The penultimate issue of Han Solo: Imperial Cadet has arrived, and we’re getting ever closer to the impending court martial of the young Imperial pilot. His impressive skill as a pilot may be the only thing keeping him enlisted in the flight academy on Carida, but if the end of this issue is any indication, even that may not be enough once his latest act of insubordination comes to light.
At the close of the previous issue, the team was told that their days of simple training exercises had come and gone. Now, their skills would be truly tested through actual combat. The beginning of issue #4 finds Solo and his fellow cadets readying their fighters for battle. Solo’s rival, Valance, expresses his concern about flying with Han and his commanding officer has a word with him before the mission.
Yurib tells Han that he used to be just like him as a cadet, spending more time in the brig than in a cockpit. He encourages Han to overcome his life of chaos by embracing Imperial order. The only way he would ever amount to anything in the Empire is if he finally learns to follow the orders he is given. After their little chat, Han speaks with Kanina and the Dree brothers, and Kanina expresses her concern that Han would carry out his plan to jump ship at the earliest opportunity.
Han’s tampering with his fighter’s dampeners to give him more speed made him even more suspect, and Kanina reminded him that they all had people back home that they’d like to get back to in one piece. The question of whether or not Han was actually planning to get out ahead of Imperial sensors and make his break during the mission would never be answered though. In the end, Han decided to pour himself fully into the mission, truly following orders for perhaps the first time since his arrival at the academy.
The mission was a success, but before it was done, Valance was shot down in the frenzy. The fighters were called back to base to prepare for the next wave, despite Han’s strong objection to leaving his fellow cadet behind. Upon their return to base, Yurib gives Han strict orders to not go anywhere near a TIE fighter, knowing that the young cadet would be tempted to go after Valance. Unfortunately though, Han paid very close attention to Yurib’s orders, especially noticing that he didn’t explicitly tell him to not use a speeder.
Inspired by Han’s loyalty to their teammate, the rest of the team decides to grab a speeder of their own and join him on the rescue mission. Han’s actions are noble to be sure, but I have to think that when all is said and done, the Empire won’t quite see it the same way.
Han Solo’s rebel spirit continues to challenge the status quo, taking him further down the path to the man he will one day become. Years of working as a smuggler for the vilest gangster in the galaxy may have made him cynical by the time he met up with an old Jedi Knight and his bumbling squire in Chalmun’s Cantina on Tatooine, but Han was always a hero and a rebel at heart. This aspect of his character continues to be brought to light with every new comic or book set in the years leading up to his life as a smuggler, and writer Robbie Thompson has done a great job showcasing this side of Solo.
I have enjoyed this series so far, and even though it’s not one of the most provocative or captivating tales in the ever-expanding library of Star Wars lore, it’s a fun read, and each issue continues to be just as engaging and entertaining as the one before. I’m excited to see how the story ends next month, and in the end, I think this will have been a worthy chapter in the life of Han Solo.
Star Wars: Han Solo: Imperial Cadet #4 is available now in a comic shop near you or online at Comixology. Until next time, happy reading comic fans!