Today saw the release of issue #37 of Marvel Comics’ ongoing series Star Wars: Bounty Hunters. Below are my thoughts.
At the beginning of Bounty Hunters #37, the cyborg Beilert Valance is still losing his memory, since his mind was wiped by the Imperial Security Bureau after accidentally being exposed to plans for the second Death Star. Valance’s friend and fellow hunter T’onga is desperately trying to save what’s left of Beilert’s humanity, but to do that she needs to track down a cybernetics expert with the help of Boba Fett, who has supplied some coordinates and an access code. While T’onga’s team races through space towards the indicated location, writer Ethan Sacks flashes back to the Star Wars prequel era and the adventure that led Boba’s “father” Jango Fett to that spot earlier on in the timeline. It seems a mission gone wrong put Jango’s associate Kligson (another fairly obscure character carried over from the original Marvel Star Wars comics run) in a life-or-death situation that leads the pair to a droid colony to have him fitted for cyborg parts himself. In the present, T’onga’s crew arrives at the same colony and is welcomed due to the code that Boba Fett provided, but the Force-sensitive Zuckuss senses that something is amiss.
As Valance is taken to an operating room to have his cerebral processor repaired, the rest of the crew is made to wait outside, but T’onga orders 4-LOM to see what additional information he can glean from the other droids. Then this issue ends on two pretty big cliffhangers: the reveal that “Kligson’s Moon” is already infested with droids possessed by the Scourge virus, and the twist that Kligson himself plans not to help Valance, but to follow through on wiping his memory completely so that his cyborg body can be used as a vessel– presumably for the Scourge. It’s a pretty dramatic ending for this installment, which obviously crosses over with Marvel’s Dark Droids event across all the Star Wars comics currently set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. And Sacks’s collaboration with new artist Davide Tinto (Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars – Battle Tales) is pretty fruitful in establishing just the right amount of dread for the tribulations to come in this storyline. I also love that the title of this arc is “The Path of the Righteous,” which is ostensibly a Bible quote, but I’m choosing to interpret its inclusion here as a Pulp Fiction reference. And now that we’ve seen how Dark Droids will affect Lando Calrissian and friends in the flagship Star Wars title, Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra, and the Bounty Hunters, I can’t wait to see how the rest of the crossover plays out across the coming months.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #37 is available now wherever comic books are sold.