Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #7

TARGET VALANCE PART 2

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

The cyborg bounty hunter Valance is on the run after narrowly escaping the Unbroken Clan syndicate. He’s sworn to protect Cadeliah, the secret heir of two powerful criminal families and the only hope to end years of bloody underworld conflict.

But the Unbroken Clan can’t let Cadeliah rise to power. Their leader, Vukorah, hired the fierce findsman Zuckuss and his ruthless droid partner, 4-LOM, to hunt down Cadeliah and Valance.

Valance barely escaped their first assault. He’s wounded. Badly. And there’s only one person left in the entire galaxy he can turn to for help….

Writer: Ethan Sacks
Penciller: Paolo Villanelli
Cover artist: Lee Bermejo
Publication date: November 18, 2020
Pages: 32

If this Bounty Hunters series from Marvel and writer / artist team of Ethan Sacks and Paolo Villanelli has taught us nothing else, it’s a hard, hard life eking out a living in the underworld. Marry that to even a sliver of a conscience and the constant grind, travelling, expense, injury and conscience-stinging travails of an underworld life are clearly tough to bear, and it’s those costs that weigh down heavily on Beilert Valance in issue 7 of Bounty Hunters. Tracked down to the jungle planet of Lowik by Zuckuss and 4-LOM, not only has he enlisted the help of his lost love Yura and her husband to protect Cadeliah, but he also has to face up to decisions he made many years ago. Half his body might be made of steel, but his heart is far from made of stone.

It’s good to see the two name-swapped bounty hunters, first introduced way back in 1980 and The Empire Strikes Back, operating together so efficiently. We’ve been given many looks at that cadre of hunters from Empire over the years, and as such we know them well, but to see Zuckuss and 4-LOM work so well together here makes all the sense, and low on energy and severely injured, Valance has met his match. That his ingenuity and guile is enough to have him from being ended again confirms that, despite every hunter from that classic Star Destroyer scene having appeared in the series so far and Valance not being one of them (indeed, he predates all of those characters first appearing in issue 16 of the original Star Wars run back in 1978), the title is focused on just the right one.

It would easy to portray Valance as a tragic victim of circumstance, but thankfully – while there’s certainly plenty of tragedy in his life – he is a character that by design makes the tough choices, ones that often end badly for him but make life easier for others. His decision to leave Yura behind was to protect her from harm, as was his choice at the end of this issue, to leave Cadeliah with Yura while he heads off to steer other hunters away and see the mission to an end. He’s still the terminator of the saga, never giving up and grinding on to his goals, but with a past steeped in loss and sacrifice fuelled by his own doubts and determination to protect those close to him, there’s plenty here to keep us highly motivated to read on and on.

Once again Ethan Sacks delivers another satisfying issue, while the artwork by Villanelli is better than ever, action and personal moments delivered with equal skills. So far this series has been nothing but a page-turner, and as this issue ends and Valance heads off away from Lowik alone that looks likely to continue.

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Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 1: Galaxy's Deadliest
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 120 Pages - 11/24/2020 (Publication Date) - Marvel (Publisher)