A galaxy far, far away is a busy place, and a long time ago was a very busy time for said galaxy. We can’t always dig deep on all the goings-on in the Star Wars Universe, but we can round up ’em! Today, we’re discussing Star War Poe Dameron 4 and Star Wars Han Solo 2
Poe Dameron 4
Taylor: When watching Episode VII again recently I had a strange thought. All of the characters we meet in the movie we only know through the lens of war. I’m guessing that doesn’t come as a surprise to most people, but it’s something I’ve never thought about deeply before. I have no idea what Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, or Leia are like outside of the context of war. What would their lives be like in a time of peace? For the new characters we’re introduced to the questions is even more fascinating. For example, who is is Poe Dameron aside from a daring pilot? What’s he like when he’s not battling the first order? And this gets to deeper question of just who is Poe Dameron outside of one hell of a pilot”?
Poe and Black Squadron are still on the trail of the galactic explorer Lor San Tikka in an effort to help Leia find Luke. Having narrowly escaped the First Order on an asteroid with a Giant Egg, Poe and Black Squadron now find themselves dispatched to the prison planet Megalox Beta. There they are to meet the notorious Grakkus the Hutt to see what he knows about Tikka.
Unsurprisingly, before long things get messy. Having paid for safe passage to Grakkus’ hideout, Poe and company find themselves betrayed by their escort who abandon our heroes, leaving at the hands of a murderous mob of inmates. Poe and Black Squadron get out of this mess doing what they do best – battling.
The battle is basically over as soon as it begins, though the reason for this is unclear. Ostensibly it’s because Black Squadron reached the gates of Grakkus’ compound, but in terms of story telling it leaves me wanting more. Four issues in a still know relatively little about Poe and his squad as people. I know Poe likes to take risks and that he’s good at what he does, but that’s nothing I didn’t already know from Episode VII. Ultimately I think that’s why I want more from this battle, without the battle, the war, there’s really nothing fueling this issue. I get no sense of character development from Poe and by most accounts he just seems like a regular outside of combat. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in the real world, but when your reading sci-fi comic you expect something more than just the regular.
This problem in the comic continues elsewhere in the issue. The scene involving Poe, Grakkus, and Terex largely falls flat despite it involving three larger than life personalities. One would expect a certain tete-a’-tete between Terex given their recent run-in but before anything entertaining can happen Terex makes his exit. This ranks as a huge disappointment since Terex has proven to be such a great character up to this point in the comic. To mute him diminishes the issue, especially when Poe doesn’t have some sticky sort of situation to extricate himself from. And while strides are being made to characterize all of the members of Black Squadron at the beginning of the issue, I would rather things stay focused on Poe instead. After all, the comic is named Poe Dameron and without him becoming something beyond “daring pilot” there just isn’t enough to help these issues take off.
Han Solo 2
Patrick: You ever think about how weird the second act of A New Hope is? Our heroes, already en route to a destiny-fulfilling mission to Alderaan, are waylaid by the Empire for a whole little mini-mission aboard the Death Star. I guess the whole point of the thing is that the Empire is seriously fucking stuff up for Luke and company, but it’s remarkable how damn disruptive they are. Marjorie Liu and Mark Brooks bring that same sense of Imperial disruption to Star Wars Han Solo 2, which has a perfectly good space-ship-race-meets-Hunger-Games story interrupted by the biggest buzz-kills in the galaxy.
There’s so much history and culture surrounding the Dragon Void race that the plot of the issue would be thrilling enough without Han’s little rebel side-quest, and that’s due in no small part to the fact this is an exceptionally dangerous Dragon Void. I know the goal of storytelling is to tell a story worth telling, but Liu has the sensationalism turned up to eleven. Not just the deadliest race in the galaxy, but the most deadly iteration of the most deadly race in the galaxy. And of course, of course, Han Solo is clever enough to be awesome at the Dragon Void. Cutting the engines to coast under the radar of the attack drones is exactly the kind of path-of-least-resistance solution that suits Han best. Brooks even smartly reverses the visual language in that moment, trading the zig-zaggery of Flacon for the smooth path of the drones (and vice versa). It’s almost balletic.
And, hilariously, it’s not even really Han that furthers the rebel part of this little adventure – it’s Chewie. When Storm Troopers do show up, Brooks draws them as enormous on the page, frequently allowing their images to transcend panel dividers, literally imposing an Imperial presence on this story. Hey, man, Han’s not in it for your little rebellion.
The conversation doesn’t stop there, because you certainly read something that we didn’t. What do you wanna talk about from this week?