In Review: Star Wars: Age of Resistance–Poe Dameron #1

This is a chase in space that doesn't go far.

The covers: Four covers to pick up for the most famous flyer in the Resistance. The Regular cover by Phil Noto has the title character’s body facing the right, but Poe’s twisted to face the reader. He’s got his helmet held under his left arm, while his right has drawn his pistol. Things are about to go down. The background is a solid black, save the blue design behind his upper body that contains his X-wing in space. This is outstanding. I really love Noto’s Star Wars work. The Concept Design Variant by Glyn Dillon is an excellent illustration of Poe in his tan jacket, pre-Finn, facing forward, holding a massive blaster down in his left hand. This image of Poe resembles the actor and I like that it’s on the white background with the blue grid. Very cool. Using a photo taken on the set of The Force Awakens, the Movie Photo Variant cover features Oscar Isaac as Poe facing the reader as he stands before his X-wing. I’ve always thought Poe to be a very casual, informal character and this stance has his looking extremely formal. I like it, but it looks forced for him. The Puzzle Piece Variant by Mike McKone and Guru-eFX is another winner. Poe was walking to the right, but has twisted to the face the reader, more so than on the Regular cover. He’s got his pistol held up in his left hand. Now that I think about it, his pose is very Speed Racer from the opening credits of that character’s show. Behind the pilot are twelve X-wings flying from the upper left to the lower right. They are on a cool blue star field with pieces of solid red intruding into their background. Marvel has got to combine all of these covers into a poster. Overall grades: Regular A+, Concept Design Variant A, Movie Photo Variant A, and Puzzle Piece Variant A+

The story: Aboard the Brooksdion New Republic Space Station, Poe stares out a window and proclaims to his friends, “I belong to the stars.” His friends, and squad members, chide him for his romanticism, but this mirth stops once red lights and a claxon comes on. “Rapier Squadron. Report to Hanger Bay Nine immediately.” Tom Taylor has the squad zip into space after a thief that’s stolen the head of Admiral Mathieson’s protocol droid. “That protocol droid has recorded every conversation the admiral had for the last five years. Moments later, a small passenger ship left this hanger. And it disappeared.” That’s enough to get Poe with Beebee-Ate in tow, to go after this ship. The remainder of the issue is the pursuit of this vessel. No one wants to destroy the thief and his ship and, surprisingly, neither does the thief to his pursuers. The action is fine and the dialogue between the vessels is good. There’s a solid surprise on Page 12, but the rest of the issue is just one long chase. The fighter squadron moments are my least favorite scenes in the Star Wars films, so this wasn’t thrilling for me. The final page reveals who the thief is and it disappointed me. I couldn’t believe that this individual would steal from the New Republic, so it felt really forced for me. Sadly, this was the weakest issue of this series for me. Overall grade: C-

The art: The visuals by Ramon Rosanas are good, but illustrating a space chase that’s primarily in empty space is not an easy task to make visually exciting. The characters look good and the ships fine, but, again, I’m not a fan of the ship combat in the films. This was not thrilling to look at, even when blaster fire is exchanged. I was surprised by the full-paged splash on 12, but after this I was just not excited by anything. I don’t fault Rosanas, but because of the setting of the story there’s not much to do. It’s literally cockpit panel, ship in space panel, repeat and repeat and repeat. The final page reveals the thief and this character does resemble the individual from the film, but since that character didn’t do anything for me in the film, I’m left shrugging an “okay” at the end of this. Overall grade: C-

The colors: The limited settings don’t allow much variety for Guru-eFX either. The first page does have the reader focus on the title character because everything else on the page is blue. A greater variety of colors occur on the second page when the artwork pulls back from Poe. I do like how everything goes red when the squad is summoned, though it does remind of when this occurs on Federation starships. The blues on the characters’ ships are vivid, as are their flight suits. The blaster fire really stands out in space, as does the surprise on 12. The shift to oranges makes the blues on the ships pop. Overall grade: B

The letters: VC’s Travis Lanham is the man behind the dialogue and transmissions (the same font), scene settings, and sounds. The dialogue is not the thin font of the flagship title, and I’m happy to see that. The scene settings on this book are excellent and should be employed in the flagship title. The sounds are terrific, looking how one would expect them to sound. The transmissions are interesting. When the squad is summoned the font is the same as dialogue. This doesn’t make sense as they  are being issued from a mechanical device. When the squad is in flight this continues. The dialogue balloons are in a different shape than dialogue, but there are confusing to look at. Overall grade: B+

The final line: This is a chase in space that doesn’t go far. It’s competently written, illustrated, colored, and lettered, but I was just left “meh” by the entire affair. Too much visual repetition, due to a limited story, and a conclusion that features a controversial character from one of the films, makes this the weakest of the Age of Resistance outings. Just okay. Overall grade: C

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Star-Wars-Age-Of-Resistance-Poe-Dameron-2019-1/digital-comic/52356?r=1

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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