Action is Let Down by Low Stakes in Star Wars: Poe Dameron 16

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The Phantom Menace probably had more lightsaber action than any of the original Star Wars entries, but it was all predicated on the titillating minutia of trade disputes. Unfortunately,Star Wars: Poe Dameron 16 has more in common with The Phantom Menace than it does with other successful Charles Soule Star Wars outings. Instead of trade disputes, the impetus behind the latest arc of Poe Dameron is…a fuel shipment.

Poe and the Black Squadron are determined to track down the First Order ships that stole their fuel shipment and booby-trapped their ship. Poe takes Keanu Reeves’ role from Speed as he pilots a freighter rigged to explode if it slows down. However, the Speed plot is only important until it’s not. Black Squadron X-Wings dock in the freighter’s hanger and later Poe exits with relative ease. Maybe I was misinterpreting the stakes, but it feels somewhat hollow if your protagonists can just step outside of what was posed as a big obstacle.

It’s clear that Soule takes the material very seriously. He has characters explain the Star Wars logistics of a situation without going overboard and he embraces certain elements introduced in the prequels. For example, I always liked the idea of a “hyperspace ring” for ships that weren’t capable of lightspeed travel on their own. That being said, I just don’t find myself all that invested in the particulars of Resistance fuel trade. I get that Poe is using the mission as a metaphor for honoring their fallen comrade Lu’lo, but that’s kind of a stretch. Another thing that seemed out of place was Snap Wexley’s quip about Poe going “space crazy.”

It’s the kind of sci-fi meta joke that you’d see on Rick and Morty, but in a Star Wars tale, it’s as welcome as a fart joke.

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