Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 01 (The Galaxy’s Deadliest) by Ethan Sacks and Paolo Villanelli

First off, the art in this volume is by and large fine. Props to Villanelli, good work, I enjoyed looking at this book well enough.

Sigh. Why do people at Marvel like the bounty hunter cyborg Beilert Valance so much? He’s not an interesting character. Stormtrooper who lost more and more of his body until he became nothing but a cyborg, bla-dee-blaah. Every time I see him, I think to myself, I think, “Move over, Arnold! There’s a new cyborg in town, and he’s as good as you were in Terminator 3!” Yeah, Valence…he’s not great. I will concede one point–he was marginally more interesting here than in the abyssmal Target Vader comic I read last year (though the art of that one was its one redeeming quality).

This comic, then, gives ansxwer to the ages-old Star Wars question: “Are bounty hunters vehicle enough to make a Star Wars story interesting just by benefit of starring in one?” The answer is an unambiguous “no”. There’s an attempt at painting some of the bounty hunter characters as morally complex and it even works for one of them, but far more often than not makes for a generic, by-the-numbers tale that lacks in originality and treads through every action movie cliche you’ve seen in a Willis-Stalone-Schwarzenegger feature from the 1980-90s.

Boba Fett is his usual lawful evil self here. He never lets go of a debt unpaid, as we’ve seen in the Mandalorian – but the depth he banks on in this one is decidedly darker. If this seemed to be going the way of a solo comic book for Fett, I might’ve been persuaded; but he is left to the edges of The Galaxy’s Deadliest, little more than a plot device to induce drama and stir things up. The argument could be made that Sacks is attempting to raise the stakes of this series by centering it on Valence, an original character who isn’t wearing Fett’s plot and beskar armour; if so, it doesn’t fill me with excitement about what comes next for this conflicted, Empire-weary bounty hunter with a conscience…even if he’s joined by a sidekick now.

I will say one thing, I have no idea where exactly Sacks is heading in Volume 2. I can’t wait to find out.

No, really, I’m not capable of waiting. I lack the emotional investment in this series, and so I won’t. Thank every D&D deity I did not spend a single cent on this pretty but empty bit of glossy paper.

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