Star Wars Poe Dameron #1 Review: Black Squadron Part 1


Poe Dameron, hero of The Force Awakens stars in his own ongoing series and for the most part the first issue hits the target.

Star Wars Poe Dameron #1
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Phil Noto
Colors by Phil Noto
Published by Marvel Comics

One of the breakout characters of The Force Awakens, Poe Dameron was a name already familiar to readers of Marvel’s various Star Wars titles, specifically Shattered Empire, which told the tale of Poe’s parents in the days immediately after the fall of the Empire.

Now Poe is the first new character from The Force Awakens to make the move to the comic book page as he stars in his own ongoing series. And while the transition isn’t perfect, there is still an awful lot to enjoy about seeing the best pilot in the Resistance in action.

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Poe Dameron #1 acts as a sort of prequel to The Force Awakens as Poe is tasked by General Leia with finding Lor San Tekka, the character Poe is with in the opening moments of the movie. To accomplish this, Poe assembles Black Squadron, a team of the most capable pilots in the Resistance. But make no mistake, this book is all about Poe Dameron and his trusty droid BB-8.

In fact, one of the best parts of the book is Poe and BB-8 interacting and working as a team. One thing I have never enjoyed about Star Wars comics over the years is that nine times out of 10, the droids are there just to be there and don’t play a key part in the story. That looks to be different here as Charles Soule seems intent on making BB-8 almost a co-star in the series.

Unfortunately, that relationship is the highlight of Poe Dameron #1, as the rest of the plot is a fairly straightforward action comic. I was hoping that since we are dealing with the first Force Awakens-inspired book that we would see more in terms of what the Star Wars universe is like at this time and maybe some hints about the origins of the First Order. Instead we get right to the action in standard, run of the mill first issue fashion.

But if you have to have typical by the numbers first issue, at least you get the art of Phil Noto to make it palpable. The art is the best part of Poe Dameron #1 as Noto takes a fairly humdrum script and breathes some real life into it. Poe looks like Oscar Issac but not so much that it seems distracting due to an over-reliance on photo-referencing.

Both Star Wars and Darth Vader took similar routes with their first story arcs, where they basically tried to mimic the feel of the movies and didn’t really develop their casts until the second arc. I’m anticipating the same thing from Poe Dameron seeing as the first issue feels a great deal like The Force Awakens while not doing much to enrich Poe’s personality beyond what we know.

In addition, hopefully future storylines will take the time to expand on the 30 year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. That is one of the key draws for a book like Poe Dameron and if Soule doesn’t capitalize on that, I’m not sure how many people will stick around for the long haul.

Poe Dameron #1 also includes a ridiculously cute BB-8 back-up story by the immensely talented Chris Eliopoulos. It’s a sweet, charming story and hopefully not the last time we’ll get a tale featuring everyone’s favorite droid.

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The Bottom Line: Poe Dameron #1 is a solid, if not exactly daring first issue for the latest series in the Star Wars family of books. If this was a miniseries I may be more worried, but knowing this is an ongoing gives Poe Dameron more than enough time to find its voice and become a worthy successor to The Force Awakens and the greater Star Wars Saga.