The crossover continues in Star Wars #14 during our first full month of the epic War of the Bounty Hunters event (after last months prelude issues).
Writer Charles Soule leads us through an issue that balances the series’ ongoing storylines with the setup required for the next War of the Bounty Hunters issue, all with some fun surprises along the way.
Luke, Chewbacca, and C-3PO have returned to the Rebel fleet after the events of Star Wars #13 and last weeks Bounty Hunters #13. They meet Leia aboard the Millennium Falcon and she reveals she’s gotten a message leading her to Han.
The original trilogy crew then get brought up to speed with the premise of the crossover’s plot. Han is no longer in Boba Fett’s hands but of a crime syndicate who are selling him at an auction to the highest bidder. Most interesting about this scene though is who’s relaying this information to the Rebels; none other than Amilyn Holdo, interim leader of the Resistance during The Last Jedi.
It’s interesting to discover that she’s been working with the syndicates in an attempt to secure supply chains for the Rebels. That shady side of the Rebels would make for a cool story.
The mention of Crimson Dawn as the organization behind the auction causes an appropriate reaction from Chewie, given the events of Solo.
If they’re going to be infiltrating an event run by Crimson Dawn then they quickly realize they’re going to need someone who knows a lot of shady people: Lando. After the events of the last few issues though, Leia knows his trust in her has been shaken.
Chewie finds Lando and Lobot at what is the Rebellion ship equivalent of a bar. Lando is quick to agree to help, not appreciating the Wookiee’s skepticism, as he feels somewhat responsible for what has happened to Han.
Lando always has an ulterior motive though, he is a scoundrel after all. A gathering of all the galaxy’s big players is going to mean he can do a bit of business on the side. He has decided to sell the Rebels new code droid to Jabba the Hutt and plans to leave it in space at the meeting, allowing the Hutt’s to pick it up.
As the team are in hyperspace, en route to the auction, Leia reveals her plan to play the part of a royal from an obscure planet, bid on Han, and win. Lando isn’t 100% on board with this plan, given Crimson Dawn’s history.
Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that not everyone in the galaxy knew of Maul’s existence!
Arriving at the destination, Lando goes to ‘check the gunports’ just in case the plan backfires. He’s actually gone to jettison the droid he’s smuggled aboard.
Lando always has a smooth finishing line, especially if he’s about to evacuate you into the cold void of space.
As we found out a few issues ago though, this old droid can remove the neural blockers that have subdued Lobot’s personality. Soule is really playing the long game with this Lobot storyline and he’s turned it into one of the most consequential parts of the entire Star Wars comic line.
Soule’s Lando miniseries introduced us to the idea that the cold, robotic Lobot we see in The Empire Strikes Back hadn’t always been that way and was one of Lando’s closest friends. Continuing this plot line six years on (in our timeline not the Star Wars one) is an impressive feat of planning on Soule’s part. Considering we don’t see Lobot in Return of the Jedi, anything could happen to him.
The droid knows it’s his only leverage, removing Lobot’s neural pathway blockers as it floats off into space.
Proximity is required though, and as the Falcon gets further away from the droid, Lobot returns to how he was. Just as Lando is scrambling to find a plan, the ship speeds up and there is nothing Lando can do.
The reason for the sudden speed increase is that Chewie has a new plan.
Unfortunately, the Black Suns have the same idea and come out of hyperspace right next to the Falcon, causing Chewie to scrape against the ship while turning. Black Sun are not happy about this and launch fighters after the group.
Chewie has another plan: pretend to crash to lose them. Lando isn’t a massive fan of the plan.
Both plans work though: the Black Sun have stopped the chase, and the ‘crash’ landing spot is near to the main Crimson Dawn ship.
All they have to do to save Han now is get through the countless other criminals to reach him.
Much like last weeks Bounty Hunters this tie-in is mostly just a positioning of characters for the next War of the Bounty Hunters main issue (especially the ‘crashing just as they are about to reach the goal’ trope).
Soule keeps this issue interesting with the Lando-Lobot stakes, Luke-Leia conversations about lost hope, and the interesting backstory on Holdo, while also getting us excited for this big auction happening soon. Who knows what kind of characters we’re going to see at that!