Han Solo: A scoundrel turned hero

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In issue #1, Princess Leia assigned two undercover rebels to track down Solo and request the use in the deadly Dragon Void race. Of course, Solo declined. (Photo courtesy of Marvel)

Marvels Han Solo series has been an outstanding one so far. We’ve dug deeper into the iconic character we know and love from the original trilogy of Star Wars movies, and writer Marjorie Liu effectively implements his persona into the story. Issue #4 of the series picks up from the previous stand off Solo and Chewbacca find themselves in in issue #3. Dorae, an old rival of Solo and Chewbacca, turns out to be one of the rebel informants the duo has been assigned to pick up. After some assistance from fellow Dragon Void racers, Loo Re Anno and the Twi’Lek sisters Sotna and Nowk, Dorae and the rest of the ensemble temporarily settle their differences due to the restless nature of the Dragon Void’s course and the greater cause at hand, the retrieval of informants for the Rebellion against the Empire.

This issue has been a lighter one, but it still captures the excitement of the series. One of Re Anno’s mysterious glowing orbs continues to accompany Solo on his journey through the Dragon Void and is in fact the reason Re Anno and the Twi’Lek sisters knew Solo needed their assistance from Dorae on the Millennium Falcon. I have developed a liking to these ominous glowing orbs, because they keep me guessing. Are they the last life forms of Re Anno’s kind? Are they some sort of half-developed being awaiting to shed into its new skin, or do they originate from the Force itself? Although we might not ever be told directly what these beings are (as with most things in the Star Wars universe) they have added an interesting dynamic to the series.

Following the stand-off with the feline-looking alien Dorae, Re Anno pulls a heated Solo to the side for a chat, where she reveals the true perceptiveness of her character. Re Anno sees something in Solo that even he can’t seem to realize yet. It’s the fact that Solo has been longing for something more since the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope. That is the reason why Solo was hesitant when looking for work in the beginning of the series, he doesn’t want to risk his life delivering some junk cargo anymore, and that is why he signed up to help the Rebellion on another life or death mission; Solo wants to leave his mark on the galaxy, but he’s having a hard time coming to terms with that fact.

Solo describes himself as “… a nobody. Just a pilot. A darn good pilot, but nothing special. I like it that way,” but Re Anno can see past his resistance to change and knows the hero inside of him, not the scoundrel the rest of the galaxy sees.

Re Anno is an exceptional character because she sees things and people for who and what they are and pinpoints the good in them.

After the insightful discussion, Re Anno and the Twi’Lek sisters return to their ship to prepare for the race, and we see a much more reserved Dorae and Chewbacca sipping what can only be assumed to be space-coffee with Bot, the other rebel informant Solo picked up at the beginning stages of the Dragon Void. This is where we find out that the third informant, which was supposed to be picked up later in the race, is in fact on the same planet and scheduled to rendezvous with them at their refueling station, meaning Solo would have to await their arrival and disqualify himself from the race (which he did not take kindly to, even though the race isn’t his primary objective.)

Luckily enough, the informants, who were being pursued by what appear to be Sandtroopers (a Stormtrooper variant we will get to see more of in the upcoming Star Wars film, Rogue One) make it with only seconds to spare before the Millennium Falcon would be disqualified. Suspiciously, the informant arrives at the rendezvous with company, but it is a familiar face. It is U’il, Bot’s old bodyguard, who is now assigned to watch the third informant. What’s curious though, is that Bot refers to U’il as “Grega” in the first issue. I’m not sure if that could be her last name, or if it relates to her and Bot being the rebel traitor’s Princess Leia has been looking for. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are, though. Bot could be hiding under a false personality, only pretending to be as insecure and scared as he is. U’il on the other hand is just outright suspicious, referring to herself as “more than a simple bodyguard,” and is the only one in a rush to return to the rebel base to meet with Leia.

Solo refuses to return to the rebel base without first identifying who the traitor amongst the informants is, and until he finds out, he is going to continue the risk-ridden Dragon Void race. As if stakes weren’t high already, the comic concludes when the Falcon and rest of the racers exit hyperspace into a fleet of imperial Star Destroyers and star fighters. Solo suggests that the race is certainly over, but Re Anno responds with inspiring words, “The race is never over, Solo. Isn’t that right, fellow pilots? Are we not here to fly? Have we come this far to be stopped now?” An inspiring part of the comic to say the least. Re Anno unites all of the pilots, not as competitors, but as a family; a family that is trying to be free from the restraints of the empire and reach the fullest of their potential.

 The comic concludes when an inspired Solo tells his crew to strap in, in preparation of the battle that is about to commence, but in an unexpected turn of events, Chewbacca discovers the corpse of the third informant laying on the Falcon’s cold, metal floor.

The Han Solo series is one of my favorite Star Wars comics so far, and issue #4 takes a detour from the action to explain how Solo discovers the changes within himself and how he might embrace them in the future. With all of the informants now gathered and the Empire hot on the smugglers tail, my expectations are high for issue #5 of the series, which will be available November 9.

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