The title is long and unwieldy, but the story is short and tight. Shortly after Star Wars: A New Hope ends, the Rebel Alliance is abandoning Yavin IV, scattering, and will end up meeting at a new destination. One of the recon teams has been ambushed by the Empire’s Intelligence Service and all are dead but one. That one operative knows too much to fall into Imperial hands. Princess Dr. Leia* asks Han Solo and Chewbacca to retrieve the operative and get him back to the Aliance safely. Han refuses. Chewie agrees. Guess who wins?
This short adventure story is framed as a story an older Han Solo is telling to a group of mercenaries in a bar. The mercenaries had been talking about fast ships, and the Millennium Falcon comes up.
The old man turned the empty glass in his hand, as if considering its potential, or at least lamenting its emptiness.
“You buy me a drink,” the old man said, “and I’ll tell you a story about the Millennium Falcon.”
They bought him a drink and listened.
Smuggler’s Run focuses mainly on Han, Chewie, and the Millennium Falcon. Good protagonists deserve a good antagonist, and Rucka gives us Commander Alecia Beck. Beck has a cybernetic eye which allows her to take in more information than a regular human eye. She is smart, thorough, and has good instincts. Han Solo underestimates her and almost loses everything as a result. We don’t know what Chewbacca thinks of her. Other than the beginning of the story we don’t hear Chewie’s thoughts, except as they are conveyed to Han.
Han and Chewie survive, of course, because they are a team. Beck fails to appreciate two things: Han is a bringer of chaos, and Wookies are dangerous.
I wish this had been a comic book. Phil Noto is an amazing artist. The illustrations between sections were great, and made me want more. The story has been turned into an even shorter animated short. Which made me feel more strongly that they should have made this a comic book.
* Apparently we all failed to note that George Lucas gave Leia a Ph.D. Prior to the start of A New Hope.