Han Solo is many things -- but a coward isn't one of them. In Marjorie Liu and Mark Brooks' "Star Wars: Han Solo" #1, a conflicted Han deals with the danger lurking around every planet as well as his feelings for the Princess and scores of other diverse characters. Under the guise of a regular pilot interested in winning the most dangerous race in the galaxy, Han and Chewbacca undertake a top secret mission for the Rebellion in this exciting new adventure.
Liu immediately nails that Han Solo swagger, but she's careful to show us his uneasiness and vulnerability as he turns down job after job. Our hero is very unsure about the opportunities being flung his way, and it's Liu's obvious familiarity with the character that allows readers to buy into this facet of his personality. There are quips aplenty, even a threat or two, with interesting developments that allow readers to easily immerse themselves in the "Star Wars" universe. Her dialogue is paced well and nearly sizzles during Princess Leia and Han's parting scene; their voices are so captured so well that you can almost hear the actors speaking the words.
Liu works in a lot of dialogue between the characters, but Joe Caramagna's tight speech bubble placement keeps the story moving smoothly. There's no shortage of captions either, thanks to Liu's hefty insight into Han's mind, and it's due to the letterer's talented placement that the reader's eye isn't drawn away from the action for too long.
Mark Brooks fills his sprawling backgrounds with tons of interesting aliens, from the familiar Trandoshans and Ithorians to a host of new species. While the art feels heavily inked in some places, it works in settings like the cantina; however, it leaves much to be desired when Han is elsewhere, like his fancy party for verified race pilots. Brooks nails Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher's likenesses, and his fun with their expressions is infectious. Sonia Oback's subdued color palette makes the entire issue feel cinematic, which is perfect for a tale set in space. She knows when to amp up the visuals during the more emotionally charged scenes, and her soft glows for Princess Leia are eye-catching. Altogether, their work complements the narrative in a wonderful way.
While this Han Solo isn't the confident smuggler fans know and love quite yet, that ends up being a good thing for "Star Wars: Han Solo." Liu and company create one hell of an escapade aboard the Millennium Falcon and -- now that the race is getting under way -- it's going to be a wild ride. "Han Solo" explores another fantastic corner of the franchise and will definitely be a worthy addition to fans' pull lists.