In Review: Solo Adaptation #4

A worthy addition to any Star Wars fan's collection.

The covers: Two to find like they’re Coaxium. The Regular cover by Phil Noto has a gorgeous image of Qi’ra and Han looking into each other’s eyes. Beneath them are full figures of Beckett, Qi’ra, Chewie, Han, Lando, and Elthree looking ready for action. Behind everything is the Falcon being pursued by two TIE Fighters against a dark blue background that features a lightning bolt. This is beautiful and is of the high standards one expects to see in Noto’s work. The Variant cover by Yasmine Putri has a large bust shot of a happy Han with his gun ready, held high. Below him is a smaller, yet more complete, image of Lando leaning back to take a shot with his pistol toward the right. The background is composed of a mechanical surrounding, but where it is specifically I don’t know. I like that the bottom image has this background disappearing, leaving only white, which allows the figures to stand out. Great colors on this with the browns and yellows popping. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant A

The story: Robbie Thompson’s adaptation begins with the Falcon making its journey to Kessel. This allows the crew and company to relax, giving the reader more opportunities to learn who they are. Beckett and Chewie are playing three dimensional chess, with Beckett taking a moment to give Solo a lesson that will be important later. Moving through the ship, Han finds Qi’ra and the pair share a kiss before being interrupted by Tobias, who gives the new smuggler some more advice, “Trust no one. Assume everyone will betray you and you’ll never be disappointed.” Again, this advice will be important in a future issue. There’s even a moment between Eltree and Qi’ra. Once on Kessel the group goes into their plan, Han and Chewie will infiltrate the lower levels to get the Coaxium, while Qi’ra and Eltree deal with the director of the facilities. This plan has several complications, ending with one of the crew’s passing. This issue is the first straightforward adaptation of the film with no changes or additions to it. This was mildly disappointing, but this is the one point in the comic book retelling that doesn’t allow itself to have things added, as the story is full of plenty of action and has the heroes acquiring what they need. I like the action, the character moments, and the drama. The issue ends on a perfect cliffhanger. A solid story. Overall grade: A

The art: Will Sliney continues to amaze with the best artwork of any Star Wars adaptation in four years. The opening panel is the Falcon in space, but the second panel reconfirms whom this book is about with a great panel of Han walking forward. For a droid without a humanoid face, Elthree communicates wonderfully for the reader with her posture and simple tilts of her head, which is exactly how she communicated to viewers in the film. However here the character does not get intonations or movements from Phoebe Waller-Bridge; Sliney has to do it all on his own. The look between the droid and Lando on Page 2 is excellent. The anger on Chewie’s face on 4 is good and look at the interiors of the Falcon — they’re terrific. The kiss between Qi-ra and Han is great: it’s sweet, it’s tender, and it sells their relationship completely. The conversation on 6 between Qi’ra and Elthree is excellent, with a lot of dialogue needing to be given, but Sliney setting up his panels so that all the text can fit. Page 7 is an excellent arrival on Kessel with Qi’ra extremely striking. The focus at the bottom of the page is perfect, as is the first panel that starts 8. Chewbacca is so awesome at the bottom of 11 and so is Lando at the bottom of 13. Pages 15 and 16 have several long panels that cross from one page to the other and they make the action look immense. This is the big action sequence on Kessel and Sliney captures it well. When one character is hit it’s dramatic and I love Lando’s reaction to this fall. Qi’ra’s yell at the bottom of 17 resounds off the page. The third panel on 18 has the moment that Star Wars‘ fans were waiting for and I love that Slieny inserts three small panels to show that Han knows exactly what he’s doing. The passing on 19 is as emotional as it was in the movie. The final panel of the book is the perfect image for a cliffhanger. Overall grade: A

The colors: The first two pages have cool colors to show the Falcon is in space, with Lando being the standout character due to his iconic yellow shirt. The hyperspace scenes use white and blues superbly. Andres Mossa increases the color palette when Beckett and Chewie enter the issue, with each having their familiar colors. On Kessel the exteriors have a lot of oranges and yellows to show it’s mineral rich. In the mines the colors go very yellow and brown, which is suitable, though elements of the panels tend to blend together, taking a moment for the reader to make out what’s in there. The sounds have some excellent colors throughout, with the blaster fire being strong reds. Overall grade: B+

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna creates the dialogue, droid speech, sounds, Wookiee speech, alien speech, whispered dialogue, and the three word tease for next issue. There’s a lot of dialogue on several pages — no, seriously, a lot. It’s impressive to see that Caramagna can insert it without stepping on the art. The droid speech comes in two varieties in this outing: Elthree’s italicized speech and the BEEPs and BOOPs of non-humanoid droids. They book look great. Chewie’s roars aren’t working for me with their wavy letters and why some parts of his speech, and other Wookiees’, extends from the front, the middle, and the end, making no sense audibly or visually. The sounds are great throughout, with plenty of blaster fire used. Overall grade: B

The final line: No new material in this issue, but a terrific retelling of the film. There’s major action on Kessel, a romantic scene, cautionary advice, and the loss of a cast member. This would be a worthy addition to any Star Wars fan’s collection. Overall grade: A- 

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Solo-A-Star-Wars-Story-Adaptation-2018-2019-4-of-7/digital-comic/50380?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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