SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Marvel Comics’ Star Wars: Poe Dameron #31 by Charles Soule, Arif Prianto, Joe Caramagna and Angel Unzueta, on sale now.
Marvel’s Poe Dameron has provided Star Wars fans with deep insights into the character that were teased on the big screen but never fully explored. Sure, he has been the series’ new hotshot pilot since The Force Awakens, but these comics shed more light onto how he has grown as a soldier with the Resistance, cutting his teeth with his X-Wing squad, the Black Squadron.
At the end of The Last Jedi, Poe became a full-blown leader, accepting he needed to mature for the sake of the Rebel Alliance following Luke Skywalker’s sacrifice on Crait. In the series’ finale, we finally bear witness to Poe’s first mission after the events of Rian Johnson’s film, and it’s a big one that defines his future in General Leia’s movement, and, more so, his commitment to galactic liberation.
In the last couple of issues, fans learned the fate of the Black Squadron, which wasn’t present for the war in The Last Jedi. It turns out they were sent on another mission by Leia to recruit allies, only to become embroiled in a political war in the Outer Rim. They lost contact with Poe and company, but after The Last Jedi communications managed to come in, alerting Leia’s forces as to what the crew has been up to.
Their latest endeavors found them trying to liberate Grail City on the planet Ikkrukk, now taken over by Imperial supporters. Sadly, with the control room and the city’s shields being run by the First Order, plus the Imperial cruiser known as Fortitude patrolling above, the Black Squadron, both in the air and on the ground, are being overwhelmed.
This finale focuses on Poe telling Leia of their situation, begging her to send reinforcements. However, she admits they knew the risks going in and she can’t afford to send backup, as her army is already depleted. She reluctantly agrees to let Poe go, though, as he makes it clear no one should be left behind. She rewards his persistence by giving him a mysterious new stealth ship — something we hopefully see more of in J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX. Most importantly, she reinstates his rank as Commander. With this boost, a confident Poe then heads to rescue his crew, knowing they have a big part to play in ending Kylo Ren’s rule.
When he gets to Grail City, being one of the galaxy’s best pilots and whatnot, he immediately goes after the Fortitude, which allows his soldiers on the ground — namely Suralinda Javos and Jessika Pava — to take the control room and lower the shields. This allows the heroic troops of Grail City to then help blast the Fortitude out the sky using their ground cannons. When the ship is brought down, the rest of the citizens overthrow the Imperial army at ground zero.
In the aftermath of all this, Poe relays the sad news from The Last Jedi about the massive hit they took on Crait, not to mention the losses of military experts Admiral Holdo and Admiral Ackbar. He admits their fleet has been decimated and Leia’s now trying to conserve resources, but at least Poe can take solace knowing he has his trusted fighters alongside him for the journey again.
This story basically acts as a prelude to Abrams’ upcoming movie, because Poe makes it clear hope isn’t lost. The rebuilding process has begun and now he’s prepared for the responsibility of succeeding Leia someday as the head of the Alliance. After the passing of Carrie Fisher, this finale does seem to set him up for this role as the franchise moves forward with Oscar Isaac leading the rebellion in her absence.
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