Marvel’s relaunch of Star Wars comics have all been pretty good, with maybe the exception of that C-3PO book. Having done individual titles for Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Kanan (Rebels cartoon), Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, C-3PO, Obi-Wan and Anakin, and Poe Dameron, Marvel finally published a title about everyone’s favorite scruffy smuggler. No, no, no. Marvel hasn’t released a Malcom Reynolds comic. Besides, he was usually pretty clean shaven. I am of course talking about Han Solo.
Like most of the comics starring characters from the original trilogy, this story is set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back. Han has taken a break from rebelling, and decided to go back to smuggling for a while. Go back to his roots, so to speak. There’s only one problem with this idea. Since he’s been gone, he hasn’t actually taken any smuggling jobs. He’s being cautious, maybe overly so, about the jobs he’ll take, because he knows what the Empire is doing out there.
Before you know it, Han is “captured” by two people that want to use his ship. I use the term “captured” loosely, because they end up being people that Chewie knows, and they’re on a mission from Leia. They want to borrow The Millennium Falcon. Of course, Han doesn’t like this at all, and ends up back at the Rebel base, arguing with Leia.
Here’s where I want to pause for a minute. What was the point of the entire opening scene, if Han was just going to end up right back where he started? Was it to show that Han was becoming less sure of himself? You could have done that later on in the issue when people are questioning his abilities because he’s a smuggler and not a racer. The cynic in me just sees a way to add pages in the story. Yes, they’re nicely scripted pages, but they just don’t seem to really add anything to the overall arc of the issue. Maybe they will play role in later issues.
But anyways, Han doesn’t want to let these other people pilot his ship, so he ends up being the one to pilot it in this prestigious race, The Dragon Void run. The race is a cover to pick up Rebel spies before they are also killed. Leia reminds Han that the race is just a cover. But of course, Han feels like he needs to prove himself, because the professional racers were looking down on him. The race starts, and when they come out of hyperdrive, they find that the other racers are being attacked.
All in all, I do think this was a fine issue. The writing is well done. The art is fine. I just think it’s a missed opportunity. You set up the story saying that this is going to be Han taking a break from the rebellion in order to get back to smuggling. But, he’s not taking a break from the rebellion. He’s right back in the thick of things. I would have liked to have seen this smuggler do some actual smuggling. See him have some actual dealings with the seedy underbelly of the Empire. That’s actually a part of Han Solo we’ve never really gotten a good look at. It’s hinted at that he’s a great smuggler, but we’ve never actually seen any of it. But even with that, I do look forward to issue #2, and see where this story actually goes.