Charles Soule teases Black Squadron's latest adventure!
“I’ve traveled too far, seen too much, to ignore the despair in the galaxy.”
So said Lor San Tekka at the beginning of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” And its that experience, wisdom, and guidance that Black Squadron have been in search of in the events that lead to the film. Out today, writer Charles Soule and artist Angel Unzueta‘s POE DAMERON #23 continues the search for Lor San Tekka, as General Leia Organa sends her most trusted Resistance pilots on a mission that’ll lead to a dangerous attack from an unexpected foe…
Marvel.com spoke with Charles Soule about the issue and this surprising threat.
Marvel.com: Charles, where exactly do we find Poe and the Black Squadron at the start of issue #23?
Charles Soule: In trouble. Of course. From the beginning of the series, the team’s goal has been to track down Lor San Tekka, the fabled explorer and expert in Force-related lore whom they hope can point them to the location of Luke Skywalker. (This series takes place just before “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” so we get to see a lot of how the moments that happen in that film are set up.)
In the issues just before #23, Poe and Black Squadron finally found Lor on a planet called Cato Neimoidia, which we saw way back in the prequels. He was in prison there for trying to steal a Force artifact, and Black Squadron, along with Leia Organa, tried to break him out. That worked…but then things went very wrong. That’s where we pick up in issue #23.
Marvel.com: Any chance you can give us a hint on who the mysterious attacker will be in this issue?
Charles Soule: Well, part of that is tied to the twist ending of issue #22…but let’s just say it’s one of their own.
Marvel.com: How high is the danger factor for Black Squadron in #23?
Charles Soule: Very! Black Squadron is under attack by a huge swarm of kamikaze droid fighters, Lor San Tekka is in dire need of rescue, and old, deadly enemies are raising their heads again for the first time in a while. It’s bad news.
Marvel.com: What’s going through the minds of Poe and the squad? Are they worried about how this mission will end up?
Charles Soule: Not only are they afraid they’ll fail the mission, but also each other, and the entire galaxy. The stakes are very high here—it’s all or nothing.
Marvel.com: We met Lor San Tekka briefly at the beginning of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” What else can you tell us about him and his importance to the Resistance?
Charles Soule: Lor San Tekka knows how to find Luke Skywalker, but he’s also a treasure trove of information about the galaxy as a whole. He knows where new allies might be found, new hidden spots to set up secret bases, and of course, more about the Force than almost anyone alive. If he’s lost…not good.
Join the Resistance in Charles Soule and artist Angel Unzueta’s POE DAMERON #23 today—January 24!
Charles Soule and Phil Noto hand Black Squadron a dangerous mission!
Each week, Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels, and droids.
Prior to the silver screen events of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” General Leia Organa gave the Resistance pilots known as Black Squadron a specific and important mission in the pages of POE DAMERON: find Lor San Tekka. And while readers may know what happens at the end of this specific operation, the journey there has proven to be engrossing.
After a blazing start, the second arc of the series, which ran from issues #4–7, began with a celebration on D’Qar after Poe Dameron and Black Squadron made it back alive from a dangerous raid across the galaxy. The team, however, realized that they had trouble in their ranks, as the enemy seemed to know their destinations almost immediately after their arrival. Nonetheless, following Leia’s orders, they proceeded to Megalox, a prison that housed Grakkus the Hutt—a contact of San Tekka.
Thanks to a prison warden’s flexible ethics, the Resistance group bribed their way into the jail, though upon arriving at the cell, found the First Order’s Agent Terex—Poe Dameron’s nemesis—had arrived before they did. In response to the situation, the wily Hutt told each side that he would provide Lor San Tekka’s location to whomever broke him out of Megalox.
Poe and his crew dispatched their droids to work on the prison controls while Terex began his own scheme to harness the other prisoners’ hatred of the Hutt as a means to start a riot. As the resulting mob began to overtake the prison, BB-8 and a team of astromech droids hacked into the jail’s network before disabling the prison’s Grav-Field Dome. As the Dome shut down, chaos ensued, allowing Black Squadron to abduct Grakkus and leave the planet. Terex, however, managed to summon his own ship and followed.
Furious at his rivals’ success, Terex decided to fly his ship directly through the prison’s control satellite. Instead of leaving the people of the prison to suffer the consequences, Poe led Black Squadron into a counterattack on the evil agent’s ship. Damaged from the ensuing fight, the First Order craft retreated and jumped to lightspeed.
From the Jedi Temple Archives
If Grakkus the Hutt seemed familiar to readers of the current era of Star Wars comics, that’s because he first appeared in the pages of STAR WARS during the “Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon” story. Not long after the Battle of Yavin, Luke Skywalker made his way to Grakkus’ domain and found himself in awe of the Hutt’s collection of Jedi artifacts. Grakkus, however, had something else in his midst: an Imperial spy. That fact led to the Hutt’s imprisonment, where readers would later find him.
Next time, we look back at a story set before the prequel films in STAR WARS: QUI-GON & OBI-WAN – THE AURORIENT EXPRESS.
Charles Soule runs down the talented squad Poe has watching his back.
Resistance pilot Poe Dameron’s embarking on a new mission in STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #21, out November 21, and he’s going to need all the help he can get to score his ultimate target, the mysterious Lor San Tekka.
Good thing Black Squadron’s got his back.
They’ve had their ups and downs over the course of the series, even lost members, but the men, women, and droid of Black Squadron also have someone to back them up, namely writer Charles Soule. He knows the ins and outs of their strengths and weaknesses, and he’s ready to tip his hand to light them up for your illumination and edification.
“Temmin ‘Snap’ Wexley has been fighting evil in the galaxy since he was a little kid, as we saw from Chuck Wendig’s great ‘Aftermath’ trilogy of Star Wars novels, set right after ‘Return of the Jedi,’” says Soule. “He fought the Empire, and knows how important it is to prevent anything like them from rising again. So, he’s got enormous strength and resolve. He can be a little impulsive, though—he’s not always in control of his emotions—and it gets him into trouble.”
“Jessika Pava is fantastic!” raves Soule. “I love writing her. She’s a gearhead, who’s always tinkering with her ship and modifying it to make everything run more powerfully, better, faster. She talks tough and fights tougher. That also lends itself to her main weakness, though, which is that she always needs to feel like she’s in control—that stems from events in her childhood. If she doesn’t, her effectiveness goes way down, to the point where she almost collapses, psychologically.”
“Karé Kun is just one of those hyper-competent badasses you want on your side in a fight” Soule offers. “She’s been flying with Poe since before the Resistance was formed, and knows her job inside and out. However, sometimes she gets too job-focused, and forgets she isn’t just part of a machine. Black Squadron is a fighting force, but it’s also sort of a family, and she’s not always sensitive to that.”
“BB-8 has no flaws!” insists Soule. “He is all strength, and I will hear nothing different!”
“Suralinda Javos is extremely smart, she can handle herself in a fight and, oh yeah, she can spit venom—literally,” Soule says. “Sura was a journalist in the New Republic, and an old friend of Poe’s who has been swayed to the cause of the Resistance by the evil she’s seen committed by the First Order. She’s got a lot of strengths, but she’s also the kind of person who will move into grey areas all the time if it thinks it will help her accomplish her goal. She’s definitely an ‘end justifies the means’ gal. That’s a slippery slope—but I love her anyway.”