Review: Age of Rebellion: Han Solo – Running from the Rebellion

Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Chris Sprouse

Inks: Karl Story

Color: Tamra Bonvillain

Han Solo has been my favorite Star Wars character since I was 10 years old. My first Star Wars action figure was a Han Solo with a Jabba the Hutt figure that my dad bought me. Right now, I have a Han Solo action figure  in Hoth gear sitting on my shelf at my office.  Years ago, my mom and sister bought me several Han Solo books for Christmas and I bought a Han Solo comic. And a year ago, I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story which I thought was a really cool film (unpopular opinion to some fans). Han Solo is basically in my Mount Rushmore of favorite superheroes next to Batman, Superman, Captain America, and Robin (Damian Wayne).  So, it is no surprise to myself that I bought the Han Solo Age of Rebellion comic. Because I am a fan and I wanted to see the Star Wars Universe through the eyes of our favorite smuggler once more. And in this issue of Age of Rebellion, we get just that.

The story starts of almost immediately after the Battle of Yavin where Han and Chewbacca are counting the money the 17,000 credits they have earned. Han tells Chewie that they could pay off Jabba and make much needed repairs to the Millennium Falcon.

Before any plans could be made, Han and Chewie’s plans are cut short when the farmboy turned Rebel Alliance hero Luke Skywalker asks Han for a favor to smuggle goods to a planet that the Rebel Alliance is using as an outpost. Han, as always, is reluctant but eventually goes along with the request after much convincing from Chewie.

During this time, Solo runs into a group of old smuggling friends after breaking up a fight between them and a group of Rebel soldiers. The smugglers poke fun at Solo for being a Rebel much to his ire.

However, Akko, Han’s old friend, offers to do a smuggling job to get some money on another planet. Han accepts but things go south when one of the smugglers inadvertently gets the attention of an Imperial patrol.

Fortunately, Han saves his friends from the Imperials by emptying his ship of everything including the supplies and money. Han and Akko’s group part on good terms and Han returns to the place where he dropped the Rebel supplies. Han thanks the planet’s locals for looking out for the supplies but they want Han’s credits in return which the smuggler reluctantly relinquishes. It is here we find out why Han was not able to pay back his debt to Jabba the Hutt. Han Solo AOR

At the end of the comic, Han delivers the supplies to the Rebels on the outpost planet. The Rebels thank Han and call him a hero. Despite Han reminding the Rebels that he is not one of them, they ask the Corellian yet for another favor. And as a result, Han takes on another job while verbally declaring that it would be the last time he does any favors for the Rebel Alliance.

Greg Pak does an awesome job of writing Han Solo as this reluctant member of the Rebel Alliance to Restore the Republic. I think a better term for Han Solo in this comic would be a Rebel-by-accident. After all, he was pulled into a fight against an evil Empire by a certain old hermit and a blonde haired farmboy. I also liked how Pak brilliantly writes Han hilariously denying that he is a Rebel to Rebels and smugglers alike. I feel that Pak took shades of both the Harrison Ford and Alden Eherenreich versions of Han Solo as he wrote this issue. We see the far more cynical Han Solo portrayed by Harrison Ford when he argues with Chewie and denies his Rebel affiliation. But we also see Alden Ehrenreich’s Solo when Han retrieves the Rebel supplies and willingly delivers them to the Rebels. The scene where Solo meets the Rebels on Calumdarian, the outpost planet, reminded me of the scene where young Han gives the coaxium to Enfys Nest. In both scenes, Han is seen as having a heart despite his gruff and cynical exterior.

I also thought the art and coloring done by Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, and Tamra Bonvillain was great. They drew Han Solo exactly like he was in A New Hope along with the rest of the characters. The colors done by Sprouse gave this story a Western feel with almost all the scenes having a sunset or dusk setting. The shade tells me that something shrewd is about to go down and knowing Han Solo, he is all about being shrewd. We even see this in the ending scene with the relieved Rebels. Han just goes back to what he has always been doing: smuggling while being a reluctant Rebel as he flies the Falcon though the crimson and dusky skies of Calumdarian.

Having said all of this, the only thing I would have liked to see in this comic was Han’s interaction with Princess Leia. Whenever Han and Leia argue, there is always bound to be fireworks or at least shots fired. Leia was only referenced by Han as asking him for a favor for a job. I felt that Leia would have been likely the one to grab Han’s ear to get him to do a job for the Rebellion rather than just Luke alone because, even if Han didn’t want to admit it, Leia was one of the reasons why he stayed with the Rebellion. Luke was a reason but it was that princess from Alderaan that slowly made Han forget about paying Jabba for the moment and help the Rebels anyway he could.

Or another suggestion would have been to have almost all the characters from Leia to C-3PO or General Jan Dodonna asking Han for favors much to the annoyance of our friendly neighborhood smuggler. That would have made this comic even more awesome and would have exposed Han’s true character through his gruff exterior.

Otherwise, I enjoyed this story. Even if you’re not a Han Solo fan, you cannot help but see how Han starts to grow from cynical smuggler to hero of the Rebel Alliance. Any you know…it’s Han Solo.

 

Rating: 4.3/5

Life Is Like the Kessel Run

solo-chewbacca-lando-beckett-qira-han-falcon-cockpit
Photo Credit: Disney & Lucasfilm Ltd.

