Ten years ago, we asked for a stand alone Star Wars comic series all about smuggling. Well here we are decade later with “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2, our wish granted. While it’s unlikely IDW Publishing saw our 2011 post about smugglers, we’re happy they put out “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” for the simple reason that it kicks ass. From art to pacing to story, “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2 checks our boxes. The final part of a two part series, this story clocks in at 38 pages of high octane Star Wars excitement.
Plotted by Greg Rucka
Scripted by Alec Worley
Illustrated and colored by Ingo Römling
Lettered by Amauri Osorio
After the Battle of Yavin, Han Solo and Chewbacca intend to use their reward to settle their debts. But Princess Leia asks them to accept a secret mission for the Resistance. Mortal dangers, traitorous enemies, and thorny situations mark the path of these two heroes of the Star Wars saga.
Let’s start with the basics. “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2 takes place on Motok, the capital city of planet Cykron, the inhabitants of which live under a protective dome, lest they perish from the atmosphere’s poison gas. Enter Han and Chewie on a routine smuggling mission: get the rebel lieutenant off the planet, don’t die, run away, and profit — preferably in that order. Anything else is take it or leave it, and “Star Wars Adventure: Smuggler’s Run” #2 leans into the moral ambiguity of the smuggling business pretty hard, but it’s effective.
Plot-wise, Han’s moral crux of loyalty earned vs. trust freely given is central. Some could say that smuggling is all about the allies and enemies you make, and “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2 certainly thinks so. Given that, the dialogue in this story is top notch. There’s a healthy balance of sly quips, classic Han and Chewie banter, and breakneck diplomacy. The story moves quick but never feels like the wheels come off. Quite the contrary, actually. Once the sparks start flying in “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2, they just don’t stop. It’s also worth noting that from a lore perspective, “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2 is pretty entry level. This is a satisfying action story for Star Wars fans and newcomers alike. Of course, IP veterans will spot a subtle reference here and there, but never at the detriment of the casual reader.
As long as you get the premise of Empire bad, Rebels good, you’ll figure out “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2. Of course, that doesn’t mean the story is dull. Each character is so lively, and even auxiliary characters have their moments to shine. For example, the rescued lieutenant has a great scene with Han where they discuss trust, loyalty, and loneliness. In true action heist fashion, the conversation happens while weaving in and out of enemy blaster fire, but regardless moments like that give this Star Wars story a human edge.
In terms of characters, Empire Commander Alicia Beck makes for an awesome villain in “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2. She’s cruel and vindictive, but not stupid. Additionally, she’s rendered beautifully in the art, which is another high point of “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2. Ingo Römling has such a strong command of the world, using the dusty brown, red, and green color palette to his advantage. What would look muddy in another’s hands instead looks rugged and charismatic. Because “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2 is primarily an action story, there’s a lot going on in each panel. Set pieces come and go, characters dance and dodge between blaster shots, all while summersaulting over moving vehicles. Despite the volatility of scene in “Smuggler’s Run” #2, everything looks crisp and distinctly Star Wars. We have aliens of all shape and size, ersatz costumes and that derelict, almost junkyard, scrap metal sci-fi look that’s so easily identifiable with the franchise.
The art and panel layout really take off in the second half of “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2, once Han and friends make it to space. Here Römling shows us that he’s not just a master of the nitty gritty detail, but also of scale. Space in Star Wars means space battles, and in the second half of “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run” #2 we get some front row seats to interstellar mayhem. There are a lot of moving parts: star destroyers, TIE fighters, tractor beams, a YT 1300 freighter of universal renown, and more. Römling keeps his eye on the prize, and nothing is lost in the chaos. This makes for a white knuckle read that gives its characters, at least visually, room to breathe. The outcome is exemplary, and once all the dust settles, the ending feels truly earned.
In sum, “Star Wars Avdentures: Smuggler’s Run” #2 is a raucous, well written and well drawn romp in the Star Wars universe. The action hits with a satisfying tempo, the story is full of resilience and comradery, and it looks really pretty. (Well, if you consider dirt smeared brawls over blasters pretty, which we do). All of that pairs well with good writing and an accessible story. The plot’s not too complex, but the character decisions still feel smart.
Final Verdict: 9.2. An effortlessly effective Star Wars tale, full of grit, action, and top notch storytelling.