SPOILER REVIEW: "Bounty Hunters #12: War of the Bounty Hunters Prelude: Target Solo" by Ethan Sacks
I quite enjoyed this issue of the "Bounty Hunters" long-run series! It contained two story lines, one present and one past, both of course centering around Valance. In the present, Valance and Dengar have teamed up to go after Boba Fett. Valance because he wants to save Han to repay him for saving his life when he was a cadet. Dengar because there's a large bounty out on Boba's head...wait...huh?!? There's a bounty on Boba Fett?? And it was put out by Jabba himself. Honestly, I'm flummoxed. Jabba seems perfectly content with having Boba around in Return of the Jedi--I guess bringing him carbonite-encased Han made up for any bad blood between the two men? Strange. In the past, Valance is trying to join up with the Caviness Thorn Crew as he's desperate for credits...but things aren't as easy as all that...
We start off in the present in the Y'Toub System (near Nar Shaddaa) on a ship stolen from the Ohnaka Gang (which Valance outsmarted in previous issues, rescuing a Rebel ship and its crew in the process!). Dengar is arguing with Valance about needing a plan to approach Boba, and Valance simply says, "I do have a plan. Find Fett. Get Solo. Kill Fett." You have to give it to the man, he's certainly focused! And then Zuckuss and 4-LOM show up and begin shooting at Valance and Dengar, still on a determined mission to capture Cadeliah, the Unbroken Clan heir. To get away from the bounty hunter pair, Valance flies into an asteroid field filled with Exogorths. But Zuckuss and 4-LOM can't be shaken and Dengar finally takes matters into his own hands, letting the two know that Boba Fett has a massive bounty on his head and that he knows where Boba can be found!
Then we move to the past at Abregado-Rae Spaceport where Valance is trying to make a case for joining up with the Caviness Thorn Crew...something that turns out to be much more difficult than he had expected since Caviness, the leader of the crew, puts out an anonymous tip that a cyborg who works for the Hutts is in Pyke territory. He tells Valance (the cyborg) that if he makes it out of the cantina alive, he can help the Caviness Thorn Crew with their job. Well, it's Valance so of course he makes it out just fine...but the target of the Crew is Han Solo!!! And Valance refuses to kill the smuggler, still holding on to the fact that Han saved his life back in the day. Now the timing of the past storyline is a bit murky because it appears to take place not long after the botched job on Corellia with Nakano Lash from far in the past, but Han makes reference to dropping a shipment which is something that occurs just before A New Hope. I'm pretty sure these two events are years apart so I honestly don't know how to reconcile the timeline at all.
Overall, this was a great set up for the upcoming "War of the Bounty Hunters" short-run series. It puts Zuckuss and 4-LOM solidly in the mix of people looking for Boba Fett/Solo--this collection of people is rapidly expanding and I am super excited to see how it's all going to work out, especially with us knowing that Boba Fett makes it back to Jabba with Han just fine. The past storyline was filled with action and exciting visuals but it didn't reveal any new information and seemed slightly unnecessary, unless Caviness makes a reappearance down the line. Regardless, this issue was a fun ride and I'm certainly intrigued to see how the Valance/Dengar pairing continues as the story progresses.
Before I sign off, I wanted to quote some information from the note written by Ethan Sacks at the end of the issue. "An assassin is stalking Valance and Dengar. A killer who you'll soon see is willing to eliminate anyone in her path to protect a dangerous secret." Ooooh!!! I wonder who this could be?? And we get, "The threads that artist Paolo Villanelli, colorist Arif Prianto, letterer Travis Lanham and I have been unspooling since the first issue of the series are now coming together...in a story that will continue in WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS as well as in the next arc of BOUNTY HUNTERS." I find this incredibly intriguing and am definitely looking forward to seeing what threads they will be pulling together and how everything ends up connecting!!
SCORE: hmmm...7.5/10 just because it didn't feel like any new info was revealed and the story seemed to mostly just coast through from last issue. But it was still absolutely a fun read!!
"Bounty Hunters #12: War of the Bounty Hunters Prelude: Target Solo" written by Ethan Sacks, illustrated by Paolo Villanelli and Arif Prianto
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