Monday, May 8, 2017

Poe Dameron #14 Review - Marvel Monday

Written by: Charles Soule
Art by: Angel Unzueta, Arif Prianto and Joe Caramagna
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 3, 2017

The last issue of Poe Dameron saw the Resistance's Black Squadron escape an attack from Terex acting in his side-line as a criminal gang-master rather than his day job as First Order operative. BB-8 saved the day (yes, again) to allow our heroes to escape, but in the attack Black Squadron lost one of their long serving operatives, veteran pilot L'ulo. Having made it back to the Resistance base, it is now time to mourn the loss of their fallen comrade. We also get to find out what happened to Terex who will have to face the wrath of Captain Phasma for "going it alone" and attacking the Resistance with his gang against the First Order's...well...orders. Let's see what happened next...

The neat thing about this issue is that it has a very deliberate structure to it; we see the fate of Poe and Terex outlined in parallel. Poe, in his engagement with the Resistance General Leia Organa; Terex in his engagement with the First Order's Captain Phasma. Leia knows that Poe has been affected by the death of his colleague. Phasma on the other hand is managing Terex's breach of protocol. So we see a twin track approach by Charles Soule as Leia and Phasma handle Poe and Terex respectively.

The high point of the issue is Poe's moving eulogy for his fallen comrade in the funeral service held at the Resistance base. He speaks eloquently but the reader of this issue will sense that the creative team are actually tipping their hats to the recent loss of Carrie Fisher. Dameron's speech focuses on the Force and how, even after death, his comrade's spirit has joined with a wider force (and "the Force") in the galaxy. The issue makes it clear that General Organa knows that, despite his brave speech, Dameron isn't yet ready to re-enter the fray of battle. He is told he is grounded by Organa to his initial dismay.

By contrast Terex isn't so sensitively handled in his dealings with Phasma. Certain that his attack has allowed him to obtain key resistance data (on the Star Wars version of a USB stick) for the First Order, he is initially cocky and certain of himself in his dealings with the silver-armored female giantess. When he is told by Phasma that an electrical surge from BB-8 (at the end of the last issue) has corrupted the precious data his confidence falters considerably. Oh well, at least his initial fear of being sent down the Imperial mines by Phasma didn't come to fruition. Phasma instead has a much more sophisticated punishment in line for Terex's breach of First Order protocols...

This is a series that swings between meaningful issues and adventure-based filler issues. This was one of the former and has an added degree of pathos in the mourning of L'ulo, and the symbolism of Leia Organa's attendance at the funeral in light of Carrie Fisher's passing away. It was a good issue; indeed it would stand as a good standalone issue. The art from Angel Unzueta is good, although I usually find Arif Prianto's coloring a little strange in terms of choice of palette (the dark colors make the characters look a bit intense at inappropriate times).

Bits and Pieces:

The writing is what carries this issue home and it is some of Charles Soule's best in this series to date. We are still no further advanced in the search for Lor San Tekka (the series supposed premise), but I can forgive them that given this issue's quality.


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