THE TERMINUS GAUNTLET PART 2
SQUADRON OF ONE
The Unbroken Clan syndicate wants the cyborg bounty hunter Valance dead. They’ll stop at nothing to destroy him and Cadeliah, the secret heir to the syndicate and its powerful rival organization.
Valance entrusted Cadeliah’s safety to the Rebellion after striking a tenuous bargain to throw 4-LOM and Zuckuss off their trial.
Now he owes the rebels a huge favor, and they’ve asked Valance to rescue a disabled transport in deep space. But Valance found the transport under attack by pirates who quickly outgunned the bounty hunter….
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Penciller: Paolo Villanelli
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Colorist: Arif Prianto
Cover artist: Mattia De Iulis
Publication date: January 27, 2021
In a galaxy beset by conflict and change there’s rarely a moment when kinetic, action-packed adventures are far away and issue 9 of the consistently entertaining Bounty Hunters is no exception as we join an angry and stranded young Beilert Valance, left behind on Qhulosk after an Imperial attack gone wrong, certain that his fellow Imperials including Cadet Han Solo are abandoning him to his fate. Fighting for his life, we learn how much of his face got scarred as he battled viscous and unrelenting Qhuloskians before an off the books rescue mission by Solo and the squad saw an angry Valance reunited with his Imperial brethren.
Cut to the present day as Valance tears towards an Alliance transport, determined to get onboard despite their protestations, and despite being there to help save them from Weequay pirates in very Star Trek-looking vessels he is immediately put under armed guard in a prison cell as the commander of the 15 strong vessel refuses to listen to the cyborg. On the pirate ship, Dengar is plotting with their commander Captain Skragg as a switch around the galaxy to Ruusan shows Losha Tarkon reunited with her wife T’onga, believed dead and barely alive after the last time we saw her gunned down by a cameo-ing Boba Fett.
Back on the transport the angry pirates attack and Valance, broken out by a young soldier who believes he is there to help, takes an X-wing and defends the ship before his X-wing takes a final close pass at the transport and leaps to hyperspace and it’s here we learn that faced with overwhelming odds the commander of the transport is likely in league with the pirates and we finish with Valance clinging to the side of the transport, hauling himself back in.
There’s a lot to enjoy, as always, in the pages of Bounty Hunters #9. The return of T’onga has a distincly Shira Brie feel about it, and one has to wonder what kind of woman she will be once she fully returns to consciousness, while the aforementioned Trek-like ships look great and give an aesthetic rarely seen in modern Star Wars literature. We’re treated to the now requisite bounty hunter cameo, this time out it’s Dengar filling that role, and while it’s fun to see those The Empire Strikes Back ‘scum’ appear in any comic, the Marvel galaxy of Star Wars literature has a rich history to pull from. In much the same way we’ve seen Jaxxon and Valance enter canon from the old worlds of the EU, perhaps we could see some other Marvel era characters join them, like Orion Ferret or Captain Drebble…or Shira Brie, surely one of the most beloved characters of the Marvel era. In either her Imperial intelligence agent guise or her Lady Lumiya incarnation she’d make a thrilling adversary for Valance (or any other character to be honest) and with Ethan Sacks hitting that page-turning early 80’s vibe so well, a return for her or similar characters wouldn’t feel at all out of place.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #10 @ ForbiddenPlanet.com