Han Solo learns what it’s like to be a grunt in the Imperial Navy in Han Solo: Imperial Cadet.
Set after the opening events of Solo: A Star Wars Story, but before Han meets up with Becket’s gang, Han Solo: Imperial Cadet focuses on Han’s early days in the Imperial Navy at the Imperial Academy on Carida. All Han wants to do is fly, but first, he has to make it through basic training. A task easier said than done. When he’s caught trying to desert, he’s imprisoned and set to be executed, but a superior officer recognizes Han’s potential as a pilot and gives him another chance.
Problem is, he doesn’t get along well with his fellow cadets, especially Valance who truly believes the Imperial Party Line and that he’s the best. Luckily for Han, Kanina Nico hates Valance more than she hates anyone else. The two form a tentative alliance with brothers (twins?) Tamu and Lyttan. When Valance is shot down and left for dead, Han rallies his newfound allies to rescue his rival against orders, but at what cost?
Han Solo: Imperial Cadet | By Robbie Thompson & Leonard Kirk
In the Navy
As a Han Solo fan, I enjoyed this story probably more than some would. It filled in a gap in his story quite nicely and introduced us to some great new characters I hope we see again. Most importantly though, it showed us how the Imperial Machine grinds up recruits and spits them out when it’s done with them, even those it deems it’s best. Valance is shown to truly believe in the Empire and to be “perfect” officer material in their eyes, but when he’s shot down they show no regard for his life. They don’t care that he might be alive, and when it’s proved he is, they refuse his certain medical treatments.
Han is also shown here to be one of the best pilots the Empire has seen, yet the fact that he thinks for himself and questions orders he feels are wrong is something his superiors have little regard for. They don’t want cadets that think. They want mindless drones that follow orders and do whatever they are told. Han’s compassion for even his rival is seen as a weakness that means he’s not officer material. A strong contrast to the Rebel Alliance. Mon Mothma promotes him for his daring deeds and ability to choose to do the right thing.
Robbie Thompson is the author of the Solo: A Star Wars Story comic adaptation, Imperial Cadet, and Target Vader. Thompson also writes for the Spider-Man Universe for Marvel. He captured Alden’s Han well, including the famous Han Solo smirk.
Leonard Kirk has contributed to the Age of Resistance series drawing for Phasma, Hux, Kylo Ren, and Supreme Leader Snoke. Kirk has also contributed to Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, All-New Wolverine featuring X-23, and Gambit: King of Thieves. He captured Han’s personality well, and I really liked his new characters as they gave the Empire a more humane face.
This mini-series is great for fans of Han Solo and Solo: A Star Wars Story. I’d definitely read more from this author and like to see this artist again.
Star Wars: Han Solo – Imperial Cadet is published by Marvel Comics and is available to buy NOW!
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Melissa Villy is a regular Staff Writer for Future of the Force. She is a passionate Star Wars fan and is the custodian of the FOTF Jedi Archives. Follow her on Twitter @JediLibrarian42 where she uses the force frequently!