– Spoiler Review –
In Han Solo #2, the Dragon Void Race turns sideways and unexpected guests appear, putting Han and Chewie’s mission for the Rebel Alliance in jeopardy. The creative team continues to fire on all engines for this series, as issue #2 provides plenty of compelling reasons to continue reading, including big questions surrounding a certain new character.
Issue #2 picks up right where #1 left off, as the pilots in the Dragon Void come out of hyperspace in the first leg of the race only to be mercilessly attacked by relentless mines. Many of the racers bite the dust, proving the Dragon Void isn’t going to be like dusting crops, and only four manage to make it out alive. The Twi’leks who teased Han in the pre-race party, Sotna and Nowk of the Starshot team, manage to avoid death by using their ‘pulse,’ something they had wished to use later but had to sacrifice now to survive until the next leg. Delan Vook, a Pantoran, uses the Millennium Falcon as cover from the drones, firing towards Solo’s ship in an effort to lose the mines. Loo Re Anno, the unnamed species I fell in love with due to its exotic and intriguing design, is being ignored by the mines due to her ship being powered down, making one wonder if she knew about the trap beforehand. And lastly Han and Chewie survive because Solo’s smuggling instincts tell him to look for even the most obvious answer to a problem, and he deduces they need to shut their ship down after seeing the already destroyed ones being ignored by the mines. I had been wondering what would be so difficult about a race in space and now I’m sure things can only get more dangerous in ways I’d never imagine during the final two legs of the Dragon Void.
Again, Marjorie Liu absolutely nails the character of Han Solo, from how he deals with Vook and the Pantoran’s actions during the race to his determination and quick thinking in the cockpit of the Falcon. The inner monologue’s thankfully continue too, as in issue #2 we get to see Han begin to ponder why he’s been turning down jobs but jumps at the chance to help Leia…and the Rebellion with retrieving their spies. He mentions how alive he feels during the race, something Loo Re Anno realizes too since she later says he understands the race to be pure, since there’s no side to pick or no cause to fight for…there’s only winning or losing. Han’s been risking his life for others and their causes as of late, something he’s simply not used to, but the fact that he didn’t take any other job until Leia asked certainly seems to mean somewhere deep down he wants to be fighting for a cause beyond himself. Once the Empire appears at the end, arresting the surviving racers, Han and Chewie’s mission to bring back Rebellion spies suddenly takes more precedence than the race. Will Han jump into the role of a Rebellion agent or will he fight having to continue their mission? While it’s obvious he’ll eventually help, I can’t wait to see how Liu handles how Han goes about doing so because she seems like the right writer for the job.
Chewie gets to be more than Han’s co-pilot this issue, as he goes out to find the Rebel spy they’re picking up on this first planet while Han confronts the Pantoran who shot at them. I’m really glad they’re giving Chewbacca the chance to go out on his own, as he’s more than capable of doing things without Han around, as one could argue he’s usually stuck cleaning up after Han when he could be getting the job done in a way less messier manner alone (his own comic series proved that). In fact, the handler for the spy Chewie is picking up, a Falleen (!) woman named Grega, has some kind words to say about the Wookiee, including the fact that he has a reputation for keeping people safe; Which I’m sure that reputation was earned by keeping Han alive all these years. When the nervous Duros spy Dot is officially in Chewie’s hands, a human woman attacks them both, though she admits she doesn’t want to hurt Chewie. In one of my favorite minor bits from the issue, the crowd around Chewie, Dot, and Grega realizes the co-pilot of the Falcon from the Dragon Void race is in danger and begins attacking the mysterious woman. These fans finally feel represented in the race, as they all feel a kinship to Han and Chewie since they are ‘normal’ pilots and not some pretentious elites who’ve never gotten their limbs dirty with the grease of their ships; Thus the fans assume the elite pilots are cheating and hired the woman to kill Chewie, since they can’t stand to lose to someone so uncivilized as the pair piloting the Falcon, and the crowd ends up protecting him and the Rebel spy. Not only was it great to have Chewie doing his own thing, but the fan’s reactions were a pleasantly unexpected surprise.
