Story: Greg Pak
Art: Chris Sprouse, Karl Story
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
What They Say:
THE SCOUNDREL’S CODE! After helping destroy the DEATH STAR, HAN SOLO’s ready to cash in his reward and return to life as a scoundrel. But when LUKE SKYWALKER asks for one last favor, Han gets pulled into a rebel mission that might wreck all of his plans. Co-starring CHEWBACCA and introducing AKKO, an old friend who might actually out-scoundrel Han himself!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Age of Rebellion books are ones that I’m admittedly a touch wary on because we’ve had so many stories told in the ongoing series. What’s welcome is that it’s moving around the trilogy as a whole from the films to tell their one-off tales and it’s definitely Greg Pak a chance to get into the groove ahead of taking over the main series. This installment has him working with Chris Sprouse and Karl Story and it has me wishing they were doing more Han Solo books after this as they’re definitely appealing. They capture the look of this property well and deliver a great looking Han without going the photorealistic route that some of the other books do.
It also helps that this is early in the trilogy timeline so that we get something that’s easy to work into and not exactly covered elsewhere. Taking place a bit after the destruction of the Death Star and with Han having helped Leia out with a job already, Han’s intent on paying off Jabba and fixing up the Falcon a bit. But, as you’d guess, Luke shows up to get him to do a little smuggling for the Rebellion with phrasing that implies that Han is a member. Han hasn’t fully signed onto this at this point and it really doesn’t feel like he does in my mind until after being rescued in Return of the Jedi. He’s more a freelancer at this point helping out. He’s not intent on doing the job but gets kind of railroaded into it, though not without a diversion first that puts him on a different path.
While about to drown his sorrows a bit with Chewie, he ends up coming across a group of smugglers he worked with before that try to get him to use his connections to make their job easier. Han’s not keen on this but he’s in this indecisive phase about what he wants to do after paying off Jabba so it’s easier to just kind of delay things a bit and do this job. It’s engaging to watch because Han exudes this “I don’t want to be here” tone that Pak conveys well in the script and that Sprouse and Story deliver through the body language. Everything goes about as poorly as you’d expect and there’s an almost sad sack aspect to it as he gets screwed more and more, but it’s the kind of thing that helps to bind him closer to the Rebellion for a while in order to deal with his Jabba problem. Plus, unsaid is that it feels like Chewie really wants to stick to working with the Rebellion considering his own past and that of his people.
With the main series focusing between ANH and ESB, I like that this issue keeps things very close to the end of the first film and shows some of the reasons why Han ended up hanging has with the Rebellion for awhile. Greg Pak definitely captures the mood well and I love the visual design of the book for both characters and the settings that Sprouse and Story put together. There’s a sad aspect to this that’s appealing from the usual cocky version of Han that we get and seeing Luke still feeling confident after all that had gone down since leaving Tatooine. Little one-off stories like this are great and I’m hopeful that we’ll see more taking place later in the original trilogy timeline.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: May 1st, 2019