar Isaac more than justice, Poe Dameron #1 is a high stakes adventure that leaves you excited for more.
General Leia Organa recruits Poe Dameron for a secret mission: find Luke Skywalker before the First Order can get to him. To do so, he will have to assemble a team of trusted pilots to look for the explorer Lor San Tekka. He may be the only hope for finding the missing Jedi.
The story of this comic is both familiar and new at the same time. Those who have seen The Force Awakens know that Poe succeeds in his mission of finding Lor San Tekka, but we don’t know how. This first issue starts to answer that question as well as the question of who Lor San Tekka really is and why he may be the only one able to find Luke. According to Leia he is, “An explorer. He’s been all over the galaxy- there’s not a sacred site or Jedi ruin he hasn’t seen.” Is he perhaps the person who told Luke about the first Jedi Temple?
This is as much of an origin story for Poe as it is a continuation of Leia’s. Here we see her task Poe with finding her brother- and her growing concern about the First Order. The Leia from the comics (and film) is battleworn; she has seen the cost of war and knows about the enemy’s “capacity for evil” as she describes it. She warns Poe that the only world he knows is a world where the Empire is a story, but for her it was very real. These little details are what makes this first issue so interesting. I we hope to see more interactions between Leia and Poe as well as how they came to meet in the first place.
The opening pulls you in right away, with the feeling that we are being brought into something exciting with a side of danger.
We not only see Poe’s skills as a pilot, but also his leadership ability as he assembles the Black Squadron. These are the people he has chose to join him, the people he trusts, the people we have now seen in the film. It’s fun to see the team coming together and their growing dynamic. It reminds me of the Alpha Flight from the Captain Marvel comics. I look forward to watching them grow as a team.
We also see Poe’s interactions with the Creche, who remind me of Airbenders. He is able to use his charm to talk his way out of being held prisoner just in time it seems. It looks like a scuffle with the First Order is in the near future. Not quite sure how well that egg of theirs is going to last…
Art & Lettering
Can we talk about this art for a minute?
That’s. The. Same. Person. Noto has not only captured Oscar Isaac’s hem…physicality, but also his swagger and charisma. Admit it, he’s a sexy drawing.
The first issue contains a multitude of interesting and diverse characters. Besides the fact that they all look like the actors who played them in the films, Noto also does a really great job with facial expressions and hand gestures. Many of the characters speak with their whole bodies, pointing or throwing their hands up in frustration. The colors are bright and engaging and the action really pops off the page. This comic really looks like a Star Wars film.
Honestly I usually don’t notice things like lettering in a comic, unless it makes it hard to read, but this issue was an exception. BB-8 “speaks” through orange lettered “boops” and “beeps” that when italicized a certain way or with punctuation make it possible to decipher his meaning. You can practically hear the exact tone being used.
BB-8 also gets his own little comic without Poe Dameron by writer/artist Chris Eliopoulos with Jordan Bellaire. Here the droid plays an adorable matchmaker for a pilot and mechanic. Maybe his skills with romance will come in handy for another pilot in the near future…
The great thing about The Force Awakens is the resurgence it has created in the Star Wars fandom. This comic is a great way to keep the interest of new, young fans who may not necessarily read the companion books or be versed in the history of the original films.