Set approximately one year before the events of “The Empire Strikes Back,” this issue features Princess Leia with her personal valet (or that’s how it seems at times) Han Solo on an adventure to try and reconnect with the Rebel Alliance. Leia and Han were on a mission to intercept information about the shipping lanes the Imperials use. Of course, this leads to the pair (and Chewie) being pursued by Imperials to start the issue off and even involves some bounty hunters (surprisingly not after Han!) before all is said and done.
Jeremy Barlow does a good job of making this story feel like a “Star Wars” story, but I wonder how successful that would have been if this tale had to feature Leia and Leia only. At some points, Han seems more than ready to claim the spotlight of this book as his very own, but Leia finds ways back to the forefront. I’ll admit, I was disappointed when the book opened as taking place approximately one year before “Empire” but Ord Mantell was nowhere to be found in between these covers. Perhaps it is best to leave that story as it is, written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by Al Williamson.
Soriano’s art is good, offering a more animated, but not cartoony or faux-manga, take on these fan favorite characters. At times, the characters bear more than a passing resemblance to Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, but Soriano is quick to temper those likenesses with imagery that is more apropos of comic book tales set for an all ages readership. My biggest gripe against Soriano is that his backgrounds – or frequently lack thereof – are extremely sparse. Soriano’s backgrounds, when used, are good. His interior shots of the Millennium Falcon are quite spot-on. More often than not in this story, the backgrounds are flat color fields. Yes, that adds a bit of drama to the action on panel, but it also undermines the lushness of the Star Wars galaxy.
This story is a nice fit for the all ages set. Dark Horse has done a great job of creating a digest-sized series pointed directly at a new fan base. The Solo adventure was good, this one was enjoyable, I can only presume Luke Skywalker will be featured next. As the second book in this series (the first featuring Han and Chewbacca) I’m feeling a new hope for the Star Wars universe.