In Review: Solo Adaptation #1

This is the best Star Wars adaptation in years! Absolutely recommended.

The covers: Four covers to choose from in this fantastic premiere issue. The Regular cover is from no stranger to Star Wars comics Phil Noto. He delivers yet another epic frontpiece featuring the major players of this series with the Millennium Falcon behind them. These individuals include, from clockwise, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Dryden Vos, L3-37, Lando Calrissian, Enfys Nest, Beckett, Val, and in the center is Qi’ra. Stellar looking. This will obviously be the cover to the collected edition when this series is complete. The first Variant comes from Luke Ross and Nolan Woodard. This features a historic meeting: Han and Chewie on Mimban. Looking down upon the pair are two stromtroopers and Beckett. I’m so pleased to see this moment make a cover and Ross and Woodard do a good job on it. The leads look like they’re ready to tear each other apart, while Beckett and the troopers watch in a faded yellow-orange that draws the reader’s eyes. The next Variant was created by Leonard Kirk and Dave McCaig. This has Solo running at the reader, his blaster out and pointed to the left. Behind him are images of the Falcon, Chewie, Beckett, Val, Qi’ra, Elthree, and Lando. The illustrations are good and the colors are awesome, with Han getting the strongest colors and the others getting yellows and oranges to fade them slightly against the lead. Really nice. The Photo Variant cover is a stunner. I must find a copy of this for myself. This is a photo with Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover in their characters of Han and Lando near the end of the film. Han has his arm across Lando’s shoulders and the pair are smiling as they look to the right. I seriously need to find this. Overall grades: Regular A+, Variant Ross A-, Variant Kirk A, and Photo Variant A+

The story: This is a really good adaptation covering the film from Corellia to the Han’s meeting with Chewie on Mimban. One of the pluses to getting a comic book adaptation is getting some scenes that were cut from the film or were never filmed. This is what the first page delivers as Han accepts a job from Lady Proxima. His dialogue that ends this page is the quinessential Han response. It’s perfect and I wish it was in the film. Han’s escape from this deal gone wrong is shown, as is his meeting with Qi’ra, the passing of something vital to her, his confrontation with Moloch and Proxima, the pair’s escape (with a hilarious line on Page 13 from a Harrison Ford film), and their separation. The final pages deal with Han as an Imperial cadet and the individuals he encounters on Mimban. Having just rewatched Solo in the last few days, I can say that the dialogue and scenes are true to the film. Robbie Thompson does an exceptionally good job adapting the film into comic format. In addition to getting the film onto the pages, he’s able to include several scenes that weren’t in the film, such as why Han was kicked out of the piloting program for the Empire. It’s only three pages, but left me hungry for more from this part of Han’s life and this will be explored in the Han Solo: Imperial Cadet limited series out soon. The book ends on a cliffhanger, but if one has seen the film, and I’m sure everyone who reads this book has, readers will cheer at who is shown. Overall grade: A

The art: I have bemoaned the poor artwork on the Marvel adaptations of the last three Star Wars film adaptations. This issue features Will Sliney’s artwork and it’s like the sun has risen. This book looks great! These visuals are what I would expect from a Star Wars adaptation and a comic published by Marvel. Han’s introduction on Page 1 is outstanding, as he makes a gesture that the future scoundrel is famous for. A turn of the page and Solo is receiving an action that one more closely associates with Indiana Jones (Speaking of whom, Marvel, could you reprint those Marvel issues into a hardcover omnibus and start some new comic adventures of that icon character? Soon? Please?). I like the focus that Han gets in the fifth panel on Page 2 to draw the reader’s eye. The action at the bottom of 4 is funny and cool. I like that the lights sparkle on the couple that begin 5. The reaction by the character in the third panel on 9 is great. The chase that follows is well done, with the speed and violence that occurs strong. The introductory panel that shows the spaceport is loaded with many fine details due to the wide range of characters present. The first four panels on 16 terrifically show a heartfelt separation. Pages 18 – 20, I won’t spoil, but WOW! I want more! Great first panel on 21, and the transition between panels five and six on this page are cool, funny, and frightening. 22 introduces an important character into the series and it’s as strong as this character’s entrance in the film. The lack of dialogue in the final two panels on Page 25 has Sliney communicating much to the reader solely with his artwork. That’s a great fall that starts 29, and the full-paged splash that ends the book is epic. Sliney has renewed my faith in Star Wars adaptations. Overall grade: A

The colors: Federico Blee completes Sliney’s work wonderfully. The first three panels on the opening page are in blues and full of shadows. Han’s first panel has some great shadow work done on him, but his face is free of these, instead in complete colors. Having him colored so and backlit by an explosion of blue on black has the character pop out to the reader. The first sounds are bright red, like the blaster fire that follows him. The entrance into Proxima’s house are deliciously dirty in bronze and tan. Proxima is in shaded blues, until a dramatic action causes her true colors to be revealed. It’s just as cool as it was in the film. The shaded tones in the spaceport also echo the film, with Han’s face becoming the focus every time he’s shown. Page 18 has the most beautifully colored scenes of the book with blues and violets stunning. The reds used for the utterance from the character that closes the issue are fantastic. Blee is a great colorist. Overall grade: A

The letters: The dialogue and scene settings are in the usual fonts of other Star Wars books which have disappointed me since their beginnings, so I won’t belabor how much they continue to disappoint. However, VC’s Joe Caramagna gets to include something that most Star Wars comics don’t have — sounds! There are a spectacular number of sounds in this book that are fantastic and really increase the tension and the reality of each situation. There are punches, speeder engines, collisions, explosions, blaster fire (HOORAY!), and a famous species’ utterances. This book is proof positive that sounds make a book more enjoyable and that Caramagna can make them spectacular. I really hope that in future books, beyond Solo, letterers can be allowed to include the Academy Award winning sounds of this franchise. Overall grade: B

The final line: This is a must-own adaptation that faithfully follows the film and includes scenes not shown. I loved the story and fell in love the visuals. This is the best Star Wars adaptation in years! Absolutely recommended. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Solo-A-Star-Wars-Story-Adaptation-2018-2019-1-of-7/digital-comic/49501?r=1

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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