Published: December 12, 2018
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Penciler: Leonard Kirk
Cover Artist: David Nakayama
THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED! After spending a night in the brig, HAN SOLO is given one last shot at flight school… Will Han be top gun, or will he crash and burn? Crash and burn if one of his top competitors gets his way! This mysterious rival is ripped from the pages of CLASSIC STAR WARS COMICS!
Issue two of Imperial Cadet opens with Han Solo lying in his prison cell, trying to explain to the guards, who have just appeared, how it has all been a mistake. The officer with the guards explains to Han that the only reason he is still alive is because of the exceptional flying skills he displayed when he was in the TIE fighter (from the previous issue).
Two weeks later, Han returns to his fellow cadets to find that a mysterious pilot is at the top of the leader board of the cadets. Han continues to receive his training, impressing his Imperial teachers with his skill when flying.
On one mission, the cadets must fly in pairs to disable a canon. While the pairs are flying, Han notices that one of his friends, Tamu, is going to crash his TIE and get himself killed. Han ejects from his own TIE and lands on his friends, just in time to save the TIE from crashing (with a little help from another friend, Kanina).
The issue ends with the cadets in the brig, looking ready to kill Han as he asks if anybody has a deck of cards…
Last issue was a huge disappointment, I can’t lie. There was far too much re-tread of covered ground and not enough of what I really wanted to see; Han training at the academy. It made me question whether this series would be any good, or another miss by Marvel. Well, talk about a U-turn! Issue two delivers exactly what this series promised and has made me extremely excited for the rest of the series!
As I said in issue one, the introduction to these comics is excellent. It sets the atmosphere perfectly with (what I can only imagine) is an Imperial barking out the recap. This then gets expanded by having the entire comic narrated by an Imperial (I presume Yurib). This whole comic reads like a report by an Imperial, which is very effective as it is always what I’ve wanted to see as a fan.
Han is portrayed perfectly in this issue. From the word go, Han always has Qi’ra in the back of his mind and you can really see that his drive for training is her. She gets mentioned several times in the issue, either directly, or through the use of Han’s dice. It is a very fine line of not mentioning her enough, and going too far, yet Thompson walks that line with ease. We get to see how Han is always finding it difficult to fall in line with the other cadets. He has real problems not being behind a cockpit and can’t understand how doing other activities will help him fly. The good side of Han really shows through here as well. He considers saving a friend far more important than completing the mission. Although he is quick to joke, there is a subtle side, that as fans, we know will re-emerge in the future.
Even from this early stage at the academy, it is said several times how skilled Han is. I did like the flashback to show where he had learnt these skills. I must admit, I was terrified at the first frame of this, as I thought we were going to have yet another full scene. Thankfully, this seems to be a thing of the past with only a short montage of moments.
The pilot at the top of the leader board has me very intrigued. His name is never mentioned and if it weren’t for the synopsis of the issue, I don’t know if I would have even concerned myself with it. However, this is a character that fans may know. By ‘classic Star Wars,’ I presume it is referring to the original Marvel comics, which I’m not very familiar with. I do wonder if there are enough clues for fans to work out who it could be.
The transformation of this series with just a single issue is incredible. I was dreading reading this comic, not sure what it would contain. However, credit to Thompson, issue two delivers with a bang. This is the type of story I wanted to read when this series was first announced, heck, it’s the type of story I’ve wanted to read about since I first found out Han trained at the Imperial Academy. Without the baggage of Solo to hold it down any longer, the story is beginning to flourish and is highly entertaining. With a mystery pilot, Han’s witty jokes and a slapping of Imperial discipline, Imperial Cadet shows it has what it takes to fill those important gaps that were left out by Solo.
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.