TWS: Thinkin’ ‘Bout Ink – Han Solo #5 & Star Wars #25

Marvel Star WarsFirst of all, happy Thanksgiving to those that celebrate it, and happy comic book day (yesterday) to all! This week, we got two highly-anticipated ending issues:  The last of the “Last Flight of the Harbinger,” and the very last of the Han Solo series…I want to say I wasn’t disappointed, but that wouldn’t be entirely true…I was, however, surprised by how some things turned out, so that’s always fun…overall, they were pretty solid issues, though, so let’s forgo all further formalities of introduction and let the titillating comic discussion begin!

Han Solo #5
han-solo-5-coverOkay, for starters, I was way off as far as my predictions for how things were going to end up…but who cares, right? The fun part is coming up with crazy theories and speculation, not being right (though being right is pretty fun too)…anyway, we start out with the Falcon & Co. dodging (and firing upon) the Empire to carry on with the Dragon Void race. Then Han gets the word that their latest Rebel spy has been murdered on his ship while Loo Re Anno directs the racers to follow her…apparently so she can coax a gigantic space jellyfish that exists between the fabric of universes to reveal itself in their plane of existence to run interference for them by attacking the Empire…extremely far-fetched, but also sort of badass, so we’ll just let it slide…moving on, Han finds out the murdered spy was poisoned and quickly points out it had to be Bot (who was the obvious choice, but not how I thought it was going to pan out), who declares himself “not a killer” while simultaneously launching himself toward Han with a syringe of poison literally up his sleeve. Of course that works out poorly for him in the form of Han headbutting him and Chewie picking him up by the ankle with one hand which results in Bot either accidentally or purposefully injecting himself in the neck with the poison. Lucky for him, though, Duros (Duroses…Duri?) are immune to the poison so no harm, no foul. The Falleen “bodyguard” says he must have been somehow brainwashed after being found out, and was probably the one that killed the other informants leading to the need for this whole mission. So, with that cat out of the bag (that would have been such a good pun if it had only been the “Cathar”), it was time to finish the race. On the way to the finish gateway, Han finds out that Loo Re Anno will either win the race or die, prompting me to (correctly) predict that Han will make sure she wins…sure enough, with the gateway in sight, the Empire closing in, and the Falcon speeding past everyone toward victory, Han pulls up and allows Loo Re Anno to win, virtually ensuring he and the other racers are doomed to destruction or capture at the hands at the Empire as the gateway only works for the first pilot to pass through…but, in direct opposition to the “no good deed goes unpunished” theory, Loo Re Anno reemerges from the gateway with a fleet of her people, who had been not eradicated but living in the same far away place “between the seams of time and space” as the gigantic space jellyfish, poised to battle the Empire thus allowing the other racers to escape through the gateway (that somehow works for multiple vessels now even though it’s not supposed to…Loo Re Anno’s people possess some kind of crazy technological magic). Once in the gateway, the ships are surrounded by gigantic space jellyfish and several “witnesses,” which leads Han to say to his that it must be home now, and to let Loo Re Anno know he’s thankful for everything. Upon hearing this, the witness zooms out through the cockpit glass without breaking it…and we never figure out what they are, aside from clearly otherworldly…so, the racers all end up back at the beginning of the race as the winner is supposed to, but, before finding out if he’ll get a portion of the winnings, Han zips off into hyperspace, back toward the Rebellion. Upon arrival, we find out the Falleen had the “master list” all along, and that Han has decided to stay with the Rebellion, at least for a little while, “just in case.” Then, as a final “shot,” so to speak, we see Han and Leia looking in opposite directions as their hands settle next to each other, their pinkies gently touching. Now, if you’ve ever been in a relationship where you both clearly like each other but neither of you want to make the first move, this will speak volumes about the slow progress of Han and Leia’s relationship that seems to come somewhat out of nowhere in Empire Strikes Back. They’re courting each other behind the scenes, building an unspoken foundation of love that can be just as strong as any other method of courtship. That is the best part of the whole book to me…definitely better than the strange multiverse gateway full of gigantic space jellyfish and witnesses…though I am really curious to see if anything comes of this in the future of Star Wars, or if it was just a strange storytelling element solely for this series…I guess, as with all things, time will tell…

