Poe Dameron #1 earns its high-flying namesake

Poe Dameron #1 by Charles Soule and Phil Noto. Variant cover by Joe Quinones. Image via Marvel
Poe Dameron #1 by Charles Soule and Phil Noto. Variant cover by Joe Quinones. Image via Marvel

There’s no better time to be a Star Wars fan than right now — and better still if you’re into comic books. Marvel’s unprecedented partnership with Disney and Lucasfilm has allowed them to pull out the stops this past year, with ongoing titles and miniseries aplenty featuring the exploits of all your favourite characters: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader . . . and now, Poe Dameron.

Released at the beginning of April, Poe Dameron #1 puts us in the cockpit with the eponymous Resistance X-wing pilot played with infectious charm and swagger by Oscar Isaac in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA). The series takes place before the events of that film, with Poe being sent on a mission by General Leia Organa to find clues to Luke’s whereabouts. Poe heads off with his hand-picked Black Squadron to see what he can find, trusty BB-8 in tow (as well as Snap Wexley, candidate for Most Star Wars-ass Pilot Name Ever, and others). I won’t spoil it for you, but you can bet the team runs into some trouble. (Hint: the First Order is looking for Luke, too.)

Poe didn’t get as much screentime as his TFA co-stars, so it’s a pleasure to see him brought to life on the page so vividly by writer Charles Soule and artist Phil Noto. Soule’s dialogue captures the same roguish charm so deftly displayed by Isaac on film, and Noto’s art offers a stylized likeness without falling into off-putting photorealism. (One highlight: the dynamic opening to the issue featuring some stellar X-wing maneuvers, which Noto imbues with a cinematic edge.) It’s a real treat seeing Poe get the spotlight, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the creative team bridges the gap between this and TFA.

As a bonus for BB-8 fans, the first issue includes a short side story called “SaBBotage,” written by Chris Eliopoulous with art by Jordie Bellaire, the latter of whom earned some acclaim for a series of TFA fan art inspired by Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes. The story sees BB-8 playing matchmaker for two Resistance fighters, and it makes for a cute palate cleanser.

One question some fans may have is if Poe Dameron will tackle questions raised post-TFA regarding Poe’s sexuality. Obviously, it’s hard to say; it’s only the first issue after all, and maybe there are plans for the character that go beyond what Soule has in mind for the series. But regardless, a lot of what fans saw and loved in TFA carries over to this first issue: charm, humour, and a daring sense of adventure. Lock S-foils in attack position, comic fans. This series is ready for takeoff.