by Patrick Ehlers
This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
There’s a letter in the back of the final issue of Star Wars Poe Dameron that questions the disparity between the character we see in the comics and the character we see in Episode VIII. “In The Last Jedi, Poe’s actions show that he is brash and headstrong. During the movie he becomes a great leader.” And that’s true: in deed and in name, he is the Best Pilot in the Galaxy. Writer Charles Soule answers this letter with the following observation: “[Poe] hadn’t really failed to that point.” In The Force Awakens and Star Wars Poe: Dameron, he is still a singular hero. Star Wars: Poe Dameron 31 strips away the narrative myth of the Chosen One, forcing victory by ensemble, by circumstance, and by hope.
This issue begins with Poe encircled in the light of the Falcon’s hyperspace jump. When we start this journey, we’re dangerously close to canonizing Poe. He’s got the plaintive posture of a saint in a stained glass window, and the Falcon forms a halo above his head.
But that’s just where we start. The next two pages Poe shares with Leia as he pleads his case to go out on one more crazy mission. And when I say share, I mean almost 50/50. The first of these two pages put both of them in every panel, except for the last two. This is Poe making the concessions the rebellion needs, and both to General Organa and to the page itself.
And then the craziest shit happens. Soule and artist Angel Unzueta cut away from Poe and Leia to focus on the two stories taking place between the divided Black Squadron. It’s sorta standard Star Wars stuff: one team in the air, fighting spaceships and the other team on the ground, de-activating a shield (or whatever). What’s notable about this is how little of it depends on the actions of Poe Dameron himself. He does arrive on the scene to provide a vital assist, but the plan would have succeeded without him. Effectively, all Poe accomplishes, as a solo actor, is saving one of his friends.
Poe knows that he’s not The Hero of this adventure. He takes the opportunity to call in to First Order Cruiser that he, Snap and Karé are up against. But instead of tormenting Colonel Barrut like he did Admiral Hux at the beginning of The Last Jedi, Poe settles for a simple introduction.
This humility, the act of giving oneself over to truly become a part of something, is reflected in the issue’s ending. Poe stands alone, looking out to the stars, and he is joined, one by one and panel by panel, by his friends – the team that made this victory possible.
It is the team, the cause, that is exalted here. It’s a heroic sacrifice that requires a sacrifice of heroism. It’s proof of a lesson learned.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?