Star Wars Han Solo 5 NM Wada Variant Cover Marvel 1:25 Marjorie Liu Mark Brooks


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Star Wars: Han Solo #5 Kevin Wada Variant

#5 (of five). Marvel Jan 2016. 1st Print.
1:25 Variant Cover by Kevin Wada.

(W) Marjorie M. Liu
(A) Mark Brooks
(CA) Kevin Wada

This is it – the dramatic conclusion to the Dragon Void race!
Will Han take the trophy? Or be left with the space junk?
Our favorite scoundrel’s first miniseries comes to a photo finish!

The final leg of the Dragon Void Run commences in Han Solo #5. In the previous issue, the racers emerged from hyperspace to find the Empire waiting for them. However, all is not lost. The ancient Loo Re Anno instructs her fellow-racers to act swiftly. With that she opens a rift between space and time. A gigantic space-jellyfish emerges from the rift and destroys the pursuing TIE fighters. With the Empire temporarily stalled, the race resumes in the final issue of Han Solo.

The gigantic space creature was a surprise. For certain, this creature had not been hinted at in previous issues of this series. In addition, Loo Re Anno hadn’t hinted that such a power was possible. Therefore, the emergence of this creature seems convenient. On the other hand, this ability to open the seams of time and space arises later in this issue.

At the end of issue four, a traitor aboard the Millennium Falcon murdered the last Rebel spy to board. The identity of the traitor remained a mystery at the conclusion of that issue. Before Loo Re Anno releases the space monster on the Imperials, Dorae, the tiger like alien spy, informs Han that the Elomin had been murdered. After the escape from the Imperials, Han addresses this situation. He takes great offense. For one, the Falcon is his home. Someone committed a murder in his home.

However, Han quickly figures out who the murderer is. Unfortunately, the resolution to the mystery is unsatisfying. First, he knew it wasn’t himself or Chewbacca. Next, he states he knew Dorae and U’il, the Falleen, didn’t do it. That leaves Bot, the Duros spy onboard. In other words, there were five people on board. He knew that himself and three others didn’t do it. Therefore, one person remained. Mystery solved. No clues. No tricks. And no deductive reasoning.

This subplot wrapped itself up in a tidy package. It was largely unnecessary. The death of the one spy has no real impact. The spies were the McGuffin for this adventure. In the first issue, Leia recruited, or tricked, Han into taking this rescue before they were all killed. A traitor was unnecessary. It turns out Bot was brainwashed by the Empire. Otherwise, he didn’t have a motive. Bot poisoned the spies he came across, but Chewbacca prevented him from killing Han or anyone else on the Falcon.

The Dragon Void run takes its name from a region space. It so happens this region of space is the final leg of the race. Dorae explains that in the void, ships consume fuel faster and hyperspace is impossible. The only way out is an ancient gate at the end. Whoever reaches it first will fly through a wormhole back to the beginning of the race. The losers must wait for someone to retrieve them. The race announcers explain that the origin of the gate is unknown.

At this stage of the race, there are four competitors left: Han Solo, Loo Re Anno, the Pantoran, and the Twi’leks. All but Han are professional racers. With the primary strike force of the Imperials behind them, the racers move into position to race for the gate. Han contacts Loo Re Anno one last time. He asks her what she intends to do after the race. Loo Re Anno responds that she has only one choice. That choice is to race. She waited too long to embrace her people’s notions of community. Now she is alone. Her people are “gone” from the galaxy. Therefore, she will win this race or she will die.

Han also has a choice to make. Through this entire series, he has struggled with his motivations and desires. He always insists that he is a smuggler and a “nobody.” He acknowledges that Chewbacca is more noble than him and that is why the Wookiee wants to serve the Rebellion.

If Han can get to the gate first, the Millennium Falcon will make it back to the start and he will be able to deliver the surviving Rebel spies and their contact information to Princess Leia. To everyone’s surprise, and especially the Pantoran’s, he pilots his “hunk of junk” right past all the racers. The race is his to win. Then the Empire catches up. The Imperial ships open fire and damage Loo Re Anno’s racer. She begins to fall behind. At the last moment, with victory in his sights, Han veers away from the gate allowing Loo Re Anno to cross the gate first.

With Loo Re Anno having crossed the gate first, Han and the others were stranded in the Dragon Void. U’il despaired and asked that Han take his blaster and shoot all of them. She feared Imperial captivity and torture. However, all was not lost. As the Imperials closed in, the gate opened. Loo Re Anno and her people emerged to drive off the Imperial force and permit Han and the other racers to pass through the gate. Then Loo Re Anno and her entire species vanished. While the race announcers contemplated whether all the remaining racers were the winners, Han took the opportunity to engage hyperspace and return to the Rebellion.

Upon arriving at the Rebel base, Han begins to admit the truth to himself. While U’il delivers the master list of spies to Leia, Han recites to himself, in thought box form, the reality of his existence. He says that “you create rules; you manufacture walls; and you live a small life.” Han then explains that he lies to himself that he is as “free as the stars,” and the reason for all of this is “survival.” However, in the end survival maybe about telling yourself lies until you can’t lie anymore in the face of what is worth living for. In this case, the implication is what is worth living for is Princess Leia and her cause.

After making these admissions to himself, Leia confronts Han about his choices. She reprimands him for jeopardizing the mission for the race, but admits that in the end, she knew she could trust him. In typical Han Solo fashion, he banters with her. He tells her not to get used to it, and he won’t be around forever. However, he tells Leia that the Rebellion won’t last long without him; and therefore, he’ll stick around a little longer. The final panel features their hands just touching. It is a sweet, and sentimental, conclusion to the series.

Marjorie Liu and Mark Brooks managed to pull these final panels off without resorting to the typical Han and Leia arguing shot. Of course, this is the shot in which Han looms over Leia while the two bicker. Granted, this was a cause for celebration, but that panel has become a go to device in Marvel’s comics.

Han Solo #5 brings the series to a close. Of all this miniseries that Marvel has released in the Star Wars galaxy to date, this is one of the best. Liu cut right to the heart of Han’s character. He is a conflicted man, and he is torn between his desire for independence and doing what is right. This series expertly navigated that dichotomy. Brooks’s art perfectly complements the story. His depictions of Han, Chewbacca, and Leia are among the best of the Marvel artists.

Near mint, 1st print. Bagged & Boarded.