Review: Han Solo #5

An issue like this one never fails to be bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a very satisfying ending to a great book. On the other hand… the book’s ending. That’s the downside to these miniseries. I’d love to see books like this, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan & Anakin go on for arc after arc but instead we only get 5 issues. Treasure them while you can.

This book is just so damn pretty. I suspect that some Star Wars fans who don’t have as strong of a comics background don’t know how damn lucky we are to get Mark Brooks doing interiors on this book and Sonia Oback’s colors just make the pages pop ever more. This book was a goddamn gift for the artwork alone and Marjorie Liu’s script makes it doubly so. Why hasn’t this book get more appreciation than it does?

So many things about this book have just been so darn fun. It was definitely a character study for Han but plot line about the mission for the Rebel Alliance and the race were definitely enjoyable to follow. I especially loved how the race announcer narrated this issue. The stakes were high (in more ways than one) but that never stopped this book from being fun.

As mentioned in previous issue review, this was definitely an uncertain Han Solo that we’d never really seen before and Liu deftly takes him more towards the certainty that we’re used to. It’s such a natural progression. The “mirror made up of others” line may have been a bit on the nose but Han might be the one character for whom it really works. Sometimes you just need to smack that boy over the head with an idea for him to get it especially when there’s a rebellion or a woman involved. Speaking of ladies, the final page with him and Leia is so note perfect that it hurts.

If you’ve been holding off on this book for the final verdict, wait no longer. Han Solo is definitely cleared for take off. Pick up the floppies, pick up the trades in a few months; whichever. But definitely make sure you read this book.

Han Solo #5: Marjorie Liu/Writer, Mark Brooks/Artist, Sonia Oback & Matt Milla/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Han Solo #4

Tensions are running very high aboard the Millennium Falcon as the Dragon Void race continues and there just might be a traitorous spy amongst the rebels that Han and Chewie are picking up along the way. Han Solo #4 is a fast-paced issue with a lot happening but also a lot to love.

Marjorie Liu excels at writing Han Solo more than I could have possibly imagined. You can feel the conflict within him as he tries to decide between winning or doing the right thing. This is a Han Solo who cares and who, even if he’ll deny it, is coming around to being part of something bigger than himself.

It’s also worth mentioning that Liu writes an amusing Chewbacca. While he’s certainly not at the forefront quite as much as Han, he gets to play a fun supporting role and often offer a little bit of comic relief that’s almost reminiscent of him in The Force Awakens. I also appreciated the meta-feeling remark to the twi’leks about how they’re always dancing girls and the twi’leks’ subsequent death threat. It’s great seeing twi’lek women get to play much better roles in this new canon world.

One of the things I love about Mark Brooks’ artwork on this book is how rich every page is. There’s something about it that makes this universe feel very lived in and real. The pages tend to be fairly busy which really adds to the feel of the book but Brooks knows when to take a step back and use a panel for impact. It’s really great work.

Han Solo #4 lived up to the promise of the previous issue and has me very anxiously awaiting the next and final one!

Han Solo #4: Marjorie Liu/Writer, Mark Brooks/Artist, Sonia Oback & Matt Milla/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Han Solo #3

It’s been a little while since the last issue but I’d say it was definitely worth the wait! I’ve been enjoying the book so far but Issue #3 is where it felt like Marjorie Liu and the rest of the team really kicked into another gear. Hot damn this book is fun!

Mark Brooks’ artwork on this book positively thrills me especially during the race scenes. It’s chaotic yet beautiful and something about it really speaks to me. In particular, the two-page spread during the 12-hour phase of the race was just downright awesome. He really is the perfect pick for this book and I’m happy to see more of his work.

Like I said before, this book is fun. To be fair, it’d be tricky for the book to not be fun given the premise.  It’s a space race. That said, it’s not all fun and games because the Empire is still involved. Loo Re Anno, one of the legendary racers, is the last of her kind and Liu doesn’t shy away from the implications of this. When one of the Imperials mentions that he has always wondered how “an entire race can dwindle down to one individual,” Loo Re Anno points out that “it usually requires help.” Damn. There’s more of a story here and I’d like to know it. And also for her to meet Zeb. They can be friends.

It’s worth mentioning again that Liu really gets Han Solo. I can almost hear Harrison Ford’s voice in my mind as I read some of his lines. This Han is the perfect step between the out-for-himself smuggler we first met in Mos Eisley and the guy who’s actually starting to believe in this whole Rebellion thing. He’s a character in flux and it’s fascinating to read. Kudos to everyone involved.

In case it wasn’t clear, Han Solo definitely gets a strong recommendation from me!

Han Solo #3: Marjorie Liu/Writer, Mark Brooks/Artist, Sonia Oback/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Han Solo #2

Come on: you didn’t really think that this secret Rebel Alliance mission was just going to involve a high stakes space race, did you? Of course, the Dragon Void race is no mere race. Anakin Skywalker may have won the Boonta but I think even he would have a little trouble here. Marjorie Liu is most certainly committed to making sure that we get more than just the cocky smuggler side of Han Solo; something that more than a few writers have forgotten to do. And sure: Han is definitely cocky and brash but he’s also a pretty smart guy as evidenced by how he figured out the trick to the race’s opening—something that only one other pilot realized.

Something I’m definitely enjoying about this comic is how it’s helping broaden the universe.  Now we’re getting to see folks who don’t quite fall into the Underworld categorization but they’re still from the less civilized part of the galaxy and they’re really excited about this race.  The spectators have such a great ‘normal citizen’ feel and just like so many normal citizens in our world, they want to get autographs!  In the grand scheme of the story, it’s not a very big thing but it’s something that really stuck out to me nonetheless.

Mark Brooks (with some help from Sonia Obark’s colors) continues to be a delight on art. The highlights from this issue would definitely be the costume design for a female Falleen and the more humorous Chewbacca facial expressions.  Chewie can be a tough cookie to crack when it comes to artist renditions but I’m definitely enjoying Brooks’ take.

Han Solo continues to be a really fun book and I can’t wait to see where the Imperial entanglements take us in Issue #3.

Han Solo #2: Marjorie Liu/Writer, Mark Brooks/Artist, Sonia Oback/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Han Solo #1

han solo coverA lot of people are kvetching over Han Solo getting a limited series comic book because OH NO he’s already getting an origin film. Those people should hush for a moment and read a very fun issue of Star Wars comics called Han Solo #1.

As our first female writer for this new batch of Star Wars comics, expectations were (unfairly) going to be high for Marjorie Liu but she rises to the challenge and delivers the set up for an all around fun story. More than any of the other books so far, this feels like a Star Wars book. A lot of that has to do with the fantastic artwork by Mark Brooks with an abundance of alien life forms in the background of every cantina scene. Every limited series has had its own unique vibe and I am digging this one so far.

This is a Han Solo who’s not quite feeling himself. He’s being overly careful when it comes to smuggling and he takes a dangerous mission when a Princess asks. We’re used to seeing this cocky and confident captain so it’s refreshing to see one who second-guesses himself even a little bit. What makes this book such a joy though is that it’s still distinctly Han Solo. Harrison Ford’s voice popped into my head at more than a few lines. Liu also has a good handle on Leia. One of the more delightful scenes involves Leia and Cracken arguing like Han’s not even in the room and it all just feels right.

On the art front, it’s nice to see another female colorist join the Star Wars family and it’s equally nice to see some Mark Brooks interiors especially after so many of his great covers on the Kanan book. He can convey a lot about the characters with just a few panels an facial expressions and his work really helps bring the book together.

I think it’s saying something that my biggest gripe with this book is that Airen Cracken has graying brown hair instead of graying red hair. Do you really need me to tell you that this was a great start to another series and to go pick the book up?

Han Solo #1: Marjorie Liu/Writer, Mark Brooks/Artist, Sonia Oback/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor