Last summer, the Marvel Comics one-shot Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters – 4-LOM & Zuckuss ended with the droid member of that particular partnership having been reconstructed and reprogrammed into a ruthless killing machine whose only mission was to eliminate his former companion. Now, a full five months later, Zuckuss and his new teammates are finally setting out in search of 4-LOM in the latest issue of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters.

Bounty Hunters #20 begins with Zuckuss, Bossk, T’onga, Losha, and Tasu Leech arriving at the “Wreck Belt” orbiting the planet Lotho Minor, where they’ve tracked a signal to a supposedly derelict Hutt freighter that had come there from the smugglers’ moon of Nar Shaddaa– where 4-LOM had last been spotted.

What follows is a sort of Alien-esque investigation into the abandoned ship, culminating in an attack on Zuckuss by the now-spider-like 4-LOM. It seems the signal was sent out as a trap by the calculating droid, but Zuckuss– being a Force-sensitive member of the Gand species– manages to outwit his old partner by being one step ahead of him, as always. There’s a cool, weird moment here where Bossk discovers a Zuckuss effigy in the freighter’s pilot chair, only to further realize that 4-LOM was using it for target practice– ha! Meanwhile, in the Unbroken Clan’s palace on Corellia, General Vukorah returns home to confront (and  assassinate, as it turns out) her Grand Leader, who has given up hope for the future survival of the crime syndicate after the untimely death of his daughter. Yeah, it seems that– like so many people in the galaxy these days– Vukorah is working for Crimson Dawn as well, and plans to assist Qi’ra’s faction in eliminating Cadeliah, the last remaining heir to both the Unbroken Clan and the competing Mourner’s Wail Syndicate.

But that plot’s been going for a while now (stretching back pretty much to the beginning of this Bounty Hunters comic series) and I hope writer Ethan Sacks gets around to wrapping it up sometime soon. But otherwise I have to say that I really enjoyed this issue, which if I’m not mistaken is the first one to go entirely without an appearance by Beilert Valance, who has now moved over to Star Wars: Darth Vader, where he serves as the Sith Lord’s unwilling underling. I don’t mind Valance in concept, but this adventure featuring Zuckuss, Bossk, and company is quite a bit closer to what I had originally pictured when Bounty Hunters was first announced. And the series’ artwork by Paolo Villanelli has steadily continued to grow on me, as well. With the surprise Dengar cliffhanger in the last few panels, you can color me intrigued to find out what happens next… but let’s just hope the whole Cadeliah storyline gets put to bed at some point before issue #30.

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #20 is available now wherever comic books are sold.