After an incredibly fun ride through the panels of a great comic series from writer Charles Soule, the journey across the stars with Poe Dameron and his Black Squadron has finally come to an end. It has been a joy to read this series from day one, and I’m honestly a little sad to see it go. That being said, the story has indeed run its natural course, and the time for closure is at hand. In issue #31, Soule and his partner in crime, artist Angel Unzueta, put a nice little bow on one of the most consistently well-crafted Star Wars series to date, neatly tying up all the dangling plot threads along the way. Spoilers ahead…
I was equal parts surprised and delighted with how Soule ended up steering the characters through the finale of this story. I have long speculated about the impending doom coming to a couple of the comic’s regular characters, but Soule, it seems, has other plans instead.
The issue picks up right where we left off, with Poe and the remnants of the Resistance on board the Falcon and Black Squadron struggling to survive as they attempt to liberate the planet Ikkrukk from the First Order and a group of local sympathizers. The last issue left Jessika Pava badly bruised and Suralinda with a gaping hole in her chest on the surface of the planet. In the sky above, Snap and Karé are pulling every trick they know to give their friends below time to get the planet’s defenses back online.
I had wrongly assumed that Sura was dead after the last issue, but apparently Squamatan physiology is a little more adept at taking blaster fire than that of a human, and in the end, she lives to fight another day. I had also assumed that this issue would be the end of Snap’s wife Karé, but after a brief brush with death, the pilot managed to come out of the fight unscathed in the end.
Aboard the Falcon following the battle of Crait, Poe has discovered the location of his squadron thanks to a message from Jess. He attempts to convince General Organa to let him go to their aid, but the general is hesitant to risk what’s left of the Resistance for the lives of four pilots. It’s interesting to see how years of rebellion and war have changed Leia’s perspective on things. Three decades ago, she would have gone to her friends’ rescue without question, but now, there is simply too much at stake for such rash decisions.
However, when Poe persuades her that such action would draw others to their cause as it would set them apart from the First Order (who couldn’t care less for the lives of a few pilots), she relents and allows him to go. Before leaving however, the general gives Poe back his old rank of Commander. Obviously, with so few of them left, trivial matters such as rank are insignificant at this point. But the sentiment doesn’t go unappreciated by Poe, as he understands exactly what Leia is trying to convey. She trusts him to do the right thing, and he has finally earned her approval once again.
After borrowing a ship from Grakkus the Hutt (a former adversary in the series), Poe heads to Ikkrukk to help his friends. Still outmatched beyond belief, Poe comes up with an idea to drastically improve their odds while taking a shot at the nearby imperial cruiser as well. What follows is quite the maneuver, and if there was any doubt that Poe Dameron is the best pilot in the galaxy, this little stunt goes a long way to prove it. As a dozen or more TIEs fall in line to pursue Snap and Karé, Poe lines up for the shot, and the madness that ensues can only be described as a more realistic interpretation of a bonus round in Galaga.
When Poe picks the TIEs off one by one in rapid succession, the fighters come crashing down to the cruiser’s hull, causing quite a bit of damage. And just as the capital ship prepares its rebuttal, Jess and Sura pull through and blast it out of the sky with Ikkrukk’s defense cannons.
After such a long list of defeats in The Last Jedi, it’s definitely nice to see the good guys get a solid win. Ikkrukk is liberated, and the Resistance has earned some newfound support that will be friendly to their cause, which is certainly a step in the right direction, even if it is just a baby step in light of recent events. And yes, I can’t believe it, but everyone survived. I have to wonder if Suralinda and Karé will finally make an appearance on screen in Episode IX, but who knows what kind of tragedy may still transpire among the ranks of the Resistance from now until then.
For now, I’m satisfied with this story’s happy ending, and I look forward to seeing how Poe, Rey, and the rest of the Resistance will pick themselves up by the bootstraps and rejoin the fight. I’m happy to say that we’ll get a much different Poe Dameron in Episode IX, one who’s learned that it’s not about being a hero. It’s not even about saving the galaxy. It’s about choosing right over wrong, by shining just a little light when things get dark.
Poe has transformed over the course of this series from a foolhardy flyboy to a capable leader, and although that transformation will most likely still be conveyed on film, it was great to see it fleshed out on the pages of this spectacularly solid comic series. Do yourself a favor and check out the collected trade paperbacks of this series if you haven’t checked it out yet. The entire series will be collected across five volumes with the final volume being released this December.
Poe Dameron #31 is available now in a comic shop near you or online at Comixology. Happy reading comic fans!