Nobody really expected Han to use the biggest race in the galaxy as just a cover did they? It’s Han Solo #1
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Han Solo #1.
Han Solo #1
Writer: Marjorie Liu | Artist: Mark Brooks | Colors: Sonia Oback | Cover Artist: Lee Bermejo | Letterer” VC’s Joe Caramagna
One of the biggest issues facing so many of Marvel’s Star Wars comics is that there hasn’t been a lot of potential for character growth and galaxy altering revelations in these stories. One reason for this is that many of the comics, including the core series Star Wars and Darth Vader, have been set between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. There is a limited amount of time between those two movies, and since the reader is likely to have seen both films, the final outcome of any story arc is unlikely to be surprising. Therefore, a good Star Wars comic must promise to tell a good story in order be intriguing. Han Solo #1 makes that promise.
After the Battle of Yavin, Han finds himself attempting to get back into the smuggler trade. However, something is off. He refuses to accept jobs he previously would have taken in a heartbeat. He isn’t entirely sure what the problem is. Or is he? After being cornered by a pair of Rebel operatives, Han rendezvouses with the Rebel Fleet and “Her Royal Highness” herself, Princess Leia. The Rebel operatives wanted to use Han’s ship for an unknown mission. Han refused to have anything to do with it until he saw a hologram of Princess Leia Organa asking for his help. As an aside, it was a nice nod to A New Hope that Leia would send a courier with a message via hologram looking for aid.
Specifically, the Rebellion wants to use the Millennium Falcon for a mission. Han refuses Adame and Salentia, but on his way to the Rebel Fleet, he makes something of an admission. He had only intended to help the Rebellion in order to make some money. One of the next panels shows Leia approaching Han and Han’s thought box appears above her head, and he states “But I didn’t.”
Han’s admission can be read two ways. First, he joined the Rebellion intending to make money, but he didn’t make any. Second, he tells himself that he only intended to join the Rebellion to make money, but that wasn’t his only intention. A certain princess, and his feelings for her, had something to do with it. Events in this issue suggest that the later notion might ring true. In addition, Han’s identification and membership with the Rebellion has been a theme of many Star Wars comics over the past eighteen months. That theme seems to be at issue here.
Is Han having a hard time accepting smuggling work because it no longer feels worthy to him? He admits that many of the jobs he has turned down would have been quick and easy profits. He is on the lookout for additional danger. Prior to the Battle of the Yavin, Han famously quipped to Princess Leia that he wasn’t in it for her or the Rebellion. He was only in it for the money. Now, plenty of opportunities to make money are thrown at him and he turns those jobs down. Need further proof that his priorities and outlook have changed? Read on.
Han begins bickering with Leia from almost the moment the Falcon touches down with the Fleet. Marjorie Liu has an excellent pen for dialogue. She captures the spirit of Han and Leia’s relationship from the first panel featuring the two. Leia leads Han to General Cracken, whom Leia is also having an argument with. Eventually, Leia and Cracken fill Han in on what is going on. A Rebel operation on multiple Imperial worlds has been successful. Now, many of those operatives have been murdered.
The larger issue is that the Rebellion appears to have a mole, and therefore, the Rebellion cannot send any known agents to retrieve the three surviving operatives. So, Leia and Cracken have created a secret operation only known to the two of them to send an unknown pilot on a ship not identified with the Rebellion to participate in the galaxy’s most notorious race: The Dragon Void Run. The advantage of the race is that it requires the pilots to stop and refuel at three worlds where the remaining operatives can rendezvous with the Rebel agent and escape from the Empire.
The Rebels want to use the Millennium Falcon because it is fast and not identified as a Rebel ship. This seems odd because the Falcon was involved in the Battle of Yavin and was involved in the rescue of Princess Leia from the Death Star. General Cracken does not want to use Han because he doesn’t trust his abilities or intelligence. Han refuses to let anyone other than himself or Chewbacca to pilot the Falcon. The only thing Cracken’s doubts manage to accomplish is to make Han dig in. Leia champions Han’s abilities, but she seems to do so more because they are out of time and options. Eventually, she gets her way, and Han is assigned the mission.
