I am totally excited about Star Wars: The Force Awakens! But I am spoiler free, well except for what Disney wants me to know. So I have made a pact to prepare for the movie by only knowing beforehand what has been officially released under the "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" label. And I was lucky enough to get my first installment from the library, because I generally do not buy Star Wars prose books since they are generally lacking.
Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure by Greg Rucka starts in what we assume is the Force Awakens era. A group of thieves consider how to get their hands on a fast ship and which one they would want. An old man hears this conversation and spins a yarn about the Millenium Falcon literally days after the destruction of the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin. Han Solo is pressed into service by the Rebels to retrieve a reconnaissance soldier from the Outer Rim. Of course it cannot be easy as he is being chased by one of the finest officers in the Imperial Security Bureau. Can Han and Chewy save this key rebel or will he be delivered into the hands of the Empire?
So I started here on my Star Wars: The Force Awakens quest because I am very familiar with Rucka's work in comics. His Gotham Central run is gritty and classic. His creator owned title Lazarus is smart, edgy and great science fiction. And he had shown he could take a superhero into space with Cyclops. But this is a categorized as a children's book by the library. So Rucka's work has death and action, but it lacks our hero or villain diving into an overly excessive dark place. And perhaps needing to be a short book of under 200 pages and having a strong author like Rucka helped it overcome issues I see in other Star Wars books. Rucka is "faster more intense" with quick cuts like Star Wars is meant to be. He does not have a lot of pages to work with so his story moves fast! There is no time of Han or Chewy to contemplate their belly buttons! And so it is fairly engaging despite being for young adults/mature kids. I would have likely loved this in Junior High! But it is all high-action, there is nothing deep here.
This volume promises hints of what is to come in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. For me the biggest non-reveal is that Han and Chewbacca still live into the future. But the trailers have already shown us they are home. I do find it interesting that the story includes a beloved Marvel plot point, can Han pay off Jabba? And I found it interesting that Imperial Center is out and the familiar Coruscant is being used instead. Perhaps the new name given by the expanded universe is out. Finally, and again I do not believe this spoils anything, there are still a few Clones in the Stormtrooper ranks. I would say that I had an enjoyable brisk Star Wars adventure, though perhaps not a strong prequel. Because honestly there are not many big reveals.
Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure by Greg Rucka is a fun and quick read. And honestly, that helps it feel like Star Wars! I definitely would suggest this to any pre-teens who are interested in science fiction and required reading for Star Wars fans preparing for a little film!