So here we are, at the end of the biggest Star Wars comic crossover in history. Was it worth dragging every currently running Star Wars title into a story about Boba Fett losing the frozen-in-carbonite Han Solo on his way to deliver the smuggler to Jabba the Hutt? In a word, no. And it turns out that – in the time-honoured comic book crossover style that’s a Marvel hallmark – this crossover is really just an elaborate set-up for the next one.

Boba Fett and Han Solo’s friend, the cyborg smuggler Valance, have agreed an unsteady truce to ensure Han’s safety – and are following the Imperial flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Executor, to get to him. The vengeful Hutt clan are seeking to take on the Executor – and at the same time, Luke Skywalker is trying his best to keep Darth Vader occupied and away from his friends. Leia, Chewie and Lando come within a hair’s breadth of reaching Han – and there’s an unlikely ally ready to help them get to him.

Again, my standard complaint about War of the Bounty Hunters has been there since the beginning: though Solo falls into the possession of many different characters over the course of the story, any tension or doubt about the outcome is pretty much minimised due to the fact that we know where he ends up and we know exactly how he’s rescued. The opportunity to set up a few of the more interesting details of the situation that all of the characters find themselves in at the beginning of Return of the Jedi is completely squandered. There’s a rushed climax, that moves the pawns into their expected places without any time to delve into details – such as how Leia came into possession of the Boushh armour or how Lando ended up so successfully infiltrating Jabba’s palace to work as one of his guards (presumably Bib Fortuna’s interview process and background checks aren’t particularly thorough).

Instead, as with the climax of this week’s Doctor Aphra comic, it seems as though the real purpose of War of the Bounty Hunters was to bring Crimson Dawn back to the galaxy – this is excitedly made explicit at the end of this final issue, with readers informed that this crossover has just been the opening chapter of a trilogy of crossovers; given the quality and general pointlessness of War of the Bounty Hunters overall though, it feels more like a threat than a promise – something that readers can expect will take over perfectly good, standalone series and ruin them for a few months until yep, it happens all over again for the last part of the trilogy. Given how little story there was here to sustain an entire line of comics for several months, it is certainly not something I’m looking forward to.

The cynical nature of the crossover that merely exists to set up the next one – which is what eventually burned me out on being a regular Marvel Comics reader – hasn’t escaped my notice either; it all feels like a grubby cash grab right now.

Stunts like this will only bump sales up for a certain amount of time; readers eventually get tired of feeling like they have to keep up with an entire line of comics to make sense of a storyline, not to mention the fact that if they are generally reading only one or two of the titles, the crossovers completely ruin the flow of whatever story arcs are in place for those titles.

So, it’s worse than War of the Bounty Hunters ending up being simply dull; it now feels like the carpet has been pulled from under the readers – who expected an epic crossover that would be a big, but self-contained story – and instead, it’s just ballooning even further. It’s not exciting to read those final captions: it’s exhausting. I could be wrong, but given the overall lacklustre story of War of the Bounty Hunters, I’d be very surprised if many fans stuck around to see more of Crimson Dawn in action for part 2.

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