Han and Chewbacca fly the Falcon to the space station where the Dragon Void Run is set to commence. Han’s bravado drips through the pages as he enters what appears to be a reception for the pilots participating in the race. He notes that the room is full of racers that all think they are the best pilot in the galaxy. When asked by Chewbacca if he is intimidated, Han boasts that he is the best pilot in the galaxy, so no, he isn’t intimidated. This elicits a reaction from a couple of Twi’lek pilots and what might possibly be a Chiss pilot. They all doubt Han’s abilities as a smuggler to compete with seasoned racers that have trained their entire careers for this event. Han throws back his experience as a smuggler, and the fact that he finished the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs at them.
This entire conversation composed of putdowns seems to be crafted in order to introduce other participants in the race. However, only one other pilot is named. That is Loo Re Anno. Despite their bickering, all the pilots acknowledge that she is the best pilot in the galaxy. Loo Re Anno makes a memorable appearance. She is tall and slender. Her skin is blue and she looks something like the Kallerans from the Kanan series except that her face is more aquatic looking. Each arm splits at the elbow into two forearms. Among a galaxy full of unusual looking aliens, she is still rather unique.
Eventually the race commences. Han is feeling like his old self again. He even tells Chewbacca that no matter what Leia said about focusing on the mission, they were going to finish the mission and win the race. This issue makes at least one thing clear: the surest way to motivate Han to do something is to doubt him. General Cracken didn’t believe Han could complete this mission. Han went from wanting nothing to do with it to insisting that he be the one that flies the Falcon in the race. The other racers laughed at his qualifications. Han immediately set out to not only complete his mission but to win the race and prove them wrong as well.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that winning this race is what all pilots dream of. It seems to be easy to bait Han into doing things. This may be another theme for this series going forward.
Han and Chewbacca pull the Falcon out of hyperspace…and discover someone attacking the racers. That isn’t supposed to be happening, and Han Solo #1 comes to a close on that cliffhanger. This issue has done a wonderful job of setting up intrigue. Answers are needed to questions that have been raised.
For one, what was the mission that the Rebel operatives completed? Cracken says that they have vital information, but he doesn’t say what it concerns. Second, who is the mole in the Rebellion? Is it anyone in this series seen so far? The other racers believe the Dragon Void Run will be Lee Re Anno’s final race. They are taking bets on it. Why is that? Do they know of a plot, or do they doubt her abilities in her advanced age? Finally, who was attacking the racers at the end of this issue? There is so much to build on in this series. Can they fit it all in with just five issues?
Han Solo #1 Favorite Panel
Mark Brooks’ art shines throughout Han Solo #1. Star Wars has been fortunate to have Marvel assign so many excellent artists to it. Brooks’ art sells one particular panel in this issue above all others.
Han and Leia have finished their meeting with General Cracken, and Han has been given the mission. As they return to the Falcon, Leia reminds Han that the race is his cover, and not his objective. Han responds that he isn’t stupid, to which Leia replies, “You are impulsive.” Han then whispers if he just leaves at that moment, it will look suspicious. Leia responds that he leaves all the time and nobody ever cares. He brings up that he is on a mission this time, and he needs a good reason to leave. As he moves in for a kiss from the Princess, she responds with a punch to the jaw, which is reason enough for him to leave.
The reaction panel says a lot without a using a single word. Leia is standing behind Han rubbing her fist, but she has a sorrowful expression on her face. Clearly, that isn’t how she wanted Han’s departure to go. Han, for his part, also looks regretful. That moment took something out of both of them. It is Han Solo #1’s favorite panel.
Han Solo #1
Han Solo #1
Han Solo #1
Han Solo #1
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.