Han Solo #1

by mahargen on June 16, 2016

The rotating title in Marvel’s Star Wars line is easily one of Marvel’s best creative decisions in years.  Han Solo is finally getting his moment in the spotlight after his buddies Chewbacca and Lando have bowed out.  Everyone’s favorite scruffy nerfherder comes to us courtesy of writer Marjorie Liu and artists Mark Brooks and Sonia Oback on art and colors respectively.  Taking place in Star Wars canon between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo #1 finds our hero taking a step back after the success at the Battle of Yavin.  He and Chewie are back to their old ways attempting to square up a debt to hefty mobster Jabba the Hutt. 
While I might question the story concept of taking Han out of the Rebellion, however briefly, I can see how it would make sense.  Liu brings a lot of character to the story and has a really solid grasp on the characters right from the beginning.  Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, however, as Han finds that his time with the Rebellion has changed him.  In an interesting flip of the script, Liu has taken Han from the smuggler hiding in the Rebellion to the Rebel hiding as a smuggler.  Han is a character who really works well as the fish out of water, the plebian who finds himself embroiled in an adventure with the princess.  He is a character who grows through action.  Without that relationship to play off of, Liu has crafted a new set of circumstances that force Han to act.  In this limited series that is the Dragon Void Run, an galactic race that serves as the front for his real mission:  he has found himself again tangled with the Rebellion and is acting on their behalf to acquire assets that just so happen to be stationed at the planets involved in the race.  Convenient.  Also, he probably will wind up smoking out a mole who has rooted him or herself in the Rebellion.  Y’know, if he survives the race.
Brooks puts down the pencils and inks here in a gorgeous manner.  He comes close to photorealistic imagery without overcommitting to the style.  Han Solo definitely has the young Harrison Ford look, but it isn’t overwhelming or distracting.  He shines with the shear amount of work he has done for this book.  The backgrounds are all developed and the establishing shots are cinematic.  There were no corners cut.  Next issue seems to be more focused on the piloting aspect of these characters as this issue kept them for the most part grounded.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Brooks handles the ships in action.  Oback’s colors compliment the art very well.  Moving between such different locations such as a seedy bar to a Rebel base to a fancy reception gives the colorist opportunity to play with their approach.  The scenes all feel different and vibrant.
Han Solo has gone from the smuggler mixing with the Rebellion to the smuggler mixing with professional racers, and I couldn’t be happier.  It’s not an obvious extension of his story, but it’ totally works.  With the exception of Darth Vader, this may be one of my favorite books from the Star Wars Marvel line.  

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