Comics to Feed Your Poe Dameron Needs Until December 15th
I am one hundred percent aware trailers are edited to grab viewer attention and that very little of the flow we see in those two minutes will manifest in the film for which the trailer is creating hype.
Which doesn’t mean the new The Last Jedi Trailer was any less intense or awesome or feel-kicking. It simply means I get to be excited and surprised. Huzzah!
While I agree there wasn’t nearly enough Finn or Rose in the most recent footage, there is another character who was conspicuously absent but for one glorious, inspirational, moment: your space boyfriend, and mine, Poe Dameron.
We know he’s important to the Resistance. General Organa, after all, saw fit to send him on the vital mission that kicked off the events of The Force Awakens. We know Lor San Tekka trusted him with Luke Skywalker’s whereabouts (I saw a fan theory suggesting San Tekka was an elderly Kanan Jarrus and while I have nothing to support it, I sort of love it). Poe is well trained enough to be cool under pressure. He’s important enough, and highly placed enough, in the Resistance that Kylo Ren went through the hassle of capturing him alive and interrogating him on multiple occasions rather than just taking Poe’s head. We know Black Squadron will follow where he leads, no matter the danger, he can fly anything, and he can walk away from a crash no one should survive.
We know Poe is integral to the Resistance victory in The Force Awakens, no matter how temporary that victory may be.
What do we know about Poe Dameron as an individual, though? As a potential person?
From the movies, not much. He, in point of fact, disappears for the entire second act of The Force Awakens. We presume he was doing Resistance Business, but we don’t know what it was or with whom he was doing it or even how he got off Jakku. That second act is where we get the majority of character development on the rest of the characters, both new (Rey, Finn, BB-8) and old (Han, Leia, R-2) which indicates to me that we’re not supposed to know all that much about Poe’s part in the major storyline yet, for one reason or another.
If you do want to delve a little more deeply into backstory of the enigma who is Poe Dameron, however, I have good news: there are comics for that.
While Poe himself doesn’t make a physical appearance in the four issue Star Wars: Shattered Empire (2015) mini-series by Greg Rucka, Phil Noto, and Marco Checchetto, we get to know a lady who is, quite possibly, the most important woman in his life (even more so than General Organa): his mother, Shara Bey. An ace Rebel pilot who was integral to the destruction of the second Death Star, Shara can fly anything (now we know where Poe gets it). Her husband, Kes Dameron, is a member of the ground forces who took the Moon of Endor but, after their brief reunion post big boom, Shara is recruited by first Leia, and then Luke, for ongoing, Very Important, tasks. They both trust her absolutely, which says a lot for her character, her connections to the Rebellion and its leaders, and Shara’s convictions that what they are doing is right. Convictions (and possibly connections?) she obviously passed on to her son, Poe, who lived with his grandfather while his parents fought. Though Poe seems to bear the Rebellion/Resistance no ill will for his parents’ absences (unlike Snap Wexley, who we meet as a surly teenager in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy) he does grow up in the shadows of their participation, both figuratively and literally (no, I’m not telling you what that means, go read), which certainly has, and will do doubt continue to, affect the larger story.
Charles Soule, Phil Noto, and Angel Unzueta’s ongoing Star Wars: Poe Dameron (2015 to present) is all about the man himself, following him on his adventures pre-The Force Awakens. While still sketchy on the details of how Poe became a trusted member of Leia’s inner circle, he has most definitely done so and, as a pilot, he is at least his mother’s equal. We get to know the other members of Black Squadron a bit better and become acquainted with their devotion to, and trust in, Poe—though, as with his entreé to the Resistance, we’re not given the details on how he earned either of those. I’m hoping that as the larger story unfolds, we’ll learn more. What we do see is that dangerous missions aren’t new to Poe and that he has very powerful enemies a bit closer to home than Starkiller Base. The first arc of the book is a bit slow; it takes a while to build and, if I’m being honest, which I generally try to do, felt like more of a vehicle to introduce Poe’s pre-Ren nemesis than a tightly plotted story; but said nemesis is a good one and the tale definitely picks up pace and plot in the two successive arcs. Also, the art is super pretty.
There are still sixty-five days before you can feast your eyeballs on Rian Johnson’s Episode VII. May as well spend some of them getting to know Poe Dameron.