SPOILER REVIEW: "Bounty Hunters #7: Target Valance, Part II--Collateral Damage" by Ethan Sacks
We left off last issue with Valance and Cadeliah (the young female heir to the Unbroken Clan) narrowly escaping the clutches of 4-LOM and Zuckuss. In this issue we see the droid and findsman catching back up with the two bounties and making a valiant effort at apprehending them. They even use battle droids to cause a distraction, allowing for the two bounty hunters to hone right in on their targets. And man do 4-LOM and Zuckuss throw down. In fact, 4-LOM seems nearly unbeatable!! My favorite quote is 4-LOM as he's fighting Valance, "I am not programmed to enjoy terminating you...and yet my receptors would have to analyze this as a positive experience." Hahaha...reminds me of good ole 0-0-0 from the "Aphra" comics! On a side note, somehow Valance didn't know before this moment that 4-LOM and Zuckuss worked together as a pair...I find that really odd.
I was disappointed that we didn't get more Vukorah, the unspoken current leader of the Unbroken Clan who hired 4-LOM and Zuckuss. She has a fascinating aesthetic and I'm intrigued by her power hungry style and what exactly her backstory is. This issue instead focused in on Valance's past as he returns to the Jungle Planet of Lowik to reunite with Yura, his childhood love and the only person in the galaxy left that he trusts. Unfortunately, things go terribly south for Yura and her people after Valance's arrival, a terribly sad bit of, as the title suggests, "Collateral Damage."
So there's a secret Rebel outpost on Lowik,
and Yura, it turns out, has married the Lieutenant, Kondra. Cadeliah discovers this as Valance is bleeding out and non-sensical on top of Yura and Kondra's dining room table. First off, I feel terribly for Kondra, especially since he had just received a promotion and had spent the entire day cooking a celebration meal that Yura just flings to the floor to make room for Valance's broken body. And man is she on fire with intensity in need and desire to fix Valance and bring him back to health. If I were Kondra, I'd be a little worried because she seems to go a bit over the top with her violent concern. At the end of the issue there's even some heart-to-heart between Yura and Valance, proving that their feelings for each other are not completely water under the bridge. "I would recognize that heart anywhere. I would have loved that heart no matter what you looked like on the outside," she proclaims behind tears. Not only this, but Valance dumps Cadeliah on Yura and Kondra to take care of while he runs from the immense bounty on his head. He says, "The life of a bounty hunter is...it's no life for a stable person."
The other bit of collateral damage is that Valance let Zuckuss and 4-LOM go with an agreement that if they give him a head start in escaping, he won't stop them from sending the coordinates of the Rebel outpost to the Empire. An outpost that he had actually helped start in the first place when he worked with Officer Aeliar and Agent Gita years previous. He also gives them the fire ruby that had meant so much to both Yura and Valance as a symbol of their love for each other. All this collateral damage leaves me not really seeing that big heart we are meant to believe that Valance has. Yes, he's still protecting Cadeliah but that seems to be his sole purpose at this point, all others be damned. Strange and sad.
While at first read it didn't feel like a lot happened, I realized upon writing this review that story-wise, emotion-wise, and action-wise, a lot really did take place and the story is being propelled forward...although the synopsis for the next issue is extremely vague in saying, "Valance has a price on his head so steep that every hunter in the galaxy wants a piece. And now the cyborg must pay his debt...to the Rebellion!" At least this leaves me with the hope that he'll make up for the truly horrendous degree of collateral damage that he just turned a blind eye to. I'm excited to find out if the stories will connect across comic series or if this series will stay insular and separated. Looking forward to it!
SCORE: 7.5/10 - I actually really liked this issue! There were just some story points that sat a little oddly with me, leaving me feeling uncomfortable. But sometimes that's what art does, right? Make you uncomfortable?
"Bounty Hunters #7: Target Valance, Part II--Collateral Damage", written by Ethan Sacks, illustrated by Paolo Villanelli and Arif Prianto
I am so excited to have joined the Beyond the Blast Doors Star Wars conversation! As a person who is deeply passionate about every aspect of the galaxy far, far away, I'm always looking for ways to spread my Star Wars joy and love.
I've spoken at cons and written articles on a variety of Star Wars topics but one of my biggest passions is the canon literature. I hope to help you find your way through the Maelstrom because what is out there is truly amazing!