For a while now, this series has taken place between daring pilot Poe Dameron leaving the New Republic forces to join the Resistance and The Force Awakens. Although there have been a couple storylines focusing on other matters, the series started off with Poe searching for Lor San Tekka, the man who gave Poe the map to Luke Skywalker at the start of the movie. This story arc is putting the series back on its original focus. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if after this, the series starts moving to the Force Awakens/Last Jedi and beyond.
Written by Charles Soule, Star Wars Poe Dameron 21 begins shortly after the last issue, with Lor San Tekka captured by a rich Nemoidian. Yes, the leaders of the Trade Federation from the prequel trilogy. It’s nice to see that while they remain the slimy cowards they were in the prequels, but that they’ve at least learned to be more neutral in larger galactic affairs. Anyway, there are three major story points in this issue. We see Lor San Tekka’s very quick and unfair trial, despite his captor’s claims to the contrary. We see Leia beginning her rescue plan in person, with the help of the blue skinned freelance journalist introduced in the annual. And there are a couple moments updating us on the rest of Black Squadron.
The best part of this comic is Leia beginning her rescue plan. She shows a touch of sentiment to her mother’s old clothes that feels genuine, even if it’s part of her plan. There’s the Nemoidian trying to sell his vault services, with an amusing attack from a rival. And of course there’s Leia showing that even in her old age, she still knows how to use a blaster. The Black Squadron scenes are also fun, whether it’s the quick scene of Poe and Snip testing out their newly repaired ships or Jess’s struggles with not only repairing her X-Wing, but trying to convince a droid to fly with her. A running joke in this series is how her astromech droids keep getting destroyed, and none of them want to fly with her anymore.
But as entertaining as this issue is, it still feels like it’s building up to something even more exciting.
The art by Angel Unzueta is fantastic. There’s a lot of detail on every level, from the backgrounds showing a wide variety of locations, to the faces that look realistic without looking uncanny. During the brief flying scene, there’s a good variety of close-up panels of the pilots’ faces and wider shots of the ships flying over temple ruins. Jess is appropriately dirty while she’s working on her X-wing repairs, and her facial expression clearly show her frustration when they don’t seem to be going so well. Arif Prianto’s colouring really brings the art to life. The fancy vaults on Cato Nemoidia are nice and shiny, with an overall clean look, brilliant use of reflections and even cells that almost look like suites … if not for the chains on Lor San Tekka’s arms. The temple on the other hand is well worn, covered in plants and has plenty of fog in the backgrounds. As a whole, this is a bright and colourful comic.
This is a really fun issue, and while this series has been consistently enjoyable to begin with, it feels like it’s getting back on track after several story arcs that completely ignored Lor San Tekka. Then again, searching for the famous explorer for more than a year would be really pushing it. Whatever the case, this is an easy recommendation for those wanting more of Poe Dameron in the lead up to The Last Jedi, or those wanting to learn more about the Galaxy’s political atmosphere at the time of the sequel trilogy.