Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #8 (February 2021)

The Terminus Gauntlet – Part 1: Moving Target

Writer: Ethan Sacks, Artist: Paolo Villanelli, Colours: Arif Prianto

A DEADLY FAVOR! To pay back a debt, VALANCE undertakes a rescue mission to save the crew of a crippled REBEL transport. That dangerous job will take the bounty hunter deep into the heart of the pirate-infested space in THE OUTER RIM. But lying in wait is both an old enemy…and a new threat!

Marvel.com official solicitation

Ethan Sacks starts a new arc in the adventures of Beilert Valance, the bounty hunter who looks like a cross between Mister Fantastic and the Terminator, who is in the middle of a crime syndicate war. Valance is protecting the heir to two syndicates who is the key to uniting them and the Unbroken Clan don’t want this to happen.

The story flies by.  It starts with a quick flashback to Beilert’s origin when he was flying with Han Solo in the Imperial Navy. We then jump to the time period just after ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ which is the current focus of the Star Wars comics.  Valance is trying to pick up some bounty hunting at a club on Nar Kaaga.  He’s double-crossed and attacked by Tasu Leech, who we saw briefly in ‘The Force  Awakens’, but bests him and steals the bounty that was out on himself.

Later, Valance gets a call from Kondra, a member of the Rebel Alliance, who he owes a favour. He accepts a mission to rescue a Rebel transport that has broken down in the Terminus which is pirate space. At the same time, Zuckuss and 4-LOM accept the bounty that is on Valance’s head. The issue finishes with Valance approaching the stranded ship which it turns out has been captured by Captain Skragg of the Ohnaka gang, who have also captured Dengar.

The advantage Sachs has with writing Valance is that so far he is a comics only character. This gives him enormous freedom as there is no defined future for Valance. He can make choices with the character that aren’t going to upset anyone. He is also having fun pulling in references from all over Star War canon. He draws from all three trilogies, ‘The Clone Wars’, ‘The Mandalorian’, even Figrin D’an makes an appearance, and Beilert himself is from the original Marvel Comics run that started in the 70s.

Valance is an interesting character. An Imperial pilot who has suffered to many injuries and is now more machine than man. He is what Vader would have been like if he was amoral rather than evil. He also falls in to the category of Imperial that has turned against their programing, something that Lucasfilm have been exploring a lot. They have also tied his origin to Han Solo so there’s material to be further explored there as well.

‘Bounty Hunters’, similar to what ‘The Mandalorian’ is doing in live action, can tell it’s own story in the Star Wars Universe and weave in big name characters when it needs to. It is also one of the brisker reads with each issue being action packed. This gives Paolo Villanelli’s art a chance to do a lot of the storytelling which is done successfully with the action flowing smoothly. Also, because Valance isn’t based on an actor, you never have to question the likeness of the main character.

A fun, breezy read full of Star Wars goodness.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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