War of the Bounty Hunters was the big tie-in event of 2021 Star Wars comics and crossed over into all of their non-High Republic series, namely the main Star Wars comic, Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra and Bounty Hunters, plus it had its own five issue event series to top it off. This is a general look at the whole event, and I have to say that overall while it had its moments there were a hell of a lot of issues for what really was just one scene. Was it a good scene at least? Let’s find out!
The crux of War of the Bounty Hunters is that directly after Empire Strikes Back Boba Fett notices the carbon freezing effects on Han Solo’s slab are starting to fail so he goes and gets it repaired, during which its stolen by the revived Crimson Dawn crime syndicate, who put it up for auction to the highest bidder. This obviously grabs the attention of Luke, Leia, Lando and Chewie, Darth Vader and the Empire, Boba Fett, and the Hutts; with Jabba putting a sizable bounty on the head of Fett for failing him leading to a whole swath of bounty hunters following him to the meet. Throw in Doctor Aphra and her companion Sana who end up at the meet as well sniffing around for artefacts and that’s why your big crossover happens.
The two most important parts of the story in one picture!
The big reveal during all this, and I’ll talk about it because she’s on the front cover of the collected story, is that Qi’ra, Han Solo’s love interest from the Solo film, is the leader of Crimson Dawn. It’s a fun reveal and seeing her interact with a whole bunch of classic OT characters is good fun, especially Leia and a scene where she uses Teras Kasi (yes, of bad PS1 game fame) to try and take on Vader.
Sadly as mentioned in the opening paragraph there isn’t a lot of meat on these bones. The core series moves events forward fair enough, but each of the other issues do very little to supplement them and in fact often go over old ground covered in the main story through the eyes of their respective main characters which just makes it feel like the wheels are spinning, not being able to move forward until the main story moves it forward. Doctor Aphra’s story was probably the most standalone and entertaining, I forgot how fun the character can be (I haven’t picked the series back up since I returned to Marvel Unlimited last year…) while the Bounty Hunter series, which focuses on cyborg bounty hunter Valance trying to save Solo after he’d saved him a few years ago, was the least interesting as I just didn’t particularly care about anyone, possibly due to not having previously read the Bounty Hunters series…
Durge, who appeared in the Aphra side of the story, was a big deal for some as he comes from the now de-canonised “Legends” comics. I wasn’t one of those people, I’m afraid! Cool design though.
The core series does have its moments but it does feel like a single big event which is covered by far too many angles for far too long. The artwork is consistently good though, and it does end on an interesting cliffhanger for future comics to pick up from, so it’s a perfectly fine crossover event, just maybe not the big one it was made out to be…
Great Darth Vader dialogue is always welcome in my book! (or my comics, I guess?)
War of the Bounty Hunters told a fun central story, but even the five core issues felt a little spaced out and shallow, let alone the regular monthlies that were released alongside them. Worth checking out if you have Marvel Unlimited anyway and therefore doesn’t cost anything extra (like myself!) but I don’t know if its worth throwing money down for…
The biggest thing to take away from the story, besides Crimson Dawn returning and being led by Qi’ra, which for the record seems to be the big thing for the comics in 2022, the main thing is that one of Jabba’s fellow Hutts was actually a Crimson Dawn spy who sends his and several other of his kin’s armada against the Empire, an act that makes Darth Vader have to pull away from his dog fight with Luke, which the latter arranged so Vader would be pulled away from his ship, so he friends could grab Solo back from the dark lord’s flagship.
Enraged Vader slays pretty much every member of the Hutt cartel, leaving only Jabba himself, as he had left the auction house and agreed to let Vader have Solo despite it being his by right. During this mess Fett manages to steal Solo back from Vader’s ship and later deliver it to Jabba, thus the original film canon stays in place.
Vader prepares to trim the fat… or in this case, the muscle and leave the fat in charge.
I also enjoyed Doctor Aphra finding some weird darkside artefact called a “Thought Dowser” that allowed her to tap into the darkside of the force, albeit temporarily and with great pain… plus her electronic tattoos now seem to be infected with the evil energy, so that’s something to look out for in the next chunk of story!