Solo: A Star Wars Story lands in a weird place in the Star Wars legacy. It isn’t nearly as divisive as The Last Jedi or as generally crowd pleasing as The Empire Strikes Back. Solo is the first Star Wars movie to just slip under the radar which is a shame, because Solo is a great movie. It has its flaws, but so does every Star Wars movie. I was honestly surprised to see Star Wars: Solo the graphic novel adaptation pop up. I assumed the movie would be all but forgotten after its less-than-stellar box office debut.
Star Wars: Solo the graphic novel adaptation is, as the name implies, a straightforward retelling of the film. Adaptations have a tendency to be hit or miss, but Star Wars has a pretty good track record. (Pretty much every adaptation of Revenge of the Sith is better than the film.) The story follows a young Han Solo on his rise to infamy, explaining how he became a smuggler, met his co-pilot Chewbacca, and obtained his signature ship, the Millennium Falcon.
The graphic novel stays nearly identical to the plot of the film, only altering a few lines here and there to move things along in a comic format. This does lead to the biggest advantage and disadvantage of the graphic novel: its pacing. Probably the worst moments in the film are when the story screeches to a halt to make nods to Han Solo’s famous moments and lines from other films. The comic cuts most of these and the few it keeps are usually background elements.
Despite this, the graphic novel sometimes manages to be too fast paced. Scenes move at breakneck speed, jumping in and out of scenes with little transition. This ends up cutting a lot of the charming banter and reducing the relevance of certain characters. L337 and Lando suffer from this the most. The end result is a much tighter story but also one with a lot less character.
The visuals, by contrast, are solid. Star Wars, especially in the Disney era, has used this more cartoonish style for a lot of their comics, and I personally like it a lot. It feels reminiscent of Rebels and The Clone Wars and has this polished look to it. Han and Lando look particularly great with the artist perfectly capturing their little smirks and asides. The only character who feels a bit off is Qi’ra, Han’s love interest. She’s supposed to be cunning and mysterious but is drawn with big doe eyes even at her most sinister. That’s more of a nitpick than anything, but it did bug me in a few scenes.
Ultimately, this comic isn’t going to be for everyone. If you didn’t like Solo, there isn’t much here to change your mind. I do wish the pacing was just a little slower, so we could’ve gotten some more character moments, but I understand why they made the cuts that they did. It’s also worth noting that the book dodges some of the violent scenes in the movie, making it a good alternative if you have kids a little too young to see the film proper. This graphic novel doesn’t quite replace the movie in my heart, but it certainly has a place alongside it.
Creative Team: Alessandro Ferrari (Manuscript Adaptation), Matteo Piana (Artist), Davide Turotti (Colorist)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
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