SPOILER REVIEW: "Bounty Hunters #6: Target Valance, Part I: Zuckuss and 4-LOM" by Ethan Sacks
So I hate to be negative, but I'm just being honest--this issue was lackluster at best. I will admit that part of the reason behind that, in my case, is that the backstory presented was a rehash of information the reader already knew if they had read both the "Han Solo: Imperial Cadet" and the "Target Vader" comic mini series. It was nothing new or surprising, but I guess I can say it was a good reminder of Beilert Valance's past. Now if you haven't read either of these series, then the presented backstory is necessary in making it easier for readers who just pick up this series such that they don't have to go back and read the other two. Essentially, we are reminded that Yura was Valance's significant other on Chorin before he left to join the Empire. And that a few years after he joined up, he was left broken and severely injured, not allowed good medical care because he was just a "grunt." The present timeline of the issue is more of a set up story than anything, preparing us for the rest of this new arc.
As I said above, we go back in time to the day before Valance joined up with the Empire as he sits with his lady love Yura on the mining planet of Chorin. Yura is reluctant to let him leave, but he comments on how Imperial forces saved Chorin and that because of that he wishes to pay the Empire back. He dreams of commanding a Star Destroyer one day and becoming a hero of the Empire. Well, we know how well that turned out for him...and we're reminded of the circumstances that befell Valance as the comic jumps a few years later in time to Mimban where Valance is receiving "treatment" for his life-altering injuries. The cruelty of the officer is horrendous, "How unlucky this grunt is to have survived those wounds. Dying on the battle field would have been more merciful."...and his words just get more depraved as the panels continue--because Valance's mission was not a success and he himself is not a war hero, "don't waste perfectly good cybernetic parts." Valance has truly been through so incredibly much, it's a miracle he still has a heart big enough to care for Cadaliah and Nakano Lash and doing the right thing. It's amazing how different the Valance we see now is from the upstart, arrogant, bad attitude TIE cadet we saw back in "Han Solo: Imperial Cadet." Maybe part of it was just that Han rubbed the man the wrong way?? Or perhaps his injuries gave him a deeply new perspective on life.
Once we begin the present storyline, we see Valance and Cadaliah casually strolling through the Spur Orbital Market. Cadaliah is eager to take her Unbroken Clan birthright, but Valance is much more cautious of the situation. And it turns out for good reason, Vukorah is shown having just killed every member of her Unbroken Clan crew who supported the "old line." Life is looking more and more dire for poor, young Cadaliah, but her drive, motivation, and will to live are simply incredible! There's also an Arconan bounty hunter who manages to hunt down the two fugitives...but gets "cooked" in the process (courtesy of Cadaliah).
Then we see 4-LOM and Zuckuss speaking with Vukorah over holocom as they get hired to hunt down Valance and Cadaliah. The Gand and his droid companion locate the two just as Valance is getting his cybernetics fixed and upgraded by "Slade's Repairs" post-fight-with-the-Arconan. Despite the circumstances looking bad for our "heroes," Cadaliah pulls a fast one (that girl is one heck of a firebrand and fast thinker) and they escape...but only because Zuckuss put a tracker on Valance during the struggle!!
We end with Valance and Cadaliah arriving at the secret Rebel outpost on Lowik so that Valance can ask for help from the only person he trusts...Yura!!! So definitely an interesting turn in the story that I'm super excited to see the progression of. I'm also quite nervous about Zuckuss's tracker on Valance leading the two bounty hunters to a secret Rebel outpost. It seems this can only end badly...
Two thoughts before I go: 1) Fantastic title using the inspiration of "Target Vader" for which Valance was the bounty hunter. Now flipping it on its head and Valance is the target!! 2) Does anyone else pronounce 4-LOM, "for-elloem"? (Notice the panel to the left) I've always just said "for-lohm"...
SCORE: 6/10 - there just wasn't much in the way of new and interesting information or happenings. Some of what occurred was already set up in the previous issue and then this continued setting things up for the upcoming issues...so a lot of gearing up for a great story rather than presenting a great story. At least the action was fun!!
"Bounty Hunters #6: Target Valance, Part I: Zuckuss and 4-LOM" written by Ethan Sacks, illustrated by Paolo Villanelli and Arif Prianto
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