Solo #1 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Solo #1 begins the adaptation of the latest Star Wars movie and faithfully brings the cinematic event to comic book readers.

This article contains plot points for Solo #1.

Solo #1 Cover

Writer: Robbie Thompson | Artist: Will Sliney | Colorist: Federico Blee | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: Phil Noto | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia

As with The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi, Marvel is adapting Solo: A Star Wars Story into a comic series. Like those other series, it is a fairly faithful adaptation. This review assumes readers are familiar with the movie, and therefore, most of the events and the plot are not covered in detail. Solo #1 commences the adaptation. This comic shines in its ability to capture the cinematic quality and pacing of the movie, while offering vibrant art and some additional material.

Additional Scenes

Like any good comic adaptation of a film, Solo #1 retells the events of the film and offers a few additional scenes. Solo #1 covers the portions of the movie that include Han’s escape from Lady Proxima and the White Worms on Corellia to meeting Beckett, Val, and Rio on Mimban. It concludes just as he is thrown in the mud pit with Chewbacca.

The additional material in this issue starts with the very first panels. The film opens with Han hot wiring a speeder and returning to the White Worms after what the audience learns is a deal gone bad. Solo #1 begins with Lady Proxima giving him this mission. Lady Proxima stresses how straight forward the deal is and how Han better not mess it up. Of course, things go wrong. The next “new” scene arrives when Han and Qi’ra flee on foot after their speeder gets jammed between buildings. The pair finds a barrel containing eels and jumps in to evade detection by Moloch. There is a great homage to Indiana Jones here, and it is very fitting given that Han Solo and Indiana Jones were both originally portrayed by Harrison Ford.

The bulk of the extra material concerns Han’s time at the Imperial Academy. In the film, Han never gets any scenes as an Imperial pilot or cadet. He briefly explains that he was drummed out of the academy because he had a mind of his own. Solo #1 expands on this. Han finds himself in front of a review board answering for a failure to obey orders. Even though he saved a fellow cadet’s life, he is dismissed from the academy. Undoubtedly, these scenes will be expanded upon in in the upcoming Han Solo: Imperial Cadet series.

Some of this is undoubtedly familiar to readers. The deleted scenes on the recent home release of the film feature some of this material. In addition, the novelization, by Mur Lafferty, also includes some of these scenes as well.

Solo #1 - Han and Qi'ra Escape

The Art of Solo #1

Will Sliney provides the art for Solo #1. His previous contribution to Marvel’s current run was on the team that provided the art in Beckett #1. His characters are clearly recognizable as the same characters from Solo: A Star Wars Story. However, his art employs just enough artistic license that readers know they are reading a comic. Solo #1 avoids photo referencing issues by keeping the art of the lead characters consistent with the backgrounds and other characters. Perhaps Sliney’s best achievement in this issue is his work on Lady Proxima. The queen of the White Worms was shrouded in shadows and darkness in the film. However, readers get a great look at her here.

Speaking of darkness and shadows, Federico Blee does fantastic work with the color on this issue. If the cinematography of Solo suffered anywhere, it was that the film was very dark in its first half. A common complaint from audiences was the difficulty in seeing what was going on. That problem has been eliminated in Solo #1. The panels are lighter, but Blee kept the sense of the dark lair of Proxima with a color palette that was heavy on shades of blue and purple.

In addition to the beauty of the art, Sliney did an amazing job keeping the feel of the action. The speeder chase feels fast. The panels convey a very cinematic feel similar to the main Star Wars title. For instance, when Han and Qi’ra escape from Proxima’s lair, they discuss their hopes, plans, and dreams while fleeing in the speeder Han stole. As they do so, Moloch’s speeder gains on them from panel-to-panel until colliding with them. The action is steady and builds appropriately.

Solo #1 - Beckett and the Gang on Mimban

The Solo Comic Universe

Solo #1 contributes nicely to a growing universe of comics around Solo: A Star Wars Story. Lando: Double or Nothing maneuvered Lando and L3-37 into the events of Solo by the end of its series.  As previously mentioned, Sliney contributed to Beckett #1, which told the story of how Beckett, Val, and Rio came to find themselves on Mimban. It also details Beckett’s rivalry with Enfys Nest. In addition to this series, Thompson is also writing the upcoming Han Solo: Imperial Cadet miniseries, which focuses on Han’s time in the Imperial academy in the three years that span his escape from Corellia and his meeting Beckett and the crew on Mimban.

Overall, this is one of the more fun adaptations to read. Robbie Thompson wrote a fast-paced adaptation. As mentioned earlier, Sliney’s art does a wonderful job capturing the cinematic quality of the films. Although this is just the first issue, it covers a lot of ground and is a great supplement to the film.

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