As I sit down and write this, I began looking back at the good times and the bad times in my almost 32-years of existence. I have come to realize that I am not perfect nor invincible. I am neither almighty or immortal. I’m an proud idiot who loves comic books and science fiction, and pro-wrestling. I enjoy writing, blogging or podcasting about those genres. And you know what? I’m damn proud of it. You read that right. And it if wasn’t for my admiration for those things, I don’t think I would piece together how the the world works.

When it comes to my life and all of what I just mentioned above, I think of the Kessel Run. I write this because when I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story, I was once again that 10-year old boy who wanted to be Han Solo. I didn’t want to be Luke Skywalker. I wanted to be Han Solo. I wanted to have the Millennium Falcon as my own ship. I wanted Princess Leia to be my girlfriend. I wanted to be a general of the Rebel Alliance. Hell, I wanted to be frozen in carbonite. I wanted to tell people at the right damn moment to ‘never to me the odds.’ Say what you want but, that movie brought those desires back.

When I saw that scene of Han flying the Falcon right into the an uncharted path in the Kessel Run with TIE Fighters chasing him. There was debris that could have gotten Han and his friends killed. Or even worse. The Falcon could have been blown up in a giant ball of Coaxium. But with faith in himself and his pilot abilities, Solo beat the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. It wasn’t like the Corellian woke up one morning with a huge smile on his face and walked up to Chewbacca and said: “Ya know Chewie, I’m going to beat the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.” No, this was just the icing on the cake. Han wanted he and his friends to survive and live.

The point I’m making is that in my life, I have had to go in sometimes through an uncharted path even if I had a guide (Han had Lando’s droid L3 , albeit, she hated his guts). My Kessel Run like the one in Solo has been full of debris. One of them finding out about my diagnosis of Aspergers at age 17 and Von Hippel Lindau Syndrome nine years later at age 25. Such debris had bruise and battered me just like the debris in the Kessel Run nearly wrecked the Falcon. And yes, such debris probably would have killed me.

But even though I was terrified, I got through it. I knew Han was terrified despite knowing he was an amazing and phenomenal pilot. He didn’t want to die but he knew that he didn’t get out, the Imperial were going to blow him and his friends sky high.

I feel that we all have to run our own Kessel Run. I do it everyday when I go to work. The debris could come in the form of a customer yelling at me or a write up from a supervisor. I go through the Kessel Run when it comes doing my podcasts. The debris could come from a trolling listener who always has something to say. I go through the Kessel Run when I am dealing with VHL. A debris could come in the form of a surgery (granted my surgeon at Mayo Clinic sometimes reminds me of Wedge Antilles). I go through the Kessel Run when freelance writing. The debris could be in the form of a reader pointing out that I misquoted someone or said an unsubstantiated fact. The Kessel Run is everyday. It is in all of us.

Now as I write this, I think of WWE Superstar Joe “Roman Reigns” Anoa’i. He definitely had to fly through his Kessel Run and a debris came in the form of Leukemia. When I heard the news that his Leukemia had returned…I felt shocked and sadness. How could this bigger than life wrestler go through such a thing? Well…I don’t know the answer to that question. All I do know is that he is human. And this guy has been through so much debris in his Kessel Run. The fans booed him out of the building despite him being the good guy and going out to the WWE ring with a smile on his face. And he prevailed. But he is not finished with his run yet.

I even think of Alden Ehrenreich when many of the fans trashed him for being in Solo. He had to go through his Kessel Run when he ran into debris in the form of the many fans giving him flak and the rumors said that he needed an acting coach. For what it was worth, he did a damn good job as Han Solo and was his very own Han Solo. Even Harrison Ford said that he should be his own Han Solo. And he did it with a smile on his face and Solo actually was liked by some fans. It was a true Star Wars movie and most certainly better than The Last Jedi.

I could name a couple more examples of many people (real and fictional) who went/are going through the Kessel Runs of their lives: My grandparents, my parents, my siblings, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my nephews, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, Rick Grimes, George Washington, Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruz, Daryl Dixon, Maggie Rhee, Glenn Rhee, Michonne, Joseph Pulitzer, Chris Jericho, Harriet Tubman, John F. Kennedy, Jackie Robinson, Clark “Superman” Kent, Steve “Captain America” Rogers, Bruce “Batman” Wayne, Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon, Barry “The Flash” Allen, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson…I can name many. We all are going through a Kessel Run. Rich or poor. Man or woman. Republican or Democrat. Black, white, yellow, brown, green, red, blue. The Kessel Run does not discriminate. You will go through it just like Han did, I promise you but, it will be fun and worth it as long as you have faith in yourself. And it would be scary but it would be fun.

In conclusion…I just wanted to thank Han Solo (Harrison Ford and Alden Ehrenreich) for helping me make sense of my life. If it wasn’t for Han Solo, I feel like I wouldn’t get some part of my life. In some sense…I feel like Han Solo an influence on my life much like Zorro was to Batman.

Superman made me believe that a man could fly. Batman made me believe that a man could fight through tragedy. Han Solo made me believe that a man can overcome the odds as long as he told the doubters to: “Never tell me the odds!”

My final message to you people: never let anyone tell you the odds, no matter the debris in your life called the Kessel Run.