Published: March 13, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Penciler: Leonard Kirk
Cover Artist: David Nakayama
BEHIND ENEMY LINES! HAN SOLO and his fellow cadets risk their lives to save one of
their own. But not all of them will be coming back from this mission…and even if Han survives, will the Empire throw him in the brig or worse?
The final issue of Imperial Cadet returns us back to Qhulosk, where the Imperials are getting ready for their bombing run on the local army. It is noted that five cadets and five speeder bikes are missing, with the question held in the air if they should proceed with the bombing or not.
The five cadets are racing through a city, evading the locals. Han is confident in thinking that the Empire will not bomb the city while they are there. He is very wrong. Before long, the cadets are having to evade the Empire’s bombs as well as the locals. Having survived the onslaught, the cadets find Valance’s wreck, only to find that he is injured and missing an eye. Valance is in disbelief that the cadets are his rescue team, only to be corrected that no rescue mission was even planned.
The cadets start to race back to their mobile base, conscious of the second bombing run that will surely be coming soon. However, they soon run into locals who block their way. Han tries to talk his way out of it, only to have the aliens slaughtered in front of him by the ghulars. The ghulars have been kept as slaves to mine farium. Only wanting their freedom, Han allows them to take escape pods from a crashed ship to escape the Empire.
Kanina is furious. Han soon learns that her mate, Weegee, also works mining farium and it is only a matter of time before the Empire repeats this slaughter. Seeing one escape pod left, Han blasts a shot through Kanina’s TIE pilot mask and tells her to take the pod.
Back at the base, Valance finds that the Empire won’t pay for a mechno-leg or eye, so he is grounded. Han is thrown in the stockade. And the reader? Well, we get to see Kanina reunited with her love…
The final issue of Imperial Cadet. It is very bittersweet. This series has been superb and I’ve really enjoyed going further into Han’s past, particularly the part that I’ve always wanted to know more of: his Imperial career. However, this has seemed like a really short series, too short to be able to encase all the potential that this series had to offer. And if anything that is my biggest complaint of this series and this issue: Potential. There was a lot still to wrap up in the final comic. With so much, the comic felt rushed and although I enjoyed it, I felt that this end could have been done over two issues. And I say two issues, but with all the groundwork Thompson has laid, this series could have gone on for a lot more. When Kanina mentioned about her mate, my first thought was, ‘oh, that would be cool to see!’ Then we have the ending we do which puts an end to that speculation! Then there is the character of Yurib. I thought his character was brilliantly written, the Han we would have got if he could follow orders. Yet in this issue, we see very little of him. There is so much here, how Thompson has contained it in five issues is beyond me, and to know this was the end, it felt that the potential of so many characters hasn’t been realised.
Within the issue itself, there were a few things that I really liked. Han’s naivete that the Empire wouldn’t bomb them was good. I was a little worries that the Empire’s integrity would be compromised for the sake of the story, but I was not disappointed when the bombs actually came down! It’s exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from the Imperials. Valance and Kanina’s change in view on the Empire was also a welcome addition. Again, we come to potential. Valance in particular starts to see the cracks in the Empire’s image, with no rescue being sent for him and them not paying for his treatment. Yet, we are assured that he’ll still fight for them. There is a story there (at least one) that would show a very different side to the way Han sees the Empire. How does Valance justify the Empire’s actions? Does he still give it his all?
It’s difficult to say how I feel about this issue. As I’ve said, this series has been one of the best Marvel have produced. It is in a time frame that I like, with a character I adore. The writing has been exceptional and the many layers that have been laid down has made reading it the last few months an absolute pleasure. The disappointment is with the fact that it ends, and ends in a rush. I’m not sure Thompson is done, not even close. It feels like he has more to say. And yes, the ending hints that there may be more to come but why aren’t we getting it now? Han is in the brig again, still with his positive outlook on life, and still thinking about Qi’ra. There is still so much to tell and see that I’m not sure now was the time to send all the characters off in their own directions. The old saying of leave your readers wanting more would be an understatement! If you have yet to discover this series, you are doing yourself a disservice. Yes the consistency of some of the comics coming from Marvel might make you wary (it does me), but Imperial Cadet is not one of those. This is Star Wars through and through. I hope Marvel realise what has been created here and give Thompson and Kirk the opportunity to come back, I for one will be waiting to get back to this part of the universe, it is one I want to return to again and again.
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.