Comic Review – Valance Has the Rest of His Humanity Stripped Away in “Star Wars: Bounty Hunters” #39

Yesterday saw the release of issue #39 in Marvel Comics’ ongoing title Star Wars: Bounty Hunters written by Ethan Sacks, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.

Bounty Hunters #39 begins on the Haven space station orbiting Kligson’s Moon, where many of Lord Telemak’s droids have been infected by the Scourge virus– as this is a tie-in to the current Star Wars: Dark Droids crossover event. After a confrontation between Telemak and the cyborg Kligson over who their true leader should be, the latter tears off the former’s head. Then Sacks gives us a flashback to the day prior, with cyborg bounty hunter Beilert Valance having a discussion with his friend and partner T’onga. Valance makes T’onga promise to kill him if they fail in their quest to restore his memories and he becomes a mindless killing machine. Cut back to the “present” of this comic– set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi– and Beilert has become just that at the diabolical hands of Kligson, who has stripped away what remained of his humanity. Valance has just murdered the Clawdite hunter Catak, and now T’onga crew are going to attempt to beat some sense into their old friend. At Kligson’s orders, we see Valance go up against Zuckuss, Bossk, Deathstick, and Durge, none of whom are capable of taking the newly retooled cyborg down. T’onga pleads with him to snap out of it as Kligson takes him away “for further experimentation.”

Then we cut to Kirkeide Station, where T’onga’s wife Losha now works for a bounty hunter organization called “Syphacc’s Bountiful Bounties.” Syphacc asks Losha to enlist a new recruit, who turns out to be General Vukorah of the Unbroken Clan, hoping to turn over a new leaf. At first Losha isn’t having it, but the two must put their differences aside when Scourge-possessed pit droids try to take Syphacc– who also happens to be a cyborg– prisoner. After a scuffle with the droids, Losha realizes that T’onga and her crew are likely also in danger, and artist Davide Tinto demostrates that by showing Beilert being dragged away at the Haven. But the Scourge’s droids betray Kligson, leaving him to die at Durge’s hand (literally), and in the final panel T’onga vows to follow through on her promise to kill Valance. It’s an exciting issue that does a lot to further the Dark Droids storyline when it comes to its connections with Bounty Hunters, and I’m looking forward to seeing Beilert’s situation spill over into the pages of the crossover’s main miniseries. Sacks and Tinto are proving themselves a reliable pairing as creators of this book, and the work of colorist Arif Prianto (of Marvel’s Spider-Woman) really makes the images pop off the page. I’m honestly kind of glad we got rid of Kligson as a villain and that our bounty hunter antiheroes can shift their focus to bigger foes next month.

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #39 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Mike Celestino
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.