Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1
Galaxy’s Deadliest, Part 1: Ghosts of Corellia”
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Artist: Paolo Villanelli
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letters: Virtual Calligraphy’s Travis Lanham
Cover artists: Lee Bermejo (regular)/Dave Johnson, Kaare Andrews and Michael Golden (variants)
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US
Given the popularity of The Mandolorian as part of the Disney+ streaming service’s launch last fall, it should come as no surprise that Marvel is releasing a bounty-hunter title set in the Star Wars universe. And while I don’t follow Star Wars comics much, my interest was piqued thanks to appreciation of The Mandolorian. Now, this title doesn’t feature that character, but rather Boba Fett and Bossk, a couple of bounty hunters from the original trilogy, but I decided to give this comic a go anyway. Unfortunately, I found little here to hold my attention. The plot – about a bunch of nefarious characters looking to get even with a former ally – feels hackneyed, and the art seems more focused on cool poses and pinup moments rather than telling a clear story. This is a wholly forgettable story that will likely appeal only to the most dedicated Star Wars fans and completists.
Independent bounty hunters Valance, Bossk and Boba Fett are plying their nasty trades separately across the galaxy when word reaches each one that a former colleague has resurfaced after years in hiding. The last time they saw Nakano Lash, she betrayed them by killing a client, and none of them will pass up a chance to get revenge — not even Boba Fett, who just nabbed a certain smuggler, frozen in carbonite, for Jabba the Hutt.
Paolo Villanelli boasts a loose style that brings a certain gritty, rough quality to these characters, and that’s in keeping with the harsher traits that define them. It appears that he has a style that’s similar to that of frequent Star Wars artist Ken Lashley, but unfortunately, the visual flow here isn’t strong. It isn’t easy to tell what’s going on throughout this comic book, and the storytelling relies heavily on the script to clarify the action. Apparently, Valance isn’t a new character (though he’s certainly new to me), so one can’t fault Villanelli for the uninspired design. The only visual I found particularly striking throughout this issue was the appearance of an ebony Wookie, but he was more of a prop than anything else.
I will say this for Ethan Sacks’s script: it’s accessible. One needn’t be all that familiar with Star Wars lore to follow the plot. For example, Doctor Aphra turns up in this story, and I knew nothing about her beyond having seen the character’s own title on comic-shop shelves. Sacks offers a concise introduction, but really, her role here is little more than to serve as a means to convey key plot information to Bossk. Just about any character, new or old, could have served the same purpose here.
I suspect one of the problems with this story is that these comics aren’t intended to build on the mythology of the Star Wars universe. Disney-owned Lucasfilm controls its properties tightly, and obviously, Marvel isn’t allowed to upset its far-away apple cart. It’s not that I expect these comics to shake up the status quo of the recognizable characters, but I don’t feel that we’re getting much in the way of real characterization. Mind you, these bounty hunters seem designed to be cool above all else, and they have little in the way of characterization beyond their attitudes, be they stoic or volatile. 4/10