Back to the main series after a very mixed bag of crossover issues, the story continues here with Vader claiming his prize, the Hutts squabbling over the fact that the Empire can just waltz in to claim Solo – and Luke doing his best to overcome his fear and face his father again. In the midst of all this, Boba Fett is waiting for his moment to strike – so he can retake a certain frozen-in-carbonite smuggler for himself…

As you can gather from the above, War of the Bounty Hunters #4 is very eventful; it’s a marked contrast to all of the crossover issues, which have been dragging out the Crimson Dawn auction for what feels like an eternity. We finally move on here and the considerably faster pace, along with the general development of plots and subplots, gives the story a lot more justification for being told and is much more satisfying as a result. There’s still the feeling that it’s a little bit of a pointless story regardless of what happens – we know the eventual position of all of the main players by the start of Return of the Jedi, after all – but this does at least raise the stakes for a number of minor characters whose fates are uncertain and unknown.

It’s undeniable, however, that the tale would have been far better served as just a mini-series; the mega-crossover has really not done the thin premise any favours, with too many peripheral characters drawn into the mix and slowing everything down needlessly. With only one issue to go, it feels as if things are kicking into high gear way too late, with far too many threads to now wrap up in a satisfying way and at a believable pace – a problem that Star Wars often finds itself with (see also: Revenge of the Sith, for example). Though the crossover started strongly and is likely to end spectacularly, the elongated middle section has sagged under the weight of far too much bloated and unnecessary tie-in material.

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