Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Han Solo #1 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Han Solo finds the pull of the cause of the Rebellion to be irresistible, despite his own desires, in Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Han Solo #1.

Warning: This article contains plot points for Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Han Solo #1.

Age of Rebellion - Han Solo #1 Cover

Age of Rebellion: Han Solo #1

Story: Greg Pak | Art: Chris Sprouse | Color: Tamra Bonvillain | Inks: Karl Story | Lettering: VC’s Travis Lanham | Cover Artists: Terry and Rachel Dodson | Production Designer: Anthony Gambino | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia

Han Solo is not a character that has suffered for coverage since Marvel began publishing Star Wars comics again in 2015. He features prominently in the primary Star Wars title. Solo received his own mini-series in which he raced the Dragon Void Run. Then he was the feature character in the adaptation of Solo: A Star Wars Story and the tie-in series, Imperial Cadet. Han Solo’s many adventures are well chronicled in Marvel comics. One theme runs through them all though: he is the reluctant good guy that yearns for independence, but always acts in the face of injustice or need. That theme is also found in Age of Rebellion – Han Solo #1.

Where the Money Went

In A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi convinced Han Solo to take his job to deliver them to Alderaan in exchange for a large fee. With that money, Han could finally payoff Jabba the Hutt and other debts. Life, in theory, would be simpler. Although Kenobi wasn’t alive to honor his contract with Han, the Rebellion did pay him. As the Death Star was moving on Yavin IV, Han and Chewbacca made ready to leave with their reward. However, Han’s heart of gold won out after Luke appealed to him for help before the battle, and instead he ended up flying the Millennium Falcon to Luke’s rescue at just the right moment. Later, in The Empire Strikes Back, fans learn that Han still has a price on his head. Evidently, he never got around to paying off Jabba. So, what happened?

The answer to that question is found, partially, in Age of Rebellion – Han Solo #1. Despite his own best interests, Han lets Luke Skywalker talk him into taking another job for the Rebellion. Actually, Han never agrees to the job, but he carries it out anyway. Along the way, Han sacrifices his own profit for the good of others.

Millennium Falcon - Age of Rebellion - Han Solo #1

A New Life Versus the Old Way

Han always tells everyone that he is in it for himself, or that he is in it for the money. It is what he told Leia during the escape from the Death Star. He expects to be paid and well rewarded. That said, he is prone to influence by flattery. Chewbacca has been using his conscience against him for years. After Luke talks him into taking on a smuggling mission for the Rebellion, Han and Chewbacca find themselves in a local cantina. While there, he manages to break up a fight over a misunderstanding between some smugglers and Rebel soldiers. The Rebels there address him as “sir.” Han’s old smuggler acquaintances catch on to this and use it to goad him into taking on a smuggling job.

Age of Rebellion – Han Solo #1 makes it clear that Han protests too much about his involvement with the Rebellion. It is obvious. He doesn’t really want anything to do with his old smuggler pals. But, he can’t say no to them either. They are down on their luck, so he helps them with a mission. Unfortunately, their antics draw the attention of the local Imperials. Even though Han and Chewbacca could get away, Han ultimately sacrifices his reward from the Rebellion to bail the smugglers out of trouble and complete Luke’s mission from the Rebellion.

Independence and Responsibility

So, what is going on with Han Solo? Why have so many writers chosen to focus on Han’s alleged independent streak and his inability to sever his relationship with the Rebellion? In part, the answer appears that Han is concerned with image. He wants to be the bad boy. Qi’ra saw through this in Solo: A Star Wars Story. She knew then what he really was: the good guy. Indeed, Han sacrificed personal profit, and potential freedom, in favor of his friends and the greater good. He killed Beckett rather than let him hold Chewbacca hostage. Then, Han turned over the coaxium to Enfys Nest rather than create his own personal fortune.

The same things happens in Age of Rebellion – Han Solo #1. Personal freedom may not mean as much to Han as he lets on. When the Rebellion, whether it is Leia or Luke or whoever, makes an appeal for his help, they always tell him how important and needed he is. That is the key. Luke told him he was their best smuggler, and therefore, the best guy for the job. This coincides nicely with his “heart of gold.” The money is great, but it doesn’t flatter him or need him.

Age of Rebellion - Han Solo #1 - Han and Chewie

Concluding Thoughts on Age of Rebellion: Han Solo #1

Age of Rebellion: Han Solo #1 contains a number of Easter Eggs for Star Wars fans. For instance, Han mentions the Cyrkon mission that he did for Leia. The Cyrkon mission was detailed in Smuggler’s Run, by Greg Rucka, and was part of the Journey to the Force Awakens publishing initiative. Another example is when they deliver the spice with their smuggler friends. The delivery is made to Troiken, which is the homeworld of the Xexto species. Star Wars fans may not be familiar with those names, but they probably recognize Gasgano, who was the four-armed podracer that appeared in The Force Awakens. Finally, Han ends up negotiating for the return of Luke’s cargo with several Gozzos. Again, the name might be familiar, but the bird-like species were made famous by Flix in Resistance.

Chris Sprouse was the artist on Age of Rebellion: Han Solo #1. The most interesting style choice he made was to go with a Han Solo that looks like Harrison Ford just walked off the set in 1977. Everything about this Han suggest 1970s cinema from the same choice of clothing as seen in A New Hope to the unfastened top button revealing Han’s chest hair. Sprouse got the hair right and Ford’s expressions perfect. Nicely done.

The biggest thing that Age of Rebellion: Han Solo #1 contributes is the story of how Han lost all the money he received as his reward. The thematic element of Han choosing between his personal freedoms and the Rebellion has been done before. That said, this story was fun. Nobody, including Han himself, really believes that Han isn’t part of the Rebellion. Everyone, except Han, knows just how to remind him of the job that needs to be done.

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