Star Wars: War Of The Bounty Hunters #1 (of 5)

After what’s seemed like an interminable amount of teasing – particularly how underwhelming and mostly unconnected the majority of the ‘Prelude’ chapters have been, War of the Bounty Hunters – Alpha #1 and Star Wars #13 aside, both of which were excellent (and relevant) reads – the big crossover event finally launches for real with the first issue of Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters.

En route to Tatooine, Boba Fett makes an unscheduled stop to stabilise his bounty, the currently frozen-in-carbonite Han Solo. When Solo is stolen and the tables turned – with a lucrative price placed on Fett’s head – can the notorious bounty hunter find and kill those responsible before he’s taken down?

It’s an intriguing set-up and an interesting side story; though my concerns – around the fact that there’s not enough material or space (no pun intended) within the existing saga’s continuity to tell a story with truly high stakes for the main characters (whose fates are already well documented) – have largely been proven right with many of the Prelude chapters, which felt utterly pointless and barely related to the crossover’s plot, the event gets back on track with this issue.

There’s a few popular and well known characters who do meet surprising and perhaps shocking ends here, as well as interesting developments that we wouldn’t have been able to foresee. The most intriguing revelation comes in the final few pages, with a character reveal that will be of interest to die-hard Star Wars fans, though it’ll make very little sense to more casual readers or moviegoers who haven’t paid attention to every last film in the saga. This kind of context-lite, continuity-heavy reveal is not uncommon in modern comics, however – and it’s almost a given that readers with an interest in War of the Bounty Hunters will be that kind of hardcore fan anyway.

It’s a good read for Star Wars obsessives then; less so for the more casual observer of the saga. Charles Soule again demonstrates a deep knowledge and understanding of Star Wars lore and continuity – and Luke Ross turns in some superb art too. Though several of the Prelude chapters had dampened my initial enthusiasm for the crossover as a whole, Soule and Ross have rekindled my excitement and I’m back on board, though I’m fully expecting the tie-in issues to continue to be inessential to the grand scheme of the story’s tapestry as the series progresses. For now though, this one’s highly recommended – and serves to remind us, as The Mandalorian so ably demonstrated in its second season, that we’ve so often been told what a badass Boba Fett is without actually seeing it for ourselves – and when we do, it’s very satisfying indeed.

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