Star Wars #25
sw25This book opens right in the thick of things:  SCAR Squadron is trying to shut the stolen Star Destroyer down and capture young Skywalker while the rebels are trying to carry out their mission. Right out of the gate, we find out R2, in classic R2 style, is doing the heavy lifting by keeping the techie archetype SCAR trooper from gaining control of the ship, and 3PO, being 3PO, decides to bail like a coward. Then, in decidedly non-cowardly fashion, Sana drops in one vs. two to kick one of the SCAR troopers into an escape pod and jettison it. She is incredibly badass. She even manages to goad the remaining trooper into lending her a weapon for some melee combat instead of simply shooting her (a feat Mr. Dameron wasn’t able to accomplish in his series, though First Order troopers may be better disciplined than cocky Imperial SpecOps). Next we see Han and Leia taking fire but, in stereotypical stormtrooper fashion, not getting hit even though they’re basically sitting ducks on the bridge with no cover…I guess even SpecOps can’t be bothered with target practice…anyway, then we see our gratuitous shot of Vader who’s inquiring about the progress on apprehending young Skywalker…which would be going well if Luke and Kreel were simply lightsaber combatants, but Luke, though he can’t really control it yet, is quite strong with the Force and manages to push Kreel back with such a vicious Force push that it shudders the entire ship, pinning Kreel under some heavy debris. Once we know Luke has vanquished his foe, we move on to my main fuzzball Chewbacca who makes short work of the buff archetype SCAR trooper by tossing him into something to do with the ship’s power, simultaneously zapping him into submission and getting the reactor back to full power…that’s my Wookiee…then we get back to Sana who’s not backing down because, like I said, she’s a badass. Using her brains in addition to brawn, she lodges her weapon into her adversary’s jetpack so he can’t fly out of the chute she opens to who-knows-where. Unfortunately for Sana, the trooper grabs her arm so she too falls into the chute, but, because he’s also badass, Luke shows up in time to grab Sana and pull her to safety. Off-screen, so to speak, they get the the ion cannons up and running so Leia can order the escape pods full of supplies to finally be sent to the planet…and, of course, who does it? R2-D2, the real star of Star Wars. So, Sana and Chewie get clear of the doomed Star Destroyer on the Falcon, and Luke takes off sans-R2 in his X-wing, all the while C-3PO is still trying to find his way to safety. We then find out the SCAR Squad plans to blow the ship instead of commandeering it, so the troopers shooting up Han and Leia on the bridge back off and Kreel cuts off his own arm to escape. In similar desperate fashion, Han and Leia (Han’s idea) blow a hole in the bridge area and escape through said hole with breath masks on so they don’t die more or less immediately. They have a little moment reminiscent of their pinky touching in Han Solo #5 before they’re picked up by the Falcon. And, because he’s the best, R2 finds his own escape pod and hightails it out of there before the ship gets 86ed. But what happens to 3PO? Well, before we find out, we see Luke with his “must get Vader” blinders on looking for the Dark Lord’s ship but, before he can engage him, he sticks to the matter at hand and escapes into hyperspace, leaving their reunion for a later date. Now thoroughly defeated, Vader proclaims that SCAR Squadron have failed him, leading me to expect him to dispatch all of them, but, lucky for them, they have a trump card:  they captured C-3PO. So what’s going to happen now? Will Vader rendezvous with the SCAR Squad and recognize 3PO? Will we get another Padme flashback? Or maybe even further back to when he built 3PO when he was a slave with his mom? And what of the next issue? The preview shows Yoda with his lightsaber out…what could that mean? While I’m a little disappointed at how things turned out with SCAR Squadron (I thought they’d be more badass than they turned out to be), I’m insanely curious to find out what the next issue holds…

So, thoughts? What do you make of gigantic, inter-dimensional space jellyfish? Cool or lame? How ’bout the ability for an entire species to “disappear” between the layers of space and time? Seems really out of sorts for something in the Star Wars universe, however, it does lend credence to my theory that Mortis doesn’t exist in the known universe…so that’s pretty cool…anyway, what’d you think of the Han Solo series as a whole? Is it required Star Wars reading, utter garbage, or somewhere in the (very large) middle? And what of the Star Destroyer mission in the Star Wars series? Did it live up to the expectations presented in the opening one-off story about the SCAR Squadron, or were you somewhat let down (like I was)? And how ’bout that preview image with Yoda brandishing his lightsaber? What’s that all about? Between bites of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, give the books a thorough second read and let me know what you think in the comments…or I’ll tell all the salivating black Friday shoppers that there’s a special coupon hidden somewhere in your bedroom for 80% off all their favorite retail chains…that’d be a mess you could never clean up…until next time, TWS out.

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