So, did you hear the story of the scruffy looking nerf herder who escaped from a cesspool planet, joined the Empire, left the Empire, became a smuggler, did a job, married the girl, and lived happily ever after? Me neither. I have heard about the origins of Han Solo, and now we get more information on his formative years when he joined the Empire, in Han Solo Imperial Cadet #1 from Marvel Comics!

Han Solo Imperial Cadet #1HAN SOLO IMPERIAL CADET #1

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Leonard Kirk
Cover: David Nakayama
Publisher:  Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 7th, 2018
Cover Price:  $3.99

Previously in HAN SOLO: As originally designed, Han Solo went from a green-skinned alien with gills to a pirate to a “rebel” with no cause but his own. Hints about Han’s past have been given over the years, but they all eventually return to the fact that he was, at one time, a member of the Imperial Navy. Recently, we got an action-packed movie which hinted at that stage of his life, but largely skipped over any details. Now we get to delve into more of Han’s time as a soldier for the Empire, and the events which lead to his leaving the service.

YOUR DREAMS ARE FULL OF GOLD…

Prior to the events of the Solo movie, Han and sweetheart and partner in crime Qi’ra, had already failed their “employer”, Lady Proxima, once after they bungled a job stealing food rations in the Phien District of Corellia. Proxima was not pleased with the lesser payoff they returned with, and had them thrown into the pits as punishment. Shortly after that, the story alluded to the fact that Han and Qi’ra may have tried to steal enough to leave Proxima’s employee before the events which leave them separated; Han joining the Imperial Navy with plans to return to Corellia and free his love, and Qi’ra apprehended by Stormtroopers and presumably punished.

In the movie, we go from the scene with Han joining the Empire to him being a ground solider at a gritty battle, but there was more to it than that. Cadet 124-329, as he became known, was shipped to the Naval Academy on Carida, where he was initiated into his basic training. We see how the Empire treats their recruits, find that Han tried to escape his situation and return to Qi’ra quicker than you might think. Let’s all say it together no… I got a bad feeling about this.

It is very hard to say much to summaries this issue without giving the majority of it away, but sufficient to say there is a lot more going on behind the scenes to Han Solo’s naval career than we are lead to believe in the Solo movie adaptation. Throughout it all, Han keeps as much of the sarcastic wit that millions of fans have fallen in love with, and the determination that, even if you don’t already know the outcome to a point, assures you he will come out on top… eventually.

…BUT THE WAKING IS ALL PAIN

The script by Robbie Thompson (Silk, The Astonishing Spider-Man) moves along well and he handles the issue of including the movie but not focusing on the movie very well. We get scenes prior to the events of the film, but our story for this series starts when the star-crossed lovers are separated.  Thompson does a commendable job if filling in the blanks of this story. Han is portrayed, throughout the first issue, as one who may bend to the rules he is being subjected to, but he would never break. This Han is the Han we all know; a cocky braggart who is determined to get his way no matter what, rules and procedure be damned. Thompson fills in the first part of the story of Han’s Navy career well, making it clear that at no point was he a fully willing participant to anything he did.

The artwork is handled by Leonard Kirk (Fantastic Four, Squadron Supreme) and it is handled well. Kirk is a veteran who is known for his highly detailed style and innovative designs. His Han is, well, to be honest, a little different. It eschews the photorealistic style which makes the character instantly recognizable, and (thankfully) does not look like a cut and paste of the actor. This definitely is a younger Han visually who has a look independent from both Harrison Ford and Alden Ehrenreich.  He is a character of his own, with a look to match. It makes for a strange look as you read, but does nothing to take away from the wonderful art. If fact, it adds a dimension, because you don’t automatically have a voice for the character based on his familiar appearance.

BOTTOM LINE: A GOOD STORY THAT OVERCOMES MUCH

I am of the opinion that not every part of a character’s background needs to be examined in detail with a microscope. Often the reader or fan fills in the blanks better than any professional could, because it becomes their own. In the case of Solo, we have added issues. Not only is Robbie Thompson writing the Solo: A Star Wars Story comic adaptation, which is being published as we speak, but the novelist Murr Lafferty has written an acclaimed adaptation of the movie which delves into much of the background we did not see in the movie. I wonder if care is being taken to weave this story into that one, or will we have conflicts? As I am just starting to read the Lafferty book, it might be a little while before I know. But, this is a review for this issue, and as an issue, judged by itself, it is good. I enjoyed seeing Han interact with the gears of the Empire, and it was a needed shot to my Star Wars addiction. My biggest complaint comes in that it suddenly takes a turn that threw off the rhythm which was established in the first half of the book. While I wonder what is going to happen next, it seemed a little forced this early in the tale.

HAN SOLO IMPERIAL CADET #1 has the potential to be a great addition to the Star Wars universe of stories, but it has to tread lightly and watch out for the pitfall of trying to cram too much into the given space. That said, I look forward to the next issue.

Han Solo: Imperial Cadet #1

73%
73%
Has Potential

HAN SOLO IMPERIAL CADET #1 has the potential to be a great addition to the Star Wars universe of stories, but it has to tread lightly and watch out for the pitfall of trying to cram too much into the given space. That said, I look forward to the next issue.

  • Writing
    7
  • Art
    7
  • Coloring
    8
  • User Ratings (0 Votes)
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About Author

Back in February of 2008, Stacy Baugher wrote his first article for Major Spoilers and started a solid run of work that would last for over two years. He wrote the first series of Comic Casting Couch articles as well as multiple Golden Age Hero Histories, reviews and commentaries. After taking a hiatus from all things fandom he has returned to the Major Spoilers fold. He can currently be found on his blog, www.stacybaugher.com , were he post progress on his fiction work as well as his photography and life in general, and on Twitter under the handle @stacybaugher . If you're of a mind, he also takes on all comers with the under the Xbox Live Gamertag, Lost Hours. He currently lives in Clinton, Mississippi with his understanding wife, and two kids.

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