This week Dark Horse kicked off a new Star Wars mini-series written by Matt Kindt. Set during the time of the original trilogy, Kindt’s story opens with Jan, a young man making his way through Corellia. He has recently completed his Rebel training, and is on his first official mission. Jan’s voice, which narrates the issue, is immediately engaging. Jan reveals somewhat mixed motives for wanting to join the Alliance. He does not claim allegiance to any noble ideology, as much as a desire to avoid becoming part of “the faceless hordes.” In short, he would like a bit of adventure in his life. And if he loses said life? Well, “worse ways to go out, I guess.”
Which is exactly how things almost turn out. Once reaching his rendezvous point, his cover is immediately blown. He is only spared by the timely arrival of his contact: Han Solo. It is here where Kindt uncovers his conceit for the series: instead of telling yet another tale of Han Solo, Kindt explores how Han would have appeared to a low level Rebel operative. We first see him, smoking blaster in hand, full of cocky charm. From this initial entrance, it is easy to hear Harrison Ford’s voice speaking Kindt’s dialogue. Jan considers himself in the presence of a master fighter, as well as stratisgt, someone who can think as quickly (if not more quickly) than he can punch. There would be no viable Rebellion without him. He is a legend.
He is also somewhat frustrating. The more time Jan spends with Han, the more he begins to be troubled by doubts. Han’s actions seemingly grow more reckless, less tactical than simply rash. Perhaps his continued survival was more a matter of dumb luck than skill? Surely we have all known someone like this in our lives? The person whose roguish spirit is amusing from a distance, only the closer we get to it, the more infuriating, or downright selfish, they actually are. Jan begins to wonder if Han really gives a damn about the Alliance, instead keeping with them for the sheer thrill of the ride.
Which, of course, is more or less why Jan is there as well.
In addition to this strong character work, Kindt is laying the foundations of a mystery, leaving the reader wondering just what it is that Han has in mind. The title suggests a type of inside strike, which would explain some of the choices Hans makes. But the others? By the last page, I was left wondering if this is truly where he expected to wind up, or if he has somehow overplayed his hand? As for Jan, the circumstances in which he is narrating this story are not the most pleasant.
Rebel Heist is off to a great start; I look forward next issue to seeing where Leia fits in Kindt’s puzzle.