Han Solo – Imperial Cadet #5

Han Solo – Imperial Cadet #5 (of 5)

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Penciller: Leonard Kirk
Inker: Daniele Orlandini, and Cory Hamscher
Colorist:  Arif Prianto
Letterer: Joe Caramgna
Cover Artist: David Nakayama

Han Solo – Imperial Cadet #5 brings this mini-series to an end and…it’s…okay. It’s a lighthearted story, a bit goofy in places, and the artwork doesn’t always look like Han, yet it still manages to be enjoyable. While the issue ends with a “To Be Continued…?” I can’t say I’d really want anymore.

The issue opens on a planet called Ohulosk where the Empire is battling some aliens to ensure control over a slave species for their precious minerals. They’re about to commence a bombing run to put an end to the revolt, but Han and his squad are out on some speeder bikes to save a fallen comrade before they all get blown to smithereens. The pilot who was shot down doesn’t like Han, and Han doesn’t like him, yet for some reason Han cares enough to put him and the rest of his squad at risk to save the pilot. This leads to lots of close calls and all the action in the issue. Of course they pull it off, but then they run into an enslaved species who fills them in on what’s really going on with this planet and the Empire. One of Han’s team mates gets distressed when they learn about the slavery and mining because someone they love could be in a similar situation. Thankfully Han figures out a way for that person to escape the Empire and return home to the person they love. Han does this despite the fact that he too wants to escape the Empire and be with the one he loves.

Amidst all of this there is a tension with their Imperial commander who has been holding back the bombing run, then leads it himself. He save’s Han and his fellow pilots from another close call, then throws Han in the brig for getting a team mate needlessly killed with his reckless rescue mission. Han doesn’t tell him that the team mate who got killed actually deserted the Empire. The pilot they saved loses some body parts and we learn the Empire won’t pay to have them replaced. We also get a glimpse of the team mate making it home and reuniting with the one they love while Han smiles in his jail cell.

So, the story is okay. It’s not great, it’s not perfect, it’s got its flaws and shortcomings. I’m not much of a fan of how Robbie Thompson writes Han, but I liked his work with the other characters. To be honest, I think this series would have been ten times better if Han wasn’t in it and it was following some new character and their experiences in the Empire as a cadet. The reason for that is having Han in this series doesn’t accomplish anything. Or, perhaps closer to the truth, it doesn’t accomplish things I would have liked to have seen as a reader. The Han in this series is a cartoonish reflection of the Han in the movies. As a Star Wars fan who really enjoyed Solo, I’m not interested in some throwaway misadventures Han had in the Empire where he helped a fellow pilot escape, and saved another from being bombed. These aren’t important characters who show up later, they’re people who don’t resonate with the readers. It’s minimal impact having Han interact with these people in these situations. It’s safe, it’s fun, but the real rewards involve risks and big, significant developments. This series avoided those things.

On it’s own, Imperial Cadet #5 isn’t too bad, but as a series, it’s not required reading and it’s not one I’d recommend. The artwork is good, for the most part, but Han doesn’t always look like Han. Sometimes it’s hard to remember who you’re looking at. The storytelling is okay, but it’s not worth $4 an issue. In the end, I give this one a three out of five metal bikinis, and I give this mini-series a pass. It’s not one I’d ever feel the need to come back to.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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