War of the Bounty Hunters still feels like it’s just getting started. This week, a new player enters…Durge. Fans of Genndy Tartakovsky’s original Clone Wars series will remember this behemoth. While the bounty hunters of the galaxy slowly funnel towards Han Solo, Doctor Aphra and Sana Starros are on the trail of an estranged Tagge family member, hoping they’ll complete their service to the ruthless matriarch Lady Domina Tagge. A simple recon mission to locate a missing aristocrat may be more work than they planned. SPOILERS AHEAD….
This issue opens with a flashback of Ebann Drake, estranged Tagge cousin, flaunting his Crimson Dawn invite and eagerly awaiting a decadent meal. Aboard the luxury yacht, the Opal Empress, Drake anticipates the fortune and name he’ll make for himself at the Crimson Dawn gala event. Just as he’s about to take the first bite of “exotic caviar”, a small claw emerges from its hidden side, foretelling what’s to come.
Present day, Aphra and Sana arrive to find the Opal Empress and Ebann Drake in a much different state. The luxury yacht once resembled Canto Bight but now it looks more like Exegol. Aphra examines Drake and discovers the Crimson Dawn invitation. Sana appears shocked to see Crimson Dawn has returned and I’m hoping that means she and Qi’ra may have some history. Remember, Sana worked with Han in the past, even marrying him once as part of a scheme.
Meanwhile, Just Lucky and Ariole Yu head for the Crimson Dawn event. They’re making preparations for survival, certain they’re going to be surrounded by the most wretched scum and villainy. Wen Delphins, their benefactor and head of Sixth Kin, struggle with their orders to assassinate an old friend supposedly turned traitor. While Lucky suggests there might be more to the story, Ariole is determined to carry out the orders but it’s obvious he’s suppressing his own doubt. We learn they’ve known their mark, Crae, for a while. Despite their conflicted feelings, they press on and clear their feelings, knowing they need to be on their game to survive amongst the Crimson Dawn gala attendees.
Hello, there! Durge is back but not like you remember him. Genndy Tartakovsky’s Durge spoke with his actions, this version actually interacts with Aphra and Sana instead of just blowing them away. A lot of fans have been excited for this and I’m glad writer Alyssa Wong chose to give this mountain a bit more personality rather than making him a mindless killing machine. It doesn’t take away from his lethality and once the shooting starts he still packs a blast. Durge is also after Drake and isn’t please he’s dead, turning to blame Aphra and Sana. Before they can explain, the culprit for all the deaths aboard Opal Empress reveals itself.
Cymotes, an extinct parasite which gestate in a host body and then kill them when they emerge (Ever heard that before?). They were in the “exotic caviar” Drake and the rest of the party consumed, making quick work of the ship. Like Durge, they are very difficult to kill.
The three of them agree to work together but Aphra assures Durge no amount of blasting will solve the problem. That doesn’t stop Durge, though. They plan to lure the cymotes to the airlock and blast them into the vacuum. The cymotes focus on Durge, who is giving them the most trouble with his built-in arsenal. Aphra and Sana lead him to the airlock. Unfortunately, for Durge, he’s not well acquainted with Chelli Lona Aphra.
Aphra seals Durge and the cymotes in the airlock, quickly venting it into space. While this may seem cold, my guess is Aphra knows very well who Durge is. She didn’t want to chance the bounty hunter turning on her and Sana, so she blew him out of the airlock. Both Aphra and Sana suspect he’ll find a way to survive, so it’s not quite as cold blooded as it might seem. The two of them waste no time getting back to Sana’s ship to contact Lady Domina.
Assuming Lady Domina wants the Crimson Dawn invite, Aphra and Sana inform her they’re on their way to deliver it. I assume they’re happy their service to Lady Domina is done. It’s not. Instead, she’s sending them in her place. She is very curious about Crimson Dawn’s reemergence and I’m sensing there might be another Qi’ra connection from the past. Maybe I’m just hopeful because I love the idea of all these characters knowing very well who Qi’ra is. Doctor Aphra and Sana will continue their work for Lady Domina.
And Aphra doesn’t mind at all!
I’m not a huge fan of Durge but I felt his introduction was a little forced. I wonder what fans of the character thought. Whatever your opinion, this certainly isn’t the last we’ll see of him and I imagine he’s going to be looking for Aphra and Sana. This issue wasn’t bad but so far the War of the Bounty Hunters has felt quite uneven for me. It feels like they are trying