The second, and sadly final, issue of Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run picks up where the last one left off, with Han Solo and Chewbacca trying to extract a rebel officer from the planet Cyrkon before he falls into the hands of Imperial forces.
The issue begins with the bounty hunters after Han for Jabba the Hutt torturing his allies Delia and Curtis, trying to get information on where the smuggler’s might have gone off to. Meanwhile, Han and Chewie have managed to locate Lieutenant Ematt. Unfortunately, before they’re able to get out of his hotel the bounty hunters have caught up to them. This begins a chase that never really lets up, and leads to a good portion of the book being Han, Chewie, and Ematt running from bounty hunters, before then having to run from the Empire.
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However, these scenes still manage to be engaging and full of character development for Han, despite him being in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon for most of it. There’s a moment where Han is able to get away, to complete his mission and escape the Empire, but he sticks around to help out Delia, despite her having given up information on him earlier in the issue. He puts his life on the line to do the right thing, something I’m not even sure he would have done before the events of A New Hope. I think this is one of the things that this comic shows well, a Han Solo who’s still closer to his scoundrel ways, but beginning to learn to do the right thing instead of the easy thing.
We also get some good insight into the way the minds of the Imperial officers work when Han sends the Falcon back into the atmosphere, and the only way for the Empire to catch him would to be to cause thousands, perhaps millions, of deaths in the city below. Rather than seeing the Empire doing the right thing, putting the lives of the civilians before their mission to capture a lone rebel spy, they back down because they’re afraid if they kill civilians it could galvanise support for the rebellion, and even turn survivors into rebels themselves. They’ve been killing their own pilots to get the Falcon, but it’s the fear of a bigger insurrection that’s what drives them back.
This really shows how the minds of the Empire work, and how they’re very often motivated by fear over any sense of right or wrong. They’re driven by fear of the recriminations and punishments from their commanders, or from figures like the Emperor and Vader, and they’re driven by fear of having to fight an even bigger rebellion. The Star Wars stories have made it clear on numerous occasions that the rebellion is driven by hope, but I think this book also make it clear that it’s fear that does the same for the Empire, and is ultimately why it was doomed to failure. The book might not add a huge amount to the narrative of the Star Wars saga, but it does make for an interesting analysis of the Empire.
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As with the first issue the book has some excellent artwork provide by Ingo Romling, and the action sequences are given a lot of energy and life, especially the space scenes. Moments that could have been boring, seeing Han and Chewie sitting inside the Falcon, are given a lot of flare and energy thanks to the way Romling draws these scenes. He also makes Chewbacca look great in every panel, particularly when they’re dealing with the bounty hunters, and they draw the character with a lot of expression in both his face and his fur that adds energy to the action moments.
Overall this proves to be a good conclusion to the Smuggler’s Run story, and a pretty decent adaptation of the book. With the writer, Alec Worley, having previously adapted another of the novellas released as part of the build up to The Force Awakens I’m hoping that this won’t be the last time they get the chance to do this, and we’ll see more book adaptations in the future.
Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run #2 is out now from IDW Publishing.