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Solo: A Star Wars Story #1 Review

by Kaasen Koy on October 10, 2018

Writer: Robbie Thompson

Artist: Will Sliney

Colorist: Federico Blee

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Publisher: Marvel

 

The first installment in Marvel’s comic adaptation of Solo: A Star Wars Story delivers a functional retelling of the film’s events with barely enough additional material to maintain interest.


Solo #1 introduces us to a young Han Solo and his girlfriend Qi’ra as they escape the slums of a shipbuilding planet called Corellia. It manages to pack the majority of the film’s script into its thirty-odd pages (even including the occasional embellishment) and the last panel takes place only 20 minutes into the film version’s runtime. With only four more issues to come in this miniseries, that’s a sluggish pace that can’t be maintained.
 

Because of the amount of movie-script crammed into Solo #1, it is a very faithful recreation of the movie and if it is supposed to serve as an alternative to watching the big-screen version, it nearly succeeds. Unfortunately, the literal “stick to the script” nature of this issue cuts a few pieces of connective tissue where it could have cut fat; an early escape relies almost entirely on your having viewed the film to explain how exactly the villain was incapacitated.
 

For Star Wars fans looking for a little more than a retelling of a film they saw in theaters months ago, there is little to see. But what there is certainly has potential. Standing almost as an advertisement for the upcoming Han Solo - Imperial Cadet miniseries, there are a few pages of Han’s time in the Imperial Academy that reach beyond the film, and thankfully expand on those events instead of just tracing over them.
 

It’s in the handful of panels that exist outside the film that the artists are having the most fun. For a few pages, the dark of space comes alive in galactic hues of purple and electric blue while Han trains as a pilot for the Empire. But before long, its back to the murky browns of slummy streets or muddy battlefields. In these sequences, the art and coloring are fairly utilitarian (much like the writing), existing almost as a simple translation of the film’s script and frames into speech balloons and panels.
 

The art can be inconsistent - particularly the faces - where Qi’ra always looks exactly like Emilia Clarke but Han sometimes looks more like Harrison Ford, sometimes more like Alden Ehrenreich, sometimes like both… and sometimes like neither. Occasionally, the art style breaks free from the constraints of adapting two visual media, but it happens so rarely that it’s more jarring than anything else: Han and Qi’ra kiss and for a panel and it looks like a Bon Jovi concert - fog machine and all. A single line of dialogue features what appears to be an exploding blue galaxy as a backdrop for Han’s torso and then neither this effect, nor anything like it ever appears again.
 

Solo: A Star Wars Story #1 manages to be the most successful first issue of the recent Star Wars comic adaptations and succeeds almost entirely in bringing the film to life in a different medium. It just doesn’t have anything new to offer fans several months after the film’s release in theaters. But if it turns out that Solo #1 really is a paint-by-number adaptation wrapped around a one-page advertisement for the upcoming Imperial Cadet series… at least you can color me intrigued.

Our Score:

5/10

A Look Inside