Given its subject matter, Star Wars: Bounty Hunters should theoretically be the current Star Wars comic book I am most interested in, and yet two issues in I’m finding it to be the least compelling of this year’s Marvel titles set in A Galaxy Far, Far Away. Why is that?
My biggest problem with Star Wars: Bounty Hunters is its artwork, which comes across as too sketchy and overly stylized for my tastes. I’m sure Paolo Villanelli (Tony Stark: Iron Man) is talented in his own right, but in my estimation his style doesn’t quite fit this particular universe. Because of its already heightened personae and situations, Star Wars comic art needs to feel a little more grounded than your average sequential graphics.
Secondly, I hate to admit that we probably don’t have enough invested in any of the featured characters in Star Wars: Bounty Hunters to really care either way what happens to them. Boba Fett, as cool as he looks, was never more than a tertiary presence in the original Star Wars trilogy, and even here he’s still relegated to a background presence. We’ve been getting to know Beilert Valance (AKA Valance the Hunter) a little bit better via the Han Solo: Imperial Cadet and Target: Vader miniseries, but is he really a strong and unique enough personality to headline his own book? And I realize I named a podcast after Bossk, but c’mon…
In issue #2 of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, we pick up with Valance, Bossk, Fett, and T’onga (another barely-established character, though admittedly she is newly introduced) in pursuit of Nakano Lash, their former associate who betrayed them all by murdering a client in cold blood on a collective mission a number of years prior. They all begin to cross each other’s paths as they track their prey, with fun-enough interrogations and action scenes taking place on the Outer Rim planet Eriadu– Star Wars trivia: this was the birthplace of Imperial governor Grand Moff Tarkin– and Galmerah, the graveyard world. Writer Ethan Sacks (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) does a good job of interweaving these four separate stories all destined to come together by the end of this arc, but I’m still not sure that will be enough to have made this entire endeavor worthwhile.
We see T’onga infiltrate the fortress headquarters of criminal syndicate The Mourner’s Wail, where she pitches to its leader Lord Khamdek– father of the client who was killed by Lash– that they have a common enemy, and she will enact revenge in exchange for information on her ex-partner's whereabouts. It’s all in service of more setup for the conflict to come, and we do get to witness Bossk and Valance have something of a showdown in this issue’s cliffhanger ending, but so far this narrative as a whole hasn’t quite grabbed me. The bounty hunters in question are certainly on a collision course with each other, so let’s hope by the time that happens this comic’s creators figure out a way to make that concept perhaps just a little more entertaining.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #2 is available now at Marvel’s Digital Comics Shop.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.