Before Han is arrested by the Empire, a fellow smuggler warns him about having enemies on his tail, but the answer about who the enemy is might not be as obvious as the creative team wants you to think. While I doubt we’ll see the mysterious Dug smuggler again, one has to wonder if his warning about enemies on Han’s tail was truly about the Empire…or Loo Re Anno and her seemingly sentient glowing orb pals. While I initially fell in love with Loo (and still am) because of the character design, her aging racing character becomes far more intriguing due to the questions slowly building up around her than just her unique looks. Once you start asking how she knew to have her engines off during the mine attack, and has seemingly survived as long as she has throughout what is obviously a very dangerous race, one can begin to see the connection between the Dug’s warning to Han being about the glowing orb following him, not the Empire (especially considering how odd it would be for this Dug to go out of his way to get Han’s attention only to point out the very big and very obvious Imperial shuttle landing behind him). In #1’s pre-race party scene, tons of the orbs can be seen floating above and around the party, but it’s only been made clear in #2 that they belong or are attached to Loo someway. She can understand them and they seem to be concerned about winning the race, while one ends up taking a ‘liking’ to Han, as Loo puts it. What part do they have to play in the mystery of Loo? Of the race? And of the spies? Consider me absolutely intrigued.
While Liu is providing excellent writing, the art team is doing exceptional work, which I’ve already gushed about in my review of #1 and will happily do so here as well. The entire opening action scene in space was easy to follow and flowed from panel to panel really well, while the motion blur was a great little added touch that gave everything a sense of speed and urgency. Han Solo here looks and makes faces one could imagine Harrison Ford doing and my favorite panel to highlight Brooks’ Han is the one when Loo informs Han one of her orbs ‘likes’ him, as the look of both bewilderment and concern crosses his face, and I quite literally laughed out loud when I saw it. Also, each panel is chock full of detail, is very dense, and has a large variety of alien species, something we’ve not seen so far in any series to this point. Kudos again to the work of Mark Brooks, Sonia Oback, and Dexter Vines, the latter of which just joined the series this issue. I didn’t see a big difference between #1 and #2, so I don’t know where Vines’ inking came into play, but the quality continues to be top-notch either way.
Here are a few other things:
- Falleen’s, Pantoran’s, Dug’s, oh my! The species variety, as I mentioned before, has been absolutely awesome to see. They didn’t even need to have so much species diversity after creating Loo’s design, as that alone was more than enough to delight the eyes, but I’m glad they went ahead and included so many. Its mainly neat to me because it both shows how diverse the galaxy can be and allows us to see some prequel-era species interact with original trilogy era characters, when they don’t normally do so. Also, is Grega the first canon female Falleen?
- On top of all the diverse faces in the crowds, the issue’s final panel not only reveals the name of the planet the Dragon Void racers have stopped on as Camera (yes…like the thing you take pictures with though I think it’s likely pronounced differently here, like Ca-mer-a), but it introduces another alien design. There are a group of three individuals hovering over Han and the Imperials standing before him whose faces are hidden by giant hoods attached to their robes. They’re sitting on floating disks, similar to Yoda’s floating disk in Attack of the Clones, and they have what looks like datapads floating in front of them. One seems to be a leader of sorts, something I’m assuming since they have an ornate headpiece for a hood. Who are these new mysterious players to the story? Natives and/or the law on Camera? And what will they do about the scene unfolding below them?
- While I enjoy the art team’s Han, I’m not a big fan of the Han on the first two non-variant covers so far.
- Speaking of the art, it looks like I’m not the only one gushing over it: George Lucas himself bought every single page from the first two issues of this series. If I only had the money to do so…
The mysteries only deepen and the mission gets even more complicated for Han and Chewie in issue #2, another excellent entry in the Han Solo series.
+ The questions start piling up around Loo Re Anno
+ Liu’s solid Han Solo, who is seeing there’s more to life than himself
+ Chewie getting his share of the action
+ Art team of Mark Brooks, Sonia Oback, and Dexter Vines knocking it out of the galaxy
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
#1 | #3 | #4 | #5
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)