With the sunset of Dark Horse's work on the Star Wars brand in sight, Matt Kindt joins the Rebellion in "Star Wars; Rebel Heist" #1. The first of a four-part story set shortly after the Battle of Yavin, this issue details the journey of a recruit set to join the Rebel Alliance.
Adam Hughes' cover depicting Han without Chewbacca gave me pause, but this is a Han Solo story and Chewie isn't in it, so it all evens out. As for the story itself, Matt Kindt writes "Star Wars: Rebel Heist" #1 from the recruit's point of view. The Rebel recruit, who is only given the first name of Jan, is a fine entry-level character, but a really verbose one. Kindt provides an outsider's point of view for the heroes of the Rebel Alliance -- Han, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Chewie -- through this character. It is certainly an approach that has not been overdone in the Star Wars universe, expanded or otherwise. Jan provides readers with both an opinion of Han Solo and an analysis of Solo's mindset as the two find themselves outnumbered and outgunned in a fight against Imperial forces.
From go, artist Marco Castiello visually embeds this comic book in the Star Wars universe. "Star Wars; Rebel Heist" #1 opens up on Corellia with a new recruit to the Rebel Alliance wandering the streets, set to meet a mysterious contact at even more mysterious coordinates. That recruit is wearing an outfit similar to the ones the Rebel soldiers wear on the forest moon of Endor in "Return of the Jedi" and can be seen among Mon Calamari and other almost recognizable denizens of the Star Wars universe, adding familiarity and dilapidation to the story. Castiello captures the vibe of the universe, even if his character designs are slightly off-model. Solo looks like Harrison Ford once every few pages, but Castiello relies more on Solo's poses and posturing to sell the character as the beloved smuggler from "A New Hope." For the most part, the art is solid, but the one scene requiring action gets a little blurry. Solo is using a Stormtrooper as a hostage (which just seems like a phenomenally bad idea) and kicks the trooper in the butt. The trooper is already at an awkward angle, approaching the floor quickly, but in the next panel, he's upright with Solo's left arm around his (armored) neck and blaster pointed at his head.
"Star Wars; Rebel Heist" #1 isn't the greatest "Star Wars" comic book that Dark Horse has ever published, and quite honestly, it's mostly forgettable. Lucky for Kindt and crew, however, that the opening installment of this series features one of the brand's most revered characters. If nothing else, that will keep readers coming back. Hopefully the next issue peels back the shroud of mystery a bit and elevates the story.