I’ll admit that Star Wars has a lot of characters with fairly silly names (see: Greedo), but the recently introduced Deathstick has to rank somewhere near the top of that list. Deathstick first showed up in the 2015 mobile game Star Wars: Uprising, which I have not played, and she’s now been brought into Marvel’s Star Wars: Bounty Hunters comic book as an assassin working for the Crimson Dawn criminal organization, but whenever I read her name I can’t help but think of that groan-worthy “Wanna buy some deathsticks?” scene from Attack of the Clones.
Regardless, as revealed in Bounty Hunters #14, out today from writer Ethan Sacks and illustrator Paolo Villanelli, Deathstick is hunting down Beilert Valance and Dengar for her boss Lady Qi’ra– newly unveiled as the mastermind behind Crimson Dawn’s resurgence in the period between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Valance and Dengar are on the Smuggler’s Moon of Nar Shaddaa in search of Boba Fett, who has a price on his head thanks to his failure to deliver the carbonite-frozen Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt on time. But Valance has been injured in last issue’s cliffhanger showdown with Deathstick, and the unlikely pair must visit Dengar’s old acquaintance Mama Stammoch for some much-needed repairs to the cyborg– not to mention their vehicle. Needless to say, Deathstick soon catches up with the bounty hunters and chaos ensues, resulting in a climactic speeder chase through the Nar Shaddaa streets. We also spend some time at the sanctuary of the Mourner’s Wail syndicate deep in Hutt space, where T’onga and Losha have tracked down the crimelord known as Khamdek, whose granddaughter Cadeliah’s existence was the driving force behind the plot of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters’ first couple arcs last year.
This A-story-turned-B-story is still a bit muddled, but the best sense I can make of it is that Cadeliah must be protected in order to foster an alliance between the Mourner’s Wail and their rival the Unbroken Clan, and I guess this potential allyship poses a threat to Crimson Dawn? It still feels like a relatively clumsy way to keep this comic’s overarching narrative thread going– and check in on some of the undercooked supporting characters– while tieing it into the ambitious War of the Bounty Hunters crossover event spanning the entire summer in Marvel’s Star Wars titles. T’onga and Losha do have a deadly pet Nexu, though, which makes for some delightfully gory moments in battle along the way. And I have to say I am moderately curious as to what Qi’ra’s plans for Dengar and Valance are, considering we find out near the end of this issue that she doesn’t want them dead… or at least, not yet.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #14 is available now wherever comic books are sold.