The Black Squadron Strikes Back In Marvel’s Poe Dameron #19
The Black Squadron have been having a heck of a time dealing with the First Order in the last few issues. We continue to learn the First Order is a force to reckon with in this era, but as luck would have it, the fortunes are finally starting to turn in favor of Black Squadron and the Resistance. The fight continues and there are SPOILERS AHEAD…
Things are not looking so good for Poe and Snap. As they searched for the rest of Black Squadron they wound up in the company of Malarus herself. Of course, neither of the Resistance pilots are intimidated by Malarus, but their sense of courage only amuses her. She’s ready to get out the torture droid and start going to work on these two. Malarus sees this as a career boon, since both these pilots are deeply embedded in the Resistance.
Jess and Kare’ are more than a little pissed at journalist Suralinda Javos. In the last issue, it very much appeared Suralinda sold them out. Well, that wasn’t the case. Since the First Order commander knows Malarus is on the hunt for Black Squadron he is keeping them alive instead of executing them on the spot (as we know the First Order is wont to do). Suralinda lets them know not only did she buy them more time, the drones she was using to record the massacre are still airborne and recording everything. As we continue to learn about the First Order in these comics and novels, the last thing they want is the galaxy to know what they are really up to. Sweeping civilian massacres under the rug is a huge priority for the First Order.
Terex is still interrogating Oddy, who has held out strong, and now tells Terex he’s reached a dead end. Oddy challenges Terex to kill him and then all hell breaks loose. Terex takes aim, but just as he appears to be on the edge of pulling the trigger, his cybernetic controller freaks out on him. Terex struggles to get to this control panel, but before he collapses he releases Oddy’s restraints and brings up a visual of Poe and Snap. Now Oddy knows Poe and Snap are aboard and he decides to go help his friends. Oddy has been branded a traitor, but we’ve learned over the past few issues his wife’s life was on the line, and Poe and Snap are coming to rescue him for the First Order. They are interested in seeing justice brought to Oddy, not condemning him to torture and execution under the First Order’s thumb.
Suralinda managed to get the cuffs off Jess and Kare’. At this point, they know the Resistance commander only wants to hand them over to a bigger fish so he can get praise or promotion. The two pilots act as a diversion, and as they run away, Suralinda re-tasks the many drones she has in the sky to act as missiles. The drones dive bomb First Order troopers, taking them all out. Jess and Kare’ are pretty shocked, but just as they thought they were about to escape…
The Enshado, carrying everyone else, arrives to put an end to their escape plans.
As Poe and Snap pondered their fate, the door to their cell mysteriously opens. Of course, we know it’s Oddy who opened it, but it’s understandable he would not want to reveal himself. In his mind, Poe and Snap have no reason to trust him, and he doesn’t know they are aboard the Enshado to rescue him. Realizing they have an opportunity, Poe and Snap don’t waste their time making their next move.
That’s right! Poe and Snap get back in their X-Wings and do what they do best. Jess and Kare’ saw their X-Wings destroyed by Malarus’ gunship, so it’s up to Poe and Snap. I was really happy to see some good, old-fashioned dogfighting in this issue. Poe and Snap are great pilots, but they soon learn that the Enshado hosted a swarm of TIE Fighters, and the fight starts to turn against them. Just as it gets desperate, another TIE Fighter starts firing on the pursuing TIE Fighters.
Oddy! Oddy has come to the rescue. Poe can’t believe it. He and Oddy quickly come to an understanding and Oddy is relieved that Poe was able to learn the truth from his wife. Oddy’s guilt weighs heavy on him and he must feel a great need to redeem himself to the Resistance. The hijacking of a TIE Fighter and helping the Black Squadron escape would probably be enough for most, but Oddy doesn’t want to leave any chance that the First Order could recapture them. Unfortunately, Oddy only sees one way to redeem himself, as well help his friends.
Oddy flies guns blazing into the Enshado and takes out the First Order’s light cruiser. As he flies straight for the hangar, Poe pleads for him not to do it. I know I’ve complained about Oddy in the past. It always bothered me that it seemed to go away and then randomly pop back into the comics without any resolution. Well, I guess I got what I wished for. I assumed there would be something of a tragic end for the disgraced pilot and feel bad for my ill-will towards the character. Hats off to Oddy, everyone.
As you can probably guess, the uneven tempered Malarus is less than thrilled the Enshado has been destroyed. She got lucky, as she and Terex were piloting a gunship, taking out Jess and Kare’s X-Wings. Terex…well, I’m really intrigued by what’s going on with this fella. They’ve hinted in the last few issues that he is waging a war in his mind against the cybernetic components controlling him and we can see he’s quite pleased by Malarus’ anger. It seems like Terex is starting to win. I wonder if he’s sided with the Black Squadron because “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, or if he’s truly turning against the immorality of the Resistance. We shall see…
In the end, Suralinda sums up Oddy’s courageous act best. The drones Suralinda used to take out the troopers lost all footage of the First Order civilian massacre, so the galaxy will not be able to see what happened. Instead, Suralinda used her remaining drone to record Oddy’s last flight and she wants to honor his memory, even if her story is slightly untrue. Call it propaganda, because Suralinda is fully onboard with the cause of stopping the First Order, and is ready to go to war.
I had a lot of fun reading this issue. Poe Dameron continues to be a comic I always look forward to. Charles Soule’s writing is great. As over-the-top as Malarus is, I love that she’s a mean, sadistic villain. Suralinda is also someone I’m hoping we get a lot more of in the future. This is a solid issue and it concludes an even more solid arc, War Stories.
7 out of 10 Stars
From the looks of the next issue, I think we are getting very close to The Force Awakens.