Story: Ethan Sacks
Art: Paolo Villanelli
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
What They Say:
Hunted by the mysterious assassin DEATHSTICK, a wounded VALANCE and his reluctant partner DENGAR are running out of options! T’ONGA is outgunned and outnumbered… but she does have one last surprise up her sleeve! And the shadowy force behind all of the danger makes its move!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
My trepidation at starting this book at the time of its original release is now leaning into the first crossover storyline with all the other books and it was a crossover that didn’t work that well for me in the end. Most Star Wars crossover events just never seem to click for me anyway. That said, I’m enjoying taking it at my own pace a fair bit later and knowing that there’s a lot ahead of me as well. The book comes from writer Ethan Sacks, who worked on the Journey To Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker miniseries, it has a pretty solid feeling overall as we get to see the slow growth and exploration of this fairly complex character and his history. Paolo Villanelli and Arif Prianto are very familiar names within this franchise for the comics and it looks and feels quite good with the variety of characters and some of the seedier aspects of the concept.
The focus here, as we get to more material that’s just before the actual war of the bounty hunters storyline, involves Valance and Dengar trying to stay alive and one step ahead of Deathstick. There are no Valance flashbacks this time around so it’s pretty straightforward as we see Dengar get them some minor sanctuary with a former racing sponsor of his, an older dwarven-like woman named Stommoch. She’s not thrilled to see either of them – Valance more so – but with Dengar promising that there’s real payoff at the end here and he can deal with the debt he owes her, it’s enough to have her let them stick around for a bit. Well, at least until she finds out that it’s Deathstick that’s after them and that they basically led her right to her place, which turns into a pretty major fight and escape sequence. It’s fun in that kind of barreling-forward way and it gives us a bit more personality for Dengar. And it also has Valance doing the right thing in regard to him, which is fun since it actually surprises Dengar.
The other side of the book focuses on T’onga as they’re dealing with staying alive deep in Hutt space with some of the Mouren’s Wail syndicate folks and it’s just a pretty intense battle. While there’s some fun here with her and her wife, and the critter that they’re currently flying with, the main focus comes down to the Mourner’s Wail member Khamdek who is severely wounded but gets a new lease on life when it’s revealed about Cadeliah and who she really is. That has him wanting to make sure she’s obviously protected because there’s a serious target on her back because of her lineage. But the time in talking also delves into the Crimson Dawn history a bit to provide a bit of fleshing out of its convoluted history from the Clone Wars to this period of the present. It’s not badly done and I like there’s still some mystery over who actually killed Dryden Vos, which builds a bit more of the mystery about Crimson Dawn. Of course, knowing what’s gone down in hindsight, it’s easier to roll my eyes at what the “big plan” really is.
Bounty Hunters continues to be a mildly fun book that has some neat action and largely succeeds in delivering science fiction action adventure material. The Star Wars side is certainly there but the book could exist easily without it and be just as much fun. If not more so since it keeps getting bonded to other events that slows its roll. The Valance and Dengar stuff is fun and keeps the book moving at a good clip but the T’onga material is just a slog at times and the flashback, while helpful on some level going into the event, just doesn’t add anything. It’s nicely laid out and spot on visually thanks to a strong artist here, but everything with this storyline just slows down the book.
Age Rating: 9+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 7th, 2021