Bounty Hunter returns this week. There should be a giant trigger warning on the cover of this book. It’s easily one of the most vile, disturbing Star Wars stories I’ve read. The depiction of violence against women takes Star Wars to a new low and I advise no one waste their money on this book or the following issues. If you’re curious about the story, I’ll do my best to summarize it as we usually do in our reviews, but this series went from mediocre to rotten. SPOILERS AND DESCRIPTIONS OF GRAPHIC VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AHEAD….
Beilert Valance gets closer to his target, the mysterious Nakano Lash, but nothing is that simple when you’re a bounty hunter. The surviving sister of an old acquaintance targets Valance, looking to find Lash for her own reasons. And if this wasn’t complicated enough, one of the galaxy’s deadliest bounty hunters imminently presses for all of their whereabouts. T’onga takes no chances with Valance, quickly fitting him with a restraining bolt. By exploiting his cyborg physiology, she effectively neutralizes him, making him docile enough to safely work with. T’onga assures Valance it’s nothing personal, she just needs reassurance she can do what she needs to do when they find Lash. T’onga left everything behind, seeking vengeance for her brother. Like all good bounty hunters, trust no one.
Nakano Lash quickly dispatches bounty hunter Thisspiasian, who held her young ward Cadeliah at blast point, attempting to win her surrender. Cadeliah demonstrates Lash trained her to be capable on her own, as she assists the bounty hunter in taking this scum down. Thisspiasian’s arrival is a warning they are no longer safe. Lash and Cadeliah make haste, departing shortly before Valance and T’onga arrive. The corpse of a feared bounty hunter doesn’t dissuade T’onga from her mission of vengeance. She’s sacrificed a lot but presses on, Valance in tow. T’onga’s story and motivations are much more compelling than the cookie-cutter bounty hunter story Valance writer Ethan Sacks dropped Valance into.
Meanwhile, Boskk is under a heavy-handed interrogation from a faceless bounty hunter. Not that he and Valance were ever friends but he’s giving up everything in hopes his interrogator will cut him in on the hunt for Nakano Lash. Unfortunately for him, the only thing he gets is a kick to the chin and long nap. It wouldn’t be a bounty hunter story without more of them emerging from the shadows to swoop in on the quarry.
Valance and T’onga catch up with Nakano Lash and Cadeliah. This is where I recommend you stop reading the issue. What follows depicts the attempted murder of Cadeliah’s mother at the hands of a crime syndicate heir because he got her pregnant. If his syndicate family discovers he fathered a child with someone outside their accepted norms he’ll lose his inheritance. That’s right. You read that right. If the description doesn’t already disturb you the art is horrific. Krynthia, Cadeliah’s mother, barely escapes but she dies in childbirth. Star Wars needs to stop killing women, especially mothers. Female characters are too often reduced to tropes or vessels, delivering saviors and then killed, often times in the most brutal depictions. Though I’m really not surprised this type of violence showed up in Bounty Hunter I’m always disappointed Star Wars continues this trend.
The reason all the bounty hunters track Nakano Lash is retribution for the murder of the syndicate heir. T’onga learns it wasn’t Lash who killed her brother…it was Boba Fett. Then, Boba Fett shows up and kills her. T’onga, shot in the back and brutally depicted. Killing the single queer person of color, who also happens to be the most interesting character in the series, for the sake of a cliffhanger and Boba Fett’s dramatic entrance says a lot about Ethan Sacks. It also says a lot about Star Wars.
Writer Ethan Sacks does not have a good track record. I enjoy very little of what he’s contributed to Star Wars. If I see his name attached to a title going forward I’ll definitely avoid it.
I’m shocked this issue made it to market. Star Wars is a story about hope. Yes, bad things happen sometimes but violent, bad things too often happen to women. Why does this keep happening? What kind of hope does this offer? There’s a dark history of women being devalued in storytelling and Star Wars should do better. There are much better writers Star Wars can showcase and I hope they utilize them going forward. I hope fans speak up about this because it’s time for this disturbing trend to end. Right now, Star Wars really doesn’t feel like it’s for everyone. And no, not all Star Wars is good Star Wars.
There’s never been a Star Wars comic series I’ve walked away from but this will be the last time I read Bounty Hunter.