Black Squadron Saves Leia‘s Legacy in Star Wars: Poe Dameron Annual #2
CAN POE DAMERON OUTMANEUVER ONE OF THE GALAXY’S GREATEST PILOTS? Rebellions may be built on built on hope, but they need more than that to survive. LEIA sends BLACK SQUADRON on a new mission, one that will raise important funds for THE RESISTANCE. Can a group of pilots really do the work of smugglers and scoundrels?
Written by Jody Houser
Art by Andrea Broccardo
Cover by Rod Reis
Before the regular Poe Dameron comic finishes its run next month, Jody Houser brings us another adventure of Poe Dameron and his Black Squadron.
The realities of waging a secret war are bleak for the Resistance and the organization needs money. Poe offers the help of the Black Squadron, but this is not a normal supply run. Thanks to C-3PO’s spy network, the Resistance has information about the black market trade that is about to take place.
Not only is the item in question financially valuable, it might contain the blueprints for a super weapon which the Resistance can’t allow to fall into the hands of the First Order. But, as we learn, they are not the only ones interested in it as we see Han Solo and Chewbacca stealing the First Order shuttle so they can pose as First Order and steal the item for themselves. That way they could repay at least some of their debts.
To hide the Resistance involvement in the planned heist, the Black Squadron is forced to use the obsolete ships. This panel looks like a short history of Republic and Jedi starships. It was good to see them in action once again.
Because Han Solo is who he is, naturally, his plan doesn’t go well and Mek Nu’tiv sees through his ruse. Before he and Chewie lose their heads, the Black Squadron arrives and their attack creates additional panic. In the confusion, Han and Chewie are able to go after their prize. But, their shenanigans cause trouble for Poe once he boards Mek Nu’tiv’s ship. Luckily, BB-8 is his wingman and saves him as our precious droids are bound to do.
Never say that Han Solo doesn’t have a heart of gold. Although, he and Chewie are first to arrive to the prize, once he looks inside, he knows what it is and who his competitors are. In a series of touching panels, we see Han’s life with Leia including the birth of his son Ben. He decides on the spot that the mysterious item should be in the hands of the Resistance. It was really funny to see Han and Chewie clearing the path for Poe Dameron Batman style, while never actually meeting him face to face. Poe collects the prize, while the Black Squadron has an easy time clearing Mek Nu’tiv’s fighters.
The mysterious archive is brought back to Leia and we discover that the archive contains what was left of the Great Library of Alderaan, smuggled off world by its librarians. Leia can copy the wast knowledge it contains and sell it to the collectors for the high price. That is her way of honoring her world which was destroyed by the same kind of evil the Resistance is fighting now.
Before diving into the issue, let me start with this: The first couple of pages of this issue represented a real challenge for me. I am not one of those people who need their characters to look like the actors who played them nor do I need the art style to be ‘beautiful’, but Broccardo’s portrayal of Leia completely threw me off. She look like borderline caricature and it bothered me a lot. Whether the art got better (the space fights and action looked really good) or I just got used to it, I was eventually able to get into the issue. This might be an issue for other readers as well, so try to stick with it.
And the story, while not significant in the bigger scheme of things, is a personal one and it is very good. I really enjoy Houser’s writing. The issue demonstrates not just the weight of the galactic history, but through Han and Leia, weight of the personal history. We have to remember that this is taking place after Ben took his dark turn. The two are estranged at this point of time, but it takes Han just one look at the archive to recognize it’s significance for Leia personally and to drop all his plans. Chewbacca, naturally, goes with it because, as Han says it: “It’s the right play.”
If I am completely honest, in addition to “Team Smuggler” action scenes and cool ship designs (Mek Nu’tiv’s neon fighters were great, though the pilots were zeroes), the callbacks and flashbacks were the best part of the issue. Han’s memories of his history with Leia and Leia’s memories of her father warmed my heart. And I would lie if I said that I didn’t geek out after seeing Jedi Starfighter once again in action.
The issue was a definition of one-shot and you can take it or leave it, but the story was very enjoyable. It was fun seeing Poe for once not being on the top of the things and getting the unseen help from Han and Chewie. I like Black Squadron banter, but they were mainly background characters here. If you are not bothered by the artwork (like I initially was), this is an enjoyable read. It’s character based and it shouldn’t take much of your time.
All right, maybe I am not completely over Leia’s portrayal. As this is partly visual medium,
THIS ISSUE GETS 6/10 STARS
(story is, personally for me, higher).