In Review: Solo Adaptation #2

Another exceptional installment of this fun film.

The covers: A pair of dueling covers to add to your collection. The Regular cover is by incredible artist Phil Noto and features the battle on Vandor between Han and Enfys Nest. The antagonist’s back is to the reader, but her blade that’s lighting up with deadly blue energy can easily be seen. Han and Chewie don’t look thrilled at fighting the villain as they speed along on the cargo train. Great cover with the snow creating a solid sense of motion. The Variant by Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Aburtov has Han in the foreground, one hand on his pistol and the other on his hip. Chewbacca is behind him holding a massive gun over his shoulders. To the scoundrel’s right is Beckett, leaning on his protégé. To Solo’s left is Val, hands in pocket and walking away from the group, not happy she has to pose for a picture. Behind all is a gorgeous image of the Millennium Falcon flying upwards against an orange background. This is beautiful and would make a great cover for the collected edition of this series. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A+

The story: Robbie Thompson’s adaptation opens on Mimban with Chewbacca’s historic first meeting with Han Solo not going well for the human. Luckily, Han speaks enough Wookiee to communicate with the hairball and they work together to escape their prison. The pair run to the landing pads just in time to see Beckett and his crew leaving in a stolen ship. Upon seeing the twosome, pilot Rio says, “I’ll say it. I don’t care. This kid’s growing on me. Ya know, we could use some muscle on a job like this, Beckett.” This cause the leader of the gang to weigh his options and the ship lands to pick up the pair. Once on board, there’s a neat page of new dialogue between Rio and Han that says much about the former Imperial cadet’s knowledge. The story then follows what occurred in the film on Vandor: the attempted stealing of the coaxium, the attack by Enfys Nest’s gang, it’s terrible conclusion, and Beckett, Han, and Chewie going to talk with Dryden Vox. The final page has the title character encountering someone he thought he would see on another world. I loved this part of the film and I loved that Thompson faithfully followed the story, with the quick inclusion of the new scene between Rio and Han. Overall grade: A 

The art: I am still finding myself really impressed with the work of artist Will Sliney. Not only has Sliney captured the look of the characters, he does so without making his illustrations look as if they were copied from stills. The opening three pages of Han and Chewbacca’s fight looks great, with a lot of action between the characters, and Sliney includes the stormtroopers as they comment on the fighters. The progression of action in the first four panels on Page 3 is great, and it’s funny. Beckett’s reactions on 4 are great as he’s initially shocked at seeing the heroes and then silently considers what to do with them. The last panel on 5 is silent, save one tiny sound, and the visual perfectly communicates to the reader a solid joke. The opening panel on 6 also is a good visual laugh. Pages 10 and 11 are outstanding action sequences composed of two partial double-paged splashes, showing how long the vehicle is and how far away the Range Troopers are. Between each of these long panels are a series of smaller panels showing close-up actions and reveals. It’s an incredibly active sequence and captures the speed of the film sequence. Enfys Nest has a great reveal on 12 that does the character justice. There’s a leap on 13 that shows more fear from a character than was shown in the film and it is much more believable. 14 features a dramatic death, followed by an explosive one on 15. I like that the Beckett’s goggles reflect the explosion occurring before him — very cool. 18 has the only image of the issue I take a nitpicker’s issue with: Han and Beckett are not the same height or build, even when wearing their bulky coats. Dryden’s yacht doesn’t have much time devoted to it, but Sliney captures the feel of the film well, with the gangster having a good introduction. And speaking of introductions — WOW! — the final panel that ends the issue features a gorgeous intro. Sliney, where have you been for all the other Star Wars adaptations? Overall grade: A

The colors: Mimban was shown in the film as an overcast world where not much could be seen due to so many gray clouds. This overcast feel is captured by the colors perfectly, but I will say that when Han and Chewie are being picked up Beckett and his crew I was really happy that colorist Federico Blee made the moment a little brighter, allowing the leads to be better seen and reflect the dawn of a new day for the pair. I like the use of reds on Page 7 to show the reader how the macrobinoculars view the setting. The oranges and yellows on the next to pages capture the fire excellently. The bright colors for a character on 14 draw the reader’s eyes to increase the drama. The color that dominates Dryden’s yacht is gold, which instantly tells the reader this man has money. Sounds throughout this issue are brightly colored to make each explosion or blast big. Overall grade: A

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna creates the issue’s text which includes scene settings, Wookiee speech, dialogue, sounds, whispered and weakened dialogue, an editorial note and transmissions (the same font), and yells. I’m glad that the scene settings now have the mirror image under them colored black to have them stand out more on the page, but the dialogue of this book (and all Star Wars comics) continues to be just too darned thin to create any power. The sounds are outstanding on this issue and I’m glad that Caramagna gets to create them. However, what’s up with the change in Wookiee speech? The letters now are wavy, giving each of Chewie’s utterances a water logged feel. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: Another exceptional installment of this fun film. The story follows the movie, but includes a new scene that expands the characters. The visuals are the best of any of Marvel’s Star Wars adaptations. This is a comic book that should be in every fan’s collection. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Solo-A-Star-Wars-Story-Adaptation-2018-2019-2-of-7/digital-comic/49782?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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