STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #20 By Charles Soule, Angel Unzueta, and Arif Prianto
Art
Plot
Characterization
Summary
STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #20 is a powerful comic by Charles Soule, Angel Unzeuta, and Arif Priento. This galactic epic is defined by phenomenal characters and exquisite-looking art.
96 %
Burn the First Order
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STAR WARS: POE DAMERON is the one comic we have that directly connects into THE FORCE AWAKENS. For this reason, it is an important series for fans who want to understand more about these new films. POE DAMERON #20 delivers in every way it sets out to do, beginning an exciting new arc for our heroes in The Resistance. Charles Soule writes his characters spectacularly, not just Poe Dameron, but the entire Black Squadron. Furthermore, the art by Angel Unzueta and Arif Prianto is exquisite and uniquely fitting for STAR WARS. In the months leading up to THE LAST JEDI, this comic can rekindle the fires of anticipation for all readers.

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The Trials of Black Squadron

POE DAMERON #20, more than any issue before it, tells the story of The Resistance on the eve of THE FORCE AWAKENS. The characters in this comic make it very clear: The Resistance is not its predecessor, the Rebel Alliance. The Resistance has about a hundred people in its ranks altogether whereas the Rebellion had thousands. The problem is that most people living in the comfort of the New Republic aren’t willing to believe the threat of the First Order.

POE DAMERON #20
STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #20 pg. 20. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The premier group leading the charge against the First Order is The Black Squadron. The Black Squadron is a team of elite pilots for The Resistance tasked with undertaking covert operations against the First Order. They technically aren’t allowed to directly engage the First Order unless fired upon due to a declaration of war never being signed. Yet, this group, led by none other than Poe Dameron, are made up of the most steadfast fighters in the Galaxy. Throughout this run, they have already escaped plenty a skirmish with the First Order.

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However, in POE DAMERON #20, our Black Squadron is at a crossroads. Many of them have lost their lives to the First Order already.  Now only the pilots (Jess Pava, Kare Kun, and Temmin “Snap” Wexley) serve under Poe’s command in the Squadron. However, each of them is dealing with their own issues. Kare has told Snap that while she has feelings towards him, she wants to put off any attachment while the war rages on. This causes much chagrin to Snap. Then there’s Jess, who has learned of a general astromech droid conspiracy against her. The astromechs have learned that Jess has lost several droids on her missions and because of this, they are quite afraid of her. They even call her the “great destroyer.” This Jess subplot provides most of the comedy in this issue with BB-8 and the other droids.

It is now up to Poe to remind his compatriots why they fight. We are getting dangerously close to the time period of THE FORCE AWAKENS. This means The Resistance is going to need a united front if they want to stop the First Order.

Secrets of The Force

POE DAMERON #20
STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #20 pg.10. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The First Order has kept the Black Squadron very busy. Because of this, many of the Black Squadron fighters have lost track of their mission. Poe reminds them (as well as the readers) that their main mission is to find Lor San Tekka who can lead them to Luke. The most exciting moment of this issue is that we finally got our first glimpse of Lor San Tekka.

For those who think I’m speaking gibberish, I’ll take a bit of time to explain Tekka’s relevance to the STAR WARS franchise. Lor San Tekka is a follower of the Church of The Force despite being not force-sensitive. He was a renowned explorer who uncovered ancient objects important to the Force. In the years after the Empire, he became incredibly close to Luke. Together, they discovered the first Jedi Temple and founded a New Jedi Order. Now, Tekka is the only man who knows where Luke is hiding in the galaxy. Moreover, he is the only one who holds the secrets to what Luke did in the years between RETURN OF THE JEDI and THE FORCE AWAKENS. Despite being a minor character, Tekka’s influence is incredibly important as the information he provides Poe sets the new trilogy into motion.

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I truly hope that Charles Soule builds upon the legend of Lor San Tekka. As a writer, he has done such a fantastic job building on characters that have mere cameos in THE FORCE AWAKENS, like Jess Pava and Snap Wexley. As we head into THE LAST JEDI and learn more about Luke’s journey, I think it is important to explore Tekka’s character and the secrets he may hold.

Art in POE DAMERON #20

POE DAMERON #20
STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #20 pg.6. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The opening pages of this comic depict the grandiose and sprawling complexes of Cato Nemoidia. An incredibly rich world, this location is filled with gorgeous architecture rarely seen in the STAR WARS franchise. We’re used to uninhabited worlds like Hoth or wildernesses like Endor. However, this part of the comic shows a completely different side of the STAR WARS galaxy. I love how Angel Unzueta and Arif Prianto portray the palace (pictured above) on the planet. A beam of light drops from the ceiling into this rotunda. Two golden columns rise from either side of the room. It also has rising panels on the walls that are quite evocative of the Pantheon’s coffers. I think it is clever when STAR WARS takes inspiration from real-world locations. It creates a feeling of history and style in this broad universe.

Then there are the characters that Unzueta absolutely nails the subtleties of. I honestly don’t know how long he spent studying the facial structure of Oscar Isaac but it clearly pays off. Unlike characters like Captain America, who was created long before Chris Evans portrayed him, Poe Dameron will always be linked to Oscar Isaac’s performance. Since Poe Dameron in this issue looks exactly like Isaac, one seamlessly connect the Poe from THE FORCE AWAKENS to this comic.

Final Thoughts

POE DAMERON #20 is a terrific comic that analyzes the “why we fight” question for The Resistance. It takes its time to sit back and analyze its characters. Character development is necessary, especially in sprawling epics like STAR WARS. It reminds us why we should care about our heroes.

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I believe this issue establishes the perfect tone for the next few comics as we learn more about the events before THE FORCE AWAKENS. My guess is that this series will not continue for much longer given the time period. If this is the case, I am positive that Charles Soule, Angel Unzueta, and Arif Prianto will create an awesome finale for this series. Until then, pick up STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #20 at your local comic book store now!

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