One of the primary reasons that Marvel has struck gold with its Star Wars comics is that the company has paired together its top writers and artists. That’s made for some very good stories, but Star Wars: Han Solo #1 may be the best one yet.
The biggest selling point here is easily Mark Brooks’ artwork. Brooks has primarily been a cover artist for the last few years, but his return to interior art is simply breathtaking. This is a stunningly beautiful comic, with masterful colors from Sonia Oback as well. This looks and feels like classic Star Wars, even when Brooks adds a few touches from the prequel trilogy. Brooks managed to capture the likenesses of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and his versions of Han and Leia feel true to the source material without relying on the same photo references that we’ve seen for years.
Artistically, there isn’t anything that doesn’t work in this issue. The starship and space station scenes recapture the sense of excitement from the movies and the alien crowds are overflowing with subtle details and different races from across the Star Wars timeline. Brooks also delivers a very strong design for Loo Re Anno, a new character who is said to be one of the greatest pilots in the galaxy.
For her part, writer Marjorie Liu holds up her end of the bargain with a well-paced first issue that masterfully sets up the rest of the miniseries. This is a normal sized issue that feels like it has extra pages simply because Liu found a great balance between dialogue and exposition. The issue never loses its momentum, and it has just enough action to go with the character development.
Liu set the story shortly after A New Hope, though Luke Skywalker is nowhere to be seen. Instead, Han is very much the focal point of his own story, as he finds that he’s not quite the smuggler that he used to be. The problem is that he’s not really a fully committed Rebel either, which is both the heart of his conflict with Leia and the entire reason that she’s brought him back into the fold.
There’s kind of a Cannonball Run vibe to this issue, as Han enters the Dragon Void, the intergalactic space race of his dreams. Of course, it’s meant to be a front for an important Rebel mission, but Han’s already leaning towards blowing it off so he can win the race and prove his worth as a pilot. That’s a good setup, but there’s not a whole lot of suspense about how it will play out.
It’s an inherent problem of midquels. There can’t actually be any change to the outcome, so we know that Han will eventually come through for the Rebellion. The most important note is that this issue is a very entertaining read. And again, this comic is worth the price for the artwork alone. Fortunately, the story is also worth recommending.
RATING: 4.5 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
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Images: Marvel Comics/Lucasfilm