In only a few short months, Dark Horse will no longer be the publisher for any new Star Wars material since with the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney, all rights to the property have been shifted to the Mouse and the executives there are going to publish all new material through their own comics division, Marvel Comics. But, Dark Horse intends to go out on a bang. And part of that process is some new mini-series that the publisher is putting out, as well as wrapping up lots of others.
Rebel Heist is one of these new mini-series from Dark Horse, and it features a new Rebel recruit (the comic is set some time after the events of the original Star Wars) and Han Solo as they try to evade an Imperial trap, with some interesting results. It is certainly an interesting story but the narrative framework didn’t quite work for me, and Matt Kindt’s dialogue here wasn’t always on the ball either. The same could be said for Marco Castiello’s artwork as well, which was rough in some places and with inconsistencies.
The story here is told from the point of view of the new Rebel recruit Jan who is thrust head-first into his first mission without any kind of training or knowledge of what his mission is going to entail. That his mission is going to be expedited by the presence of the great Han Solo himself, the man who took on Darth Vader in a one-on-one duel and survived, is icing on the cake for Jan, but it also makes him helluva nervous as well since he can’t quite think how to respond to Han’s presence. And that is where some of the problems of the issue make themselves evident. Jan is an extremely verbose narrator and he often devolves into almost-fawning admiration for Han Solo. The best example of this is when the two of them board a ship which Jan thinks is the vaunted Millennium Falcon, and turns out to be anything but. The verbosity of the narration really gets to be too much at times, and I found myself skipping through some of the text boxes, to read only the important bits.
Additionally, Han is shown to be far too lucky here. He gambles on long odds constantly and he always wins through in the most spectacular of ways. In this, Jan acts as a reader’s surrogate for the shock and surprise of how things turn out. What it all boils down to is that Han is showed as too competent and that takes away from things. Han isn’t a perfect character and neither is he supremely over-confident in his skills and abilities, though he gives an otherwise impression. So it is hard to take things seriously.
However, what I really liked about this comic was that we got to see the seedier sides of Corellia here. It isn’t something that has been touched on in the comics or the novels before, not to any great degree, so that was quite a novel experience. We basically slum around with Jan and Han in the underbellies of the latter’s homeworld and have a shootout with Imperial agents, whether Stormtroopers or spies, and so on. Plus, as critical as I am of Han’s characterisation, I will admit that at the same time it was all quite thrilling. With Han, you know that things are going to work out. As Jan discovers, the great hero of the Republic does have a certain charisma and magnetism about him that really draws you in.
That’s worth a few shootouts with Imperial agents, I think, or getting captured even.
Marco Castiello does the pencils here, with inks by Dan Parsons and colours by Gabe Eltaeb and letters by Michael Heisler. The cover itself is by Adam Hughes. While I generally liked Castiell’s pencils, often there was inconsistency in that the expressions didn’t match up or the faces were drawn differently. With all the alien species on display, he was pretty fantastic, but with the protagonists of the story, his work was less impressive. Parsons’ inks and Eltaeb’s colours however were top-notch, and they made the artwork better by a significant measure.
A decent enough start to a new mini-series in the classic era, but could definitely have been better.