Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #13 by Ethan Sacks

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #13 (Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-))Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #13 (Star Wars: Bounty Hunters by Ethan Sacks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, this is a definite improvement over the previous issue, mostly because it was actually possible to follow what’s going on. Still, not anywhere up to the standard of the rest of this crossover event…

…and what crossover event is that? that would be The War of the Bounty Hunters, which continues in the pages of this comic. Valance and Dengar are on Nar Shaddaa, the Smuggler’s Moon, hot on the trail of Boba Fett. They’ve missed him, but Dengar knows a guy who might know where he went, but it’ll take tact and diplomacy to get the intel. So, of course, Valance just punches him right in the face, because valance is an idiot now apparently.

After a fight, Valance dangles the guy over a large drop and he spills the beans, Fett doesn’t have Han Solo, Crimson Dawn do. But Valance doesn’t believe that Crimson Dawn are back, because he hasn’t read the previous instalment in this crossover. Silly man.

The issue ends with the reveal of a new, badass, female bounty hunter, who’ll ne doubt be even cooler and more badass than Valance…

So, yeah, better than the last issue, but Sacks’ writing is still frustratingly pedestrian and the characterisation of Valance is still wildly inconsistent. Is he hot headed and reckless or is he a grizzled veteran? Who knows!

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Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #4 by Daniel José Older

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #4Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #4 by Daniel José Older
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not gonna lie, I kinda love this bunch of idiots.

Seeing all the padawans crammed into a Jedi vector just made me smile. That they were doing it to stupidly go and rescue their friend just made it better. Reckless are they, indeed.

This is just fantastic, full of youthful energy and the angst that goes with it.

Because heading off into an obvious trap is just what heroes do.

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Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #3 by Daniel José Older

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #3Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #3 by Daniel José Older
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story continually flips between Krix with the Nihil on the Gaze Electric and Zeen with the Jedi on the Starlight Beacon (I keep wanting to call it the Starlight Citadel, but that’s something from a whole different comic entirely).

It’s an interesting dichotomy as both the Nihil and the Jedi are manipulating Krix and Zeen in their own ways and asking them to do things they’re not entirely comfortable with. But, of course, while the Jedi are motivated by wanting to fight evil, the Nihil have very different motivations.

This issue is mostly set up for the conflict to come, but that’s not a bad thing. Things need to be set up in a story…that’s how story telling works. And in the meantime we get to know Zeen and Krix a bit better. Krix is clearly someone who’s willing to throw others under the bus to save his own neck. But…can you really blame him? How would any of us act in his situation.

The art is really quite lovely. It’s not in the usual “Marvel style” that those reading recent Star Wars comics will be accustomed to, and reminds me more of the Star Wars comics produced in the early days of Dark Horse’s run. But, this isn’t a Marvel comic, after all, and the art style fits the book incredibly well.

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Star Wars: War Of The Bounty Hunters #1 (of 5) by Charles Soule

Star Wars: War Of The Bounty Hunters #1 (of 5) (Star Wars: War Of The Bounty Hunters: (2021-))Star Wars: War Of The Bounty Hunters #1 (of 5) (Star Wars: War Of The Bounty Hunters: by Charles Soule
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s always challenging to review a comic that leans so heavily on a last page reveal that it spends the entire issue building to. Suffice it to say that you will figure it out before you reach the final page, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome or welcome.

But, yeah, Boba Fett discovers Jabba has placed an bounty on his head after having had the carbonite encased Han Solo stolen from him, and he’s on a mission to find out why, who stole Han and to both get him back and murder whoever was responsible.

I’m not the greatest fan of Luke Ross’s artwork, but it’s genuinely great here. This is a much more comic-booky looking comic than we’ve been used to in Marvel’s Star Wars run, but the combination of some really great backgrounds and a much lighter colouring palette than we’re used to seeing in these books makes for a fine looking comic.

The writing is as good as we’ve come to expect from Charles Soule. He’s crafting a complex and winding tale that draws in pretty much every faction in the galaxy and I doubt that this issue’s last page reveal will be the only surprise in this mammoth crossover event.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #10 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #10Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #10 by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You’d be forgiven for thinking this issue is a War of the Bounty Hunters Prelude. After all, that’s what it says on the cover and on the title page. But it’s a War of the Bounty Hunters prelude only in so much as it’s what takes place immediately before the War of the Bounty Hunters. It is, in fact, just the final part of the current Doctor Aphra story arc, about stealing the Nihil Path Drive, and, as such, it’s…well…not very interesting.

The dialogue falls flat, and I just find it hard to care about what’s going on. Domina Tagge makes for an uninteresting villain, or maybe it’s just the way she’s written. But, you know, previously Aphra was all about double crossing and out witting Vader…he’s a hard act to follow.

I like Aphra, a lot, but I don’t think we should have an Aphra solo book just for the sake of having an Aphra solo book. It needs to a have a clear purpose and direction, and right now it doesn’t.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #12 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #12Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #12 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Prelude to the War of the Bounty Hunters continues, and as is the way with preludes, nothing of great significance really happens. But that doesn’t mean this comic isn’t great, because it is.

Instead we get a lot of insight into the way Vader sees Luke. We see him wondering if the pain he caused him on Cloud City has made him stronger, and concluding that it hasn’t because Luke’s reliance on his friends makes him week. Thus Vader’s seeming obsession with Han Solo, because his friendship is weakening his son…so he can’t use his son to defeat Palpatine.

