Poe Dameron Vol. 1 – Black Squadron

Writer – Charles Soule

Artist – Phil Noto

To say that I was excited for this series when it was first announced would be an understatement. I loved Poe in ‘The Force Awakens’ and to get his own comic series set before the events of the film was like a dream come true.

This volume consists of two, three part story-arcs, the First ‘Black Squadron’ shows the formation of Poe’s elite team and the start of Poe’s mission to find Lor-San Tekka by following a clue given to him by Leia of the location of a group of people whom Tekka was believed to have visited.

Poe takes the team, consisting of Temmin ‘Snap’ Wexley, Jessica Pava, L’ulo L’ampar and Karé Kim.

The squadron visit a planet called Ovanis and find a group living underground called ‘The Crèche who are watching over a giant egg. Poe goes to see them to find out about Lor San Tekka whilst the rest of Black Squadron watch the skies. All goes well until the First Order arrives, following a homing beacon on Poe’s ship.

In The Crèche, Poe meets the caretakers and tries to win their trust but his attempts are soon thwarted by the arrival of Agent Terex, a First Order Security Officer who is also on the hunt for Tekka. Poe also finds the tracker in his ship.

The two factions above ground end up in a dogfight which Black Squadron win whilst underground, Terex has Flametroopers attempt to burn the egg, which eventually hatches, releasing a massive creature which begins to attack The Crèche, Poe and the First Order until another creature arrives. Poe overwhelms Terex and the First Order troopers are made captive by the members of The Crèche after the second monster kills the first in a Godzilla-style take-down.

The leader of The Crèche gives Poe the info he needs and Black Squadron leave, giving Terex and his troops the chance to leave once they have left the system. The Crèche also leave their home on the back of the winning creature.

The second story, ‘Lockdown’ has Black Squadron follow The Crèche Elder’s instructions and go to Megalox Prison where Tekka has previously visited and spoken with an inmate, Grakkus the Hutt (from Star Wars: Showdown on Smuggler’s Moon) who was the big boss of the Prison Yard. Unfortunately, Terex had beaten them the the prison.

Grakkus give Poe and Terex an ultimatum, whoever can break Grakkus out gets the information. Terex makes a deal with other crime lords in the prison, whilst Poe has BB-8 and the other Astromech Droids disable a gravity shield that protects the inmates from the planets crushing gravity. Black Squadron steal a ship for Grakkus and help him escape in return for the information whilst Terex is left with nothing but a hologram from Captain Phasma who is displeased with his performance.

Back on D’Qar, Leia verifies the information Grakkus gave them to be legitimate, but before she is ready to have Poe and Black Squadron follow the clues, they need to find out who planted the tracker on Poe’s ship.

As I said earlier, I was really excited for this book, and at first I was taken aback by the odd ‘Force Egg’ plot line but on further re-reading I came to quite enjoy it for what it is, a fun and enjoyable read.

The art is brilliant, Phil Noto really brings the book to life and captures the likenesses of the characters so well, without copying outright from stills of the films.

Soule writes the existing characters so well, despite the lack of material about them (at the time) and introduces some great new characters, including the new villain, Agent Terex, a former Imperial Stormtrooper who has joined the First Order ranks.

My one minor issue, not to do with the comic itself, more to do with the continuity, at what point does this story take place? Seeing as the whole 25 issue run is meant to lead in to ‘The Force Awakens’ but Poe and BB-8 appear in ‘Star Wars: Resistance’ that covers a six month period prior to ‘The Force Awakens’. I’ll have to do some research to clear up my mental timeline issues.

A great start for a new series, I’ve got the next volume download and I can’t wait to get it started.

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