Published: November 7, 2018
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Penciler: Leonard Kirk
Cover Artist: David Nakayama
YOUNG SOLO’S ADVENTURES CONTINUE! HAN SOLO escapes Corellia by joining the IMPERIAL NAVY, vowing to return for QI’RA. But how does a thief used to the chaos of the streets adjust to the order and discipline of the military? Not well! Han’s dream of becoming a pilot is quickly grounded as he realizes he may not even survive basic training!
The story opens with Han on Corellia, before him and Qi’ra leave, as shown in Solo. We see the two characters blasting their way out of a deal, before returning to Lady Proxima. Proxima is not happy with the pair and has her men shock the two. We see several incidents in quick succession of Han trying to get items for himself and always being caught by Proxima. This continues until we get to where Han and Qi’ra manage to escape, following the story of Solo. With no other options, Han joins the Empire.
Han is placed on a transport that takes him to the naval academy in Carida. Very quickly, Han and the other cadets are deloused and welcomed to the academy by training officer Triosa Broog. We then start to see the training that Han must complete. Straight away, Han begins to question how basic training, running through mud in full gear, will help them fly. Overhearing this, the training officer tells all the cadets to run up a nearby mountain, twice. This does not make Han popular and he is pushed and shoved by his fellow comrades. One in particular, 404-913, begins to start beating Han up, until another cadet, 803-308, and a couple of friends step in and tell the other to leave Han alone. 404 walks off leaving Han with his new allies. After making small talk, Han gets laughed at when he says that he is trying to get back to Corellia. He begins to realise that he may be stuck where he is unless he does something stupid.
Han makes his way to a TIE fighter and takes off, giving a chase to the actual TIE fighters at the base. Han takes them around Carida, causing several pilots to be killed. Getting hit himself, Han is forced to land, only to find a squad of stormtroopers waiting for him.
I Loved Solo, a fun film that you could just sit back and enjoy. There was one big gap for me however, which was Han’s time at the Imperial Academy. So much had been alluded to in the old Expanded Universe, that I was eager to see where the new timeline would take us. So, with patience and expectation, I waited for the Solo comic adaptation. When it arrived I was disappointed. The additional scenes for the academy were minimal and echoed what can be found on the Solo home video release. Having that series also being written by Thompson, I hoped that he may have been saving the best parts for this series. So again, with patience and expectation I awaited this issue to finally come through my door. Eager to read the start of Han’s journey to the academy, I opened to the first page. The introduction, a message from the Imperial Academy, could not be more perfect. Great! It set the scene perfectly. And then I turned the page…
…to find Han back on Corellia. And I turned the page again, with Han still on Corellia. By now you might be starting to get my issue with the start of this story. The first half is of Han still on Corellia, before he joins the Imperial Academy. Most of it, I will admit, is not seen in the film, but I do think it would have been better placed in the adaptation, rather than this series. I kept turning the pages, eager to read what I had been waiting for. But to give over half the issue to Han’s time on Corellia seems to me a waste and I can’t say that I wasn’t frustrated by it. It meant that I really struggled to enjoy the rest of the story. With the film now out on home release, I really don’t see any need to travel back to this time frame for so many pages. One or two yes, but half the comic?
And let’s talk about when we actually reach Carida. With only half the issue left, it felt very rushed. Han lands, is deloused, welcomed and sent on training very quickly. We don’t get introduced to anyone, except the training officer. The rest of the cadets are foreign to us. And within half an issue, Han upsets every cadet, complains, steals a TIE and lands himself in trouble? It all seems too much too soon. And I’m not convinced that Han would be quite so reckless so quickly. Yes, he is rebellious, but even Han gets his bearings first. With so much riding on him becoming a pilot and getting back to Corellia, you would think he would take a bit more care than he did. I would have much rather had things slowed down and developed more, learnt more about the other cadets and what their routine is.
The one thing I did like was the art. It isn’t art that makes you go wow, but it is extremely functional, allowing you to glide from one frame to the next. The colour palette is also used very effectively, particularly on Carida, which I can’t wait to see more of.
All in all, I can’t help but feel let down by this first issue. Not only is half the issue wasted on something I don’t really want or need, but because of this, the rest of the story that I do want to see is rushed and feels like it needs more development. I really hope that without the need to return yet again to Corellia, that the next issue may start to really delve into training at Carida, although with Han having already caused some major issues, I’m a bit worried how much we’ll actually see.
Han Solo – Imperial Cadet is a series available from Marvel. This issue is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.