Story: Robbie Thompson
Art: Leonard Kirk, Daniele Orlandini, Cory Hamscher
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
What They Say:
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?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Imperial Cadet series draws to a close and leaves us in a place where we can easily get more of it, which is good as I was fearful that like some other recent miniseries or specials that it would drop us right into the Solo movie at the end. There’s plenty more career ahead of Solo that can be explored and I’m glad Robbie Thompson was able to frame it this way. This issue again has a really good look when it comes to the majority of the characters and especially ship and world design as Leonard Kirk handles it well and with skill, but Solo himself just doesn’t work for me in the slightest once again. Just.. everything about how he looks, and that’s fine even if it does jar me out of the story from time to time.
This installment works well in showing Han rallying a group together as they disobey orders to head out and save Valance after his ship went down in the recent battle. Han sets it right so that the base knows that they’re out there once they’re fully underway in hopes that they won’t bomb the hell out of them while trying to save Valance. That doesn’t exactly make the team feel great when they learn that aspect of it but they have rallied together to save the man, but they’ll gripe about it along the way. It plays well with some nice tension with all that’s going on around them so it has a feeling of pressure and intensity with them on speeder bikes. It’s a good sequence overall even if it can’t quite capture the way it would play out in real or film form with the speed and the kinds of stuff that lands at them.
What this book wants to do is show more of some of the dissent in the ranks but also the allegiances. Rescuing Valance plays well as he’s shocked that there is no actual rescue party. For a man that is Imperial through and through, it cuts him but he’ll keep fighting – even if they won’t pay for a leg or an eye, which will put him in grunt mode going forward. For Kanina, things are more interesting as she realizes that what’s being mined on this world is the same that’s n her world and the discovery of a race of slaves being worked to death under those that the Empire is fighting horrifies her as she sees the same path for her own people. A little on the nose for self-interest but I like watching as Han figures out how to get her out of her commitment in order to head home and deal with her family there as it continues that whole smuggler with a heart of gold motif.
With a focus on Han being chewed out to realize what the Empire needs are soldiers and not heroes, and that he needs to understand the difference and fall in line, this miniseries makes it clear that it’s not a difference he wants to partake in. He’s got more time as a cadet ahead of him and I’m curious to see more of it, though I’d like to get a whole new team to provide this look in showing the evolution of the character – which is admittedly minimal compared to how we see him at the start of the film. This wasn’t a bad series as it delved into his first days flying but it felt like some missed opportunities and not a clear enough narrative overall beyond making it clear that Han is not Imperial material. I’m still like the character a whole lot and the arc over the various media is intriguing, and I’d like to see more, both pre and post-film.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 13th, 2019