It was easy to leave Star Wars: The Force Awakens wanting more Poe Dameron. Sure, he was a fun guy, but we had no idea why he was talking to Max Von Sydow, or why we should care much about him beyond the sheer natural charisma of Oscar Isaac. A new miniseries from Charles Soule and Phil Noto attempts to fill in some of those gaps, and it’s strong enough that it reads like a lost chapter that could easily have kicked off the movie.
The plot is simple: Poe is tasked by Leia with tracking down an explorer who might know the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker. Poe has to get that knowledge first, and keep it out of the hands of the First Order, so he’s off on its trail with a hand-picked selection of pilots. And, it turns out, a potential traitor as well.
Soule, the writer, and Noto, who just finished a lush, beautiful run on Marvel’s Star Wars: Chewbacca miniseries, have to cram a movie into a comic book, and they not only pull it off, they make it look easy. Noto, who’s rapidly becoming the best artist on Marvel’s Star Wars books, shifts gears here, giving the book a crisper feel than Chewbacca. His art has a clean line and an ability to translate faces to the comics page without losing the soul behind them. Too often, licensed books simply sketch over photos of actors and leave it at that, but Noto’s drawings of Poe feel exuberant even when he’s dodging blaster fire or about to be crushed by a trap. Similarly, Noto’s layouts are tightly paced, with the opening bit of slick piloting feeling tense even knowing Poe makes it through.
Soule, meanwhile, shows off the tight plotting he’s best known for. He just finished up an excellent series following Lando Calrissian and the heist of a lifetime, and here demonstrates an ability to capture the feel of the movies through dialogue and plotting. Soule ensures the book moves at a brisk clip and by the end of it, you’ve got a much better sense of just who Poe Dameron is, as a person, beyond being a crack pilot.
BB-8 also gets a little time to shine in a backup piece by Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire which finds him playing matchmaker. It’s cute but slight. Eliopoulos’ art feels a bit Calvin and-Hobbes ish here, which can be distracting, but the feature’s cute enough, and makes for good all-ages reading.
Taken as a package, Poe Dameron’s solo comic nicely continues Marvel’s impressive array of Star Wars titles, and we’re looking forward to more of it. It’ll be available in comics shops and online tomorrow.