The huge summer crossover War of the Bounty Hunters continues here, in an episode that is the first to expose the folly of undertaking such a wide-ranging crossover for what is, essentially, just a story that equates to filler when it comes to the Star Wars saga.
Cyborg bounty hunter Valance has become aware that Boba Fett is in possession of Han Solo – and, owing Solo for a past favour, is on his way to intercept Fett and rescue the Corellian pilot. Hitching a ride with him is notorious bounty hunter Dengar, who’s in the game for more than Valance’s noble aim of rescuing the carbonite-frozen Solo. It’s not long before they’re being pursued by other infamous bounty hunters either…
We’re still in Prelude territory with this, the third comic to be published that bears the War of the Bounty Hunters branding. And it feels almost completely inessential at this point, with much of the book feeling like exposition in setting up why Valance – who feels like a cyborg version of Solo – feels as if he owes so much to the Corellian that he’d risk everything, including taking on Boba Fett, to save him.
It’s not bad, per se, but it’s shorn of the closer proximity to Fett or even Solo that we had with the previous two issues, the first of which covered Boba Fett’s story directly, then Luke Skywalker’s attempt to track the bounty hunter down in the second part. This issue simply feels like filler and, though action packed – being little more than one action scene after another, albeit with some filling in of Valance’s past to sell the relevance of his part in proceedings – just doesn’t progress the overall saga at all. It doesn’t help to allay my fears that much of the huge, 30+ part story is going to be there just to sell comics, rather than as an essential piece of the puzzle that’s missing between the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi chapters of the Star Wars saga.
It’s written well enough and the art suffices, but I thought much of the interesting techniques and detail seen in the previous two issues weren’t there either. I’m still intrigued to see the story develop, but the final panel telling us that the story will continue in War of the Bounty Hunters #1 – despite the fact that two more Prelude chapters are on the way, before the first issue of the crossover’s central series is published – doesn’t fill me with great confidence that the next few chapters are going to be anything more than needless filler either.
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