For the most part, Star Wars Poe Dameron has mostly been running with shorter story arcs, 2 or 3 issues long at the most. After Poe discovered there’s a traitor within his squadron, he kicked off a longer story arc that felt like quite the spy thriller. That said, he’s been struggling with Agent Terex of the First Order since the beginning of the series. Agent Terex is a brutal and very intelligent warrior, but in this story arc he goes rogue to chase Poe down, even against Captain Phasma’s direct orders.
Written by Charles Soule, Poe Dameron 13 concludes what is easily the longest story arc in this series so far. Poe is on an information gathering mission while he’s trying to figure out who the traitor within the Resistance is. Meanwhile, Terex gathered a bunch of his mercenary friends to track Poe down, hoping to find the Resistance base and destroy it himself. The previous issue ended up with Poe stranded on a planet with Terex’s main forces closing in on him in a cave, while Black Squadron is fighting the other mercenaries in the air. It looks like a hopeless situation, leaving us with a pretty intense comic.
As intense as it is, it’s balanced out with some great humour. Easily the most entertaining moment in this comic comes with one of Poe’s squadron members helping out with reprogramming a commando droid who’s with Poe, but doesn’t want to fight. I won’t spoil it, but it’s glorious in multiple ways. The fight in the sky is a touch more dramatic, although I personally didn’t feel the dramatic weight as much as I think Soule intended us readers to. One of the squadron members dies, but I didn’t really feel that much. Apart from that, this is a well-balanced comic with an ending that’s somewhat surprising, but it was also foreshadowed in earlier issues. It’s the right balance of being surprising while still making sense.
The art and colouring by Phil Noto is great as always. The battle in space shows a great variety of mercenary fighters flying around, while the X-Wings weave through them. There’s a good mix of wide shots, close-ups on a ship’s hull when it’s hit, and glimpses inside the cockpits from various angles. It makes the fight feel like a Star Wars movie in all the right ways. The cave is well detailed with smaller chambers, shadows and wider rooms. The mercenaries have a variety of armour, with Terex’s the most visually interesting. Facial expressions do a good job at conveying emotion, like Poe’s relief when the fight is over, the look of shock in one of the Resistance pilot’s eyes when the mercenaries start shooting unarmed escape pods, and the look of utter defeat on Terex’s face at the end of the comic.
While this comic didn’t carry the emotional impact it seemed to intend, it’s otherwise a great closer to both the current story arc and the rivalry between Poe and Terex. Poe is charming as usual, the droids are very entertaining, the action is intense and the story feels like a spy thriller in all the right ways. If you enjoy Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens, you’ll likely enjoy this.