Marvel’s four running Star Wars comic books that currently take place between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are going to be building up to their big War of the Bounty Hunters crossover event over the next couple months, but first the pieces all have to be put in their proper places before that particular story can begin.
Enter Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #11, out today, which sees Dengar reluctantly teaming up with his captor Beilert Valance to track down their mutual competitor Boba Fett, who has recently taken the carbonite-frozen Han Solo aboard his ship the Slave I. As we’ve learned in flashbacks over the last couple issues (and in the Han Solo: Imperial Cadet miniseries from a few years back), Valance owes Solo a favor, and he’s evidently intent on paying it back by rescuing the smuggler from the clutches of the deadly Fett and his boss Jabba the Hutt.
After this issue establishes Valance and Dengar’s uneasy alliance, it cuts immediately to the planet Malastare (first mentioned in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace as a hotbed for dangerous podracing), where the notorious Trandoshan Bossk has entered into a Hunger Games-esque battle royale to the death between bounty hunters. As both a highly skilled tracker and assassin, Bossk easily takes out his prey one by one while a “Malastare Hunting Club'' regular named Exum Jermit watches on, intent on swiping in at the last minute with a crew of ringers and winning the contest for himself. Also hanging around Malastare is Jabba’s majordomo Bib Fortuna, who wants Jermit to switch alliances from a mysterious client to the Tatooine-based Hutt crimelord. Long story short, Bossk ultimately proves his superiority in combat (at one point overpowering the imposing Dowutin hunter named Grummgar, who of course survives the battle and goes on to appear at Maz Kanata’s castle in Star Wars: The Force Awakens), eliminates Jermit, and reconnects with Fortuna, who it turns out had hired him to win the competition on Jabba’s behalf.
I’ve been way more into the Star Wars: Bounty Hunters comic lately than I was during its first half-dozen issues or so, and this installment is no exception. It’s filled with exciting fight sequences and interesting character turns, and I like that it shifted focus away from Valance for most of the issue– I’m a big enough fan of Bossk to have named Laughing Place’s Star Wars podcast after the character, so it was very cool to see him featured so heavily here. I’ve admitted previously that Paolo Villanelli’s art will never really be my thing, but I’ve come to accept that it works in conveying the tone that writer Ethan Sacks is trying to convey in these stories. It’s also great to see the cogs turning in preparation for War of the Bounty Hunters, as I’m extremely jazzed for that highly anticipated crossover to kick off soon.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #11 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
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 all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.