Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1: No Honour Among Thieves

Star Wars - Bounty Hunters #1 Cover A by Lee Bermejo. Marvel Comics. March 2020.

Everyone’s favourite Star Wars bounty hunters Boba Fett and Bossk are joined by fellow hunter Valance on a mission that goes awry, leaving all three hunters hungry for revenge. Years later, they may just get that opportunity—but who will get to the prize first?

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1

Travis Lanham (Letters), Arif Prianto (Colours), Ethan Sacks (Writer), Paolo Villanelli (Artist)
Marvel Comics
11 March, 2020

Star Wars - Bounty Hunters #1 Cover B by Dave Johnson. Marvel Comics. March 2020.

I’m a simple Star Wars fan. I see Boba Fett, I pick up the book to read. Even though I think that Fett has been done to death (and I’d really rather read about the cool women bounty hunters out there) I was intrigued to see Fett in a group situation. From what we’ve seen in the films and comic books, Fett isn’t a team player. And Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 proves that hypothesis correct—Fett doesn’t work well in groups, and manages to get his fellow bounty hunter Valance shot up as a result.

Fortunately (maybe?) for Valance, he’s already got cybernetic enhancements from his time as a cadet with the Empire. At least Valance tries to work the team, manoeuvring everyone around for maximum impact and the least amount of damage taken. Shame about his self-centred teammate. Bossk doesn’t get nearly as much characterisation as Fett or Valance—but he does get to meet Doctor Aphra, which was very cool. Unfortunately, I don’t think Aphra is going to have a big part to play in Star Wars: Bounty Hunters—she has important information to share but she has no stake in this fight, so I don’t think we’ll see her in succeeding issues. Still, it was a fun cameo, though it did leave me wanting more.

The quarry that our trio of bounty hunters is after is quite the enigma. Nakano Lash, a famed bounty hunter in her own right, and former mentor to Valance, was leading a mission on Corellia when she made the shocking decision to kill their client, essentially dooming everyone involved in the mission. No wonder the bounty hunters are baying for her blood the next time she resurfaces.

But why did Lash act out this way? She saw her client do something—kill something—that appalled her so much that she killed the client where they stood. Presumably the act Lash witnessed will be revealed in upcoming issues of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters. For now, the creators have left it up to our imaginations. Something shocking enough for a bounty hunter? I don’t think I want to know.

There’s another bounty hunter that doesn’t get much page-time but clearly has an impact on this story: T’ongor. He’s the one who witnesses Lash killing the client and has to inform the rest of the troupe. He dies at some point, leading to his sister, T’onga taking up cudgels on his behalf when Lash returns. I presume T’ongor’s fate will be explained in succeeding instalments and that we will see T’onga join in the fight against Lash. Of all the bounty hunters in this book, T’onga seems the most interesting; she has more personal stake in this fight, though she wasn’t present during the ill-fated mission.

The cast of characters in Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 is quite removed from most of the comic tie-ins I’ve read. The original trilogy characters are only referenced in this book, which is set a long time before A New Hope and then continues directly after the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Han Solo is mentioned but none of the core characters play a part in this story—and I quite like that.

The Star Wars universe is expansive. There are so many planets and tertiary characters we can explore that it often seems a waste to read more stories about the protagonists. That’s why I wanted to read this book–what do the bounty hunters get up to when Darth Vader isn’t enlisting them to hunt down the Millennium Falcon? Plotting revenge, apparently!

The art is gorgeous. Every single character looks like a distinct individual and has so much personality writ large all over their faces. Even the more alien-looking characters like Bossk have unique features and show plenty of emotion. That’s really important in a series like Star Wars: Bounty Hunters; the one thing that makes Star Wars stand out in the sci-fi genre is all the heart it has. Take that out and you lose your audience.

Star Wars - Bounty Hunters #1 Page 5. Marvel Comics. March 2020.

Alongside the amazing art is a vivid and diverse palette of colours that paints a stunning picture of our favourite galaxy. From the hunters’ multicoloured suits to the interiors of ships and cantinas, this book is a riot of colours as effervescent as the personalities of its characters. Every page is a marvel to look at.

I thought I was going to get the standard Boba Fett fare with Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 but I’m glad to say that this story surpassed my expectations. The stakes may not be high but they are personal, which makes the story more powerful. We have an array of characters who are intriguing, particularly because they’re supposed to be the bad guys. And we have a villain (if you can call her that considering our protagonists here) who is mysterious and dangerous.

Coupled with gorgeous art and colours, this book was a fascinating look into the galaxy far, far away. Upcoming installments should shed light on the many intrigues arising in this opening chapter, which makes this series a must read for Star Wars fans.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books or video games. She always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media.
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