So far, Marvel’s been doing a great job with their Star Wars comics. They started off with the main series that’s taking place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back so far, while Darth Vader’s solo series focused on Vader regaining power after his humiliating defeat at the Death Star battle. Doctor Aphra grew out of the Darth Vader series, and that’s been a great mix of Star Wars and Indiana Jones style antics so far. The minis vary in quality, but none of them are bad. Some are just ok. Meanwhile, Poe Dameron from the Force Awakens also has his ongoing series, taking place before Star Wars Episode 7. Poe was a very popular character in the movie, even though he’s not in it much, which makes him the perfect focus for a comic series. It’s also been a fun series, capturing his charm well while also giving us a bit of a thriller feel. Today, his first annual released.
Written by Robbie Thompson, Poe Dameron’s annual is a one-off story pitting Poe against his deadliest enemy yet – deep space. His X-Wing is destroyed in an old minefield, he’s running out of air and his blaster has exactly two shots left. Thankfully there’s a damaged and stalled transport nearby, but can he reach it in time? Well, this comic takes place before The Force Awakens, so the answer is yes.
This comic is fun, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything special. BB-8 steals the show, saving Poe’s life several times in this comic. The main story leads Poe into the transport, and then pits him against a bunch of Stormtroopers transporting arms with the civilian transport vehicle. This sequence is intermixed with Poe being lectured by General Leia on his reckless tactics. He doesn’t seem to learn much in this issue. The story is predictable in how it proceeds, even if it’s fun. The ending reveal also tells us something we already knew from the main series – it’s just that Poe Dameron learns it.
The art by Nik Virella is good. It’s a clean, smooth look with good focus on subtle facial expressions. Poe’s space suit is well detailed with its life support system and the cracks in his visor. There’s a great sense of progression between panels while Poe is moving toward the transport. The backgrounds aren’t too detailed, but there’s more than enough to see where you are. Leia wearing a different outfit each time she shows up is a nice touch, staying true to the movies. The colouring by Jordan Boyd is great. There’s brilliant use of lighting from holograms and blaster bolts glowing off people’s faces and the shadows in space. The damaged transport is dark blue inside, but Poe, BB-8, the Stormtroopers and a couple explosions add more than enough colour to the mix.
This is a fun comic, but it’s not what I would call great. As exciting as the story could be, it’s kind of predictable and it doesn’t give you enough time to be afraid for Poe’s life while he’s stranded in space. I’m not just saying that because this takes place before The Force Awakens. Poe is still a great character and he shows his charisma here while he’s talking with Leia. Apart from that there’s nothing remarkable about this issue. This is still worth checking out if you’re enjoying the main series, but read it before you buy it.