Han Solo - Imperial Cadet 2 is the second issue of the canon comic book miniseries Star Wars: Han Solo - Imperial Cadet. It was written by Robbie Thompson, illustrated by Leonard Kirk, and published on December 12, 2018 by Marvel Comics.
THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED! After spending a night in the brig, HAN SOLO is given one last shot at flight school… Will Han be top gun, or will he crash and burn? Crash and burn if one of his top competitors gets his way! This mysterious rival is ripped from the pages of CLASSIC STAR WARS COMICS!
A second chance
A case file for Han Solo (Cadet 124-329) describes him as an unpromising Imperial cadet who was shot down after stealing a TIE fighter and attempting to escape. Now in debt to the Galactic Empire for the cost of the stolen TIE, he has been scheduled for termination. Solo is confined to the brig for about 15 days. He is greeted by several Imperial Navy troopers and attempts to reason with them. Before they can fire at him, an Imperial officer named Yurib Nakan intervenes and addresses Solo.
Solo claims there was a misunderstanding but Yurib slaps him across the face. He reminds Solo that cadets are the property of the Empire and may only leave the Imperial Naval Academy on Carida as a trained weapon. When Solo quips that he is not interested in being a corpse, Yurib slaps him again. Yurib reminds Solo that the only reson he is alive is because of his skills in disabling the TIE's security quickly and evading all fighters sent after him. Yurib explains that he was the TIE pilot who shot him down.
Noting Solo's flying skills, he asks the young man where he learned to fly. Solo experiences flashbacks of riding a stolen C-PH patrol speeder bike with Qira, escaping a fight at the Gilded Descent Casino by hitching a ride on Kablo's jetpack, and flying a stolen freighter above Corellia with Qi'ra during an escape attempt. However, the two are captured by Moloch. When Yurib reiterates his question, Solo claims that his flying skills come naturally. Despite his disdain for Solo, Yurib recognizes Solo's flying skills and commutes his sentence. He gives Solo one more chance, warning him that death will be the least of his worries.
When Training Officer Triosa Broog asks Yurib what she sees in Solo, Yurib replies that Solo reminds him of his younger self.
Fourteen days later, the twin brothers Tamu and Lyttan Dree discuss a top ranked cadet named Kanina Nico, wondering how she makes it to the top of the leaderboard. They also notice Solo's name below their profiles. The two are soon joined with Solo, leading Lyttan to concede that Solo survive. He pays Tamu some money, having bargained that Solo did not survive.
Solo is soon accosted with Beilert Valance, who despises him as a troublemaker. The two fight and Valance punches Solo in the stomach, causing him to drop his tray. Solo retailates by kicking him from behind and then slamming a tray into his head. An Imperial Navy officer and a pair of Navy troopers asks what is going on. Solo claims that Valance helped him up before he slipped on the messy floor. When the officer asks Valance if this is true, Valance also lies. Solo attempts to extend an olive branch to Valance but the other cadet spurns his friendship, reminding Solo that he is only interested in being at the top of the class.
When Solo grumbles about Valance being at the top of the class, Kanina takes a gamble on how long Solo will last. The Dree brothers by contrast are more welcoming towards Solo and accept him as a friend. An Imperial report describes Solo as a difficult student while complementing his flying skills, describing him as one of the finest pilots the Academy has seen in its history. The report also describes Solo as ill-disciplined and someone who prefers to work alone.
Solo endures a class about TIE fighters, an underwater lesson as a Seatrooper, and takes part in a parachute exercise. However, his true passion is flying starships. As his training progresses, Solo rises up to third place on the leaderboard, behind Nico and Valance who occupy second and top place respectively.
The training exercise
Later, the Imperial cadets are tasked by Yurib with working in pairs to destroy a cannon's deflector shield and then the cannon itself. He emphasizes that knocking out both of them will require precision timing. He instructs cadets not to fly above the cannon's energy shield. Yurib tells them to use the terrain and work together to survive the exercise.
Prior to the exercise, Solo and Nico remove the alternators from their TIE fighters. He also draws a copy of two dices as a symbol of good luck and a reminder of Qi'ra. During the training exercise, the Imperial cadets have to dodge laser cannons. A pilot named Jarwen's fighter is hit and is forced to eject. Meanwhile, Lytten warns Valance that he is flying his starfighter too close to his brother Tamu. Valance responds that Lytten not Tamu is his partners and tells him to focus on keeping Valance on top of the lader board.
Valance's fighter collides with Tamu's fighter, causing it to spin out of control. Solo tells hm to eject but Solo's wingmate Nico tells him to focus because they have a clear shot. Ignoring his Nico's directions, Solo blasts the cannon's shield. Though Tamu is clear of the shield, his fighter is still out of control. Solo sets his fighter on autopilot to land before ejecting from his craft. He climbs into Tamu's fighter to find the cadet unconscious.
While taking over the cockpit, the ship's computer tells Solo that the engine has failed. At Kanina's advice, Solo pumps Tamu's fighter's accelerator and juice the movitor while bring the fighter to land. While descending, Solo's TIE scrapes the solar panel of Nico's TIE. Solo barely manages to land the TIE fighter.
Lyttan is grateful that Solo saved his brother Tamu. However, Valance is furious that Lyttan broke off before he could get a shot, causin them to failed. Yurib clarifies that the cadets all failed the training exercise. Solo proposes that they get a partial credit since some of the cadets did work together. As a minor celebration, Solo suggests playing cards.
Yurib, who is revealed as the author of the report, surmises that Solo has the potential to be the best pilot the Empire has ever seen if his fellow cadets don't kill him first.
- UPC 759606091454; December 12, 2018; Marvel Comics
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Notes and references
- Solo: A Star Wars Story The Official Guide establishes that Han Solo served in the Imperial Navy between six to nine years after the formation of the Galactic Empire, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY. The events of Star Wars: Han Solo - Imperial Cadet take place during Solo's time in the Imperial Navy, therefore sometime between 13 BBY and 10 BBY.