The seventh issue of this series flashed back further than the main storyline, and introduced a freelance journalist Suralinda Javos. Suralinda at first wanted to expose The Resistance for her own fame, but eventually decided that the galaxy needed the resistance and joined them instead, quitting her journalism career. Since then, she’s mostly been performing janitorial work. While she doesn’t enjoy it, she considers worth it for the fact that they took her in even though she first intended to betray them. Ten issues later, she’s making her second appearance.
Although this series is named after Poe Dameron, a fan favourite character from The Force Awakens despite his small role, the series often gives plenty of page space to the rest of his Black Squadron. This issue goes a step further by giving Jess, the Asian resistance pilot from The Force Awakens, more page space than Poe himself. The comic wastes none of that opportunity to give her some character development and hinting at her back story.
This issue touches on a few other loose plot threads, like the mechanic who betrayed The Resistance just to find his wife, who was one of Agent Terrex’s prisoners. As such, Black Squadron splits into two groups. One, led by Jess and Suralinda, are on a mission to expose some of The First Order’s atrocities to help the Resistance gain sympathy to their cause. It’s the perfect mission for a former journalist to undertake. The other group, led by Poe, is tracking down the traitor. Most of this issue sets up both missions, each ending with a satisfying teaser.
The art by Angel Unzueta is great. The opening page showing Suralinda working as a janitor is filled with detail, like the old metallic walls, bathroom stalls that look high tech and the futuristic cleaning equipment that still resembles the modern day Swiffer. The detail on her general appearance and uniform is impressive as well. The background detail continues throughout the comic, whether you’re looking at the Resistance base full of cracked walls and vines, the starry sky, or the red forest world that Jess and Suralinda land on.
Facial expression perfectly convey emotions like the delighted grin on the First Order officer when she … experiments on herself, Suralinda’s curious look when she and Jess are bonding during their flight, and Poe’s warm smile when he tries to encourage his old journalist friend. The colouring by Arif Prianto is also great. There’s brilliant use of sun glares and shadows to enhance a bright and colourful comic. Overall, this is the best looking comic I picked up this week, and with the Mighty Thor’s typically fantastic art in contention, that’s saying quite a bit.
Writer Charles Soule is doing a lot of fun things with this series. It takes place in the months before The Force Awakens, showing some of The Resistance’s struggles and how in a lot of ways, they were even worse off than The Rebellion during the original trilogy era. Because this issue sets up two stories at once there isn’t as much room for the usual fun. Instead, there’s some much needed character development and some tense build-up to make up for it. Both sides are clearly working to manipulate the other in their own way, and that’s almost as exciting as a big action scene. Those who enjoyed The Force Awakens should give this series a chance if they haven’t already.