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Star Wars: Han Solo & Chewbacca #9 Review

4 min read

“Dead or Alive, Part 4”

Creative Staff:
Story: Marc Guggenheim
Art: David Messina
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

What They Say:
What’s inside the urn that Jabba the Hutt wants so badly? Hint: It’s not ashes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With a decent run of issues so far that hasn’t quite hit its stride or found the right tone yet, it’s been fun but kind of inessential. This continues to be something that’s not bothering me too much because sometimes you just want to have adventures with characters you like. This is why I had tons of Han and Chewie stories as a kid with my action figures. Marc Guggenheim may not have cracked the code but he has loosened it up significantly where there’s a good feel to this that comes across as pre-ANH Han Solo. Here, he’s joined by David Messina again on the art duties and we get a solid piece that captures the Star Wars design and aesthetic and is trying to bring in some of that youthful Solo that predates Ford’s ANH period. He was leading man material then but was over a decade older than the other two main leads.

As we get to the penultimate issue here, things are all coming together in the way that they often do for Han in that it’s all about bad luck. Initially, he, Chewy, and Phaedra are trying to figure out urn itself because with it open now, it’s clearly not ashes. That has him going to a guy Lando uses that’s pretty smart with this stuff and they finally learn that it’s the core for the droid Ajax. And upon learning its history and what it did two centuries ago, they can see why Jabba would want a droid like that in its employ. Phaedra, to her credit, makes it clear they shouldn’t sell it to Jabba while Chewie is leaning in the same direction. Han, for his part, just hasn’t figured out how to have the best of both worlds yet and is trying to buy some time before making a decision. They have, after all, put in a lot of work to get this and are barely alive because of it. Deals go south but he’s always trying to salvage it for as long as he can.

While this plays out, we see how his movements are attracting other attention, such as Khel getting word on where he is and that there’s a lot of money to be made in getting the urn. And with them having thought they left Solo for dead, a chance to finish the job. And then you have Tyra who the marshall is holding as he tries to convince the marshall to let him turn Han over to him, or at last his location. He’s playing in the same way Han does in buying time from moment to moment but the marshall is so intent on getting Han that he’s ignoring his own protocols to dit. Naturally, all of this collides as Phaedra sees how his luck goes from bad to worse and then a bit more along the way so that he’s bouncing from thing to thing. It’s comical and it definitely fits in with Han and how it usually plays out for him but there’s also this element where I’ve not really warmed up to any of the supporting characters for this storyline so they’re just sort of there to push him and Chewie along.

In Summary:
The series continues to be a kind of easy fun with what it’s doing while making me wish that I felt for it, or at last some of its supporting characters, more. I disliked the Tarkin interlude the previous time around as it just felt like needless fanservice as I’d rather see something new or at least pedestrian instead of that. What we get here focuses on the way Han’s luck goes as he gets a better idea of what’s really going on here and the way forces usually line up against him. It’s light and breezy but connects better overall this time around with what it needs to do as it’s pretty economical in getting it all done and to the point it needs to for the finale in the next issue.

Grade: B-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 18th, 2023
MSRP: 3.99