Written by: Greg Pak
Art by: Chris Sprouse
Published by: Marvel Comics
Chronology Placement: Set shortly after “A New Hope” and the novel “Smuggler’s Run”
Set shortly after the events of “A New Hope”, this short single-issue story explains how Han Solo loses the reward money that Obi-Wan Kenobi promised him for helping the rebellion, which eventually results in him becoming a fixture on Jabba the Hutt’s trophy wall. As with most stories set between “A New Hope” and “Empire Strikes Back”, Han is portrayed as a reluctant hero of the rebellion – often claiming to be out for himself but proving himself to be selfless in the end. Writer Greg Pak has fun with this status-quo by having Han meet with some of his former smuggler friends and being embarrassed by his association with the rebellion. I also like how Pak portrays Chewbacca as Han’s conscience, gently influencing him to make the right decisions despite his grousing about the fact.
Chris Sprouse is on art duties for this issue and easily evokes memories of the “A New Hope” era, even down to Luke sporting his yellow leather jacket. His likenesses of Han and Luke actually feel like drawings of the characters themselves, as opposed to stilted caricatures of Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill. Another highlight of the artwork is how Sprouse captures Solo’s roguish charm – a difficult feat to achieve – and it suits this period of the character’s history. Yet, he is also able to communicate his torn motivations between his smuggler instincts and this odd feeling of satisfaction from helping out the rebels. The whole issue is wonderfully inked by Karl Story, particularly the sequences within the Millennium Falcon as Luke comes to visit his friends.
While exploring Han’s gradual transition from selfish smuggler to selfless hero has been a common occurrence in the Expanded Universe comics (Star Wars: Skywalker Strikes or Star Wars: Han Solo), Greg Pak still manages to find new angles to touch upon. Dripping with classic Star Wars nostalgia, this issue slots into existing ‘Original Trilogy’ canon as seamlessly as a lightsaber cuts into a Tauntaun, offering fans a thrilling ‘untold story’ as a result.
Score – ★★★★
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – “Han Solo” is available in a digital format from Comixology and Amazon, or collected in the trade paperback, “Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Heroes”, which is also available from Comixology and Amazon.