Indeed, Vader has now concluded that due to what he’s seen on Exegol, Palpatine cannot be defeated, and therefore Luke needs to die. Of course, we know that he ultimately comes to a different conclusion and is redeemed (spoilers for Return of the Jedi!).

The writing is, as ever, phenomenal, and the art is great. Darth Vader continues to be the evry best when it comes to Star wars comics.

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Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #12 by Ethan Sacks

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #12Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #12 by Ethan Sacks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve really enjoyed the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover event so far, but now it hits the pages of Bounty Hunters and the complete mess of nonsense that this book is.

Let’s talk time frames, people. So, Boba Fett has stopped off on the way to deliver Han Solo to Jabba, to get the carbonite block that’s degrading fixed. And the carbonite block, with Han Solo in it, has been stolen from him. And, we learn in this issue, Jabba has placed a bounty on Fett.

Okay, right, so…how long after that scene on the Executor bridge with all the bounty hunters are we…because Dengar, Zuckuss and 4-Lom are all here, and have been for a while…so an awful lot seems to have happened before them all taking the job to find Han Solo from Darth Vader and where we’re at now. Mind you, if you factor in the time it must have taken the Falcon to get to Bespin at sub-light speeds then… Oh, heck, it’s Star Wars, none of it makes sense (but, arguably, it should so obviously make no sense as this does).

So, what actually happens in this issue? Not a lot, we time hop back and forward in time from the present day to the last time Valance encountered Han Solo, and those time hops are often jarring. Just the simple inclusion of “Now” and “Then” at the start of each time change would solve that…but, nope, narrative clarity is not something that anyone involved in this book seems to care about.

Look, I know my issues here is that I simply don’t care about Valance and probably never will, so this book is always going to be fighting a losing battle with me…but Sacks could, at least, try to make me care about him.

There’s a short txt piece at the end of this issue explaining what the hell is going on to anyone who might be a bit lost. I’ve been reading since issue one and I still found it helpful…which is probably not a good thing.

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Star Wars (2020-) #13 by Charles Soule

Star Wars (2020-) #13Star Wars (2020-) #13 by Charles Soule
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now…this is Star Wars!

The War of the Bounty Hunters continues as Luke, Chewie and the droids track down a lead that Boba Fett is on Nar Shaddaa, the smuggler’s moon. And he was, we saw that in War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha. Anyway, the contact on Nar Shaddaa turns out to be Sagwa, a Wookie Chewbacca freed from slavery in the spice mines of Kessel during Solo…which was a nice call back.

Anyway, they don’t find Fett but they do find Kanji, and hijinks ensue. Aggressive hijinks. Which are hijinks with a lightsaber. There’s some great action here, and it’s definitely good to see Luke cut loose (if you’ll excuse the pun) with his yellow lightsaber. This is classic Star Wars action, lightsabers, blaster bolts, droids making inappropriate comments. I love it.

Also, we learn that Artoo has some info about the location of some old Jedi temples he found when they were on the Death Star, which I expect will become relevant sometime after this massive crossover event.

So, superb stuff, so much fun.

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Star Wars: The High Republic #5 by Cavan Scott

Star Wars: The High Republic #5Star Wars: The High Republic #5 by Cavan Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This issue is a pretty relentless fight scene for start to finish, as the Jedi fight both the Hutts and the Drengir, while Skeer fights an internal battle against the Drengir too.

There’s a lot going on, but it’s easy enough to struggle and in typical Star Wars style, just as all seems lost the tide of battle turns.

That said, I don’t see a coalition of Jedi and Hutts lasting any longer than the Hutts finding it useful.

The art is top notch and the High Republic continues to be quality across the board.

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Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha #1 by Charles Soule

Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha #1Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha #1 by Charles Soule
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The name’s Fett, Boba Fett.

Or…for much of this comic, he’s Jango…great choice of a pseudonym there…heh…

But, yeah, this is really good, which shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s familiar with the work of Charles Soule or Steve McNiven. Speaking of McNiven, this book is gorgeous, and Soule is also on great form here.

This is ground that Star Wars has trodden before, specifically in the now Legends multi-media event, Shadows of the Empire. The basic conceit is: What happened between Boba Fett leaving Cloud City and delivering Han Solo, encased in carbonite, to Jabba on Tatooine? If you thought the answer to that was along the lines of, “He sat back and read a good holo-novel while he travelled through hyperspace,” then this thirty-four part crossover, spanning the next six months of Star Wars comics, is sure to set you straight.

You see, the carbonite Solo’s encased in is degrading, and to get someone to fix it Boba Fett is forced to take part in a gladiatorial tournament, by the end of which someone has assassinated the person who was going to fix it and nicked Han and the carbonite block he’s in. That person, or persons, is almost certainly another bounty hunter…and so…the war of the bounty hunters begins.

Now, I will say here that a thirty-four part crossover spanning six months is absolutely absurd, and for people who aren’t already reading/collecting all the Marvel Star Wars comics (I assume that other people aren’t obsessively buying every canon Star Wars novel and comic…and to those people I ask…what’s it like to have shelf space?) I suspect it’s as likely to put them off entirely as it is to get them to buy everything…but, then, the REAL market for this stuff is in trade paperback form, so what does it really matter? But, as I’m buying everything anyway, it doesn’t really bother me. I’m just here to sit back and enjoy the ride!

One last thought, if Hasbro are paying attention, can we expect an all black Boba Fett action figure soon?

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