Written by Ethan Sacks
Illustrated by Paolo Villanelli
Published by Marvel Comics
Buy it Digitally from comiXology
Cyborg bounty hunter Beilert Valance barely escaped his first encounter with Zuckuss and 4-LOM while trying to protect the secret heiress of two warring crime families while Yuralla Vega, Valance’s ex-girlfriend, is revealed as the mystery ally.
Years ago, Valance left Yuralla to join the Empire. Today, he shows up on her doorstep badly wounded.
Of course, Yuralla moved on with her life but still helps out her old flame. Nothing about Yuralla makes her worthy of the hype. Yes, she has a deep connection to Valance, but he’s not established enough as a major character for Yuralla’s presence to matter. Valance broke her heart, and now, he’s upended her life.
Bounty hunters and the Empire hone in on Yuralla’s location, which happens to be a secret Rebel base. Cadeliah, the girl Valance is protecting, puts her teenage angst on display by making sarcastic comments as trouble brews. The material was not funny or even bad, serving as an uninspired reminder screaming, “Hey, I’m still here.”
In the closing moments, Zuckuss and 4-LOM corner Valance and Cadeliah. Before they capture their bounty, Valance strikes a deal for a temporary pardon, which is one of the most idiotic things to occur in a galaxy far, far away. Zuckass and 4-LOM are a duo who calculate the odds before making decisions and are desperate to make up the money lost on the “HAN SOLO BOUNTY”.
They mention the thing from the movie.
In actuality, the deal not cover their losses, but they should have seen the bait and switch Valance eventually pulls. If Valance was Doctor Aphra, Rae Sloane, or some of the other new characters established in the modern publishing canon, elements such as lost loves and sins of the past would resonate with the reader.
Unfortunately, Valance is not a multifaceted character. Despite all the cameos from famous bounty hunters, the narrative starts to crumble as Valance does more of the heavy lifting.
Sure, our cybernetic friend is heartbroken, badly injured, and has the highest price in the galaxy on his head. Ethan Sacks doesn’t give anyone a reason to care about Valance, therefore, his plight doesn’t matter. Paolo Villanelli’s artwork shines when there is a lot of bombastic action to go around. Besides a brief scuffle between Valance and 4-LOM, Villanelli doesn’t have much to work with, depriving Bounty Hunters of a vital asset.
Ethan Sacks got this series off to a strong enough start, however, the last two installments are riding the struggle bus with this issue waving its first-class ticket. The next issue will determine if this lifelong Star Wars fan jettisons from this adventure or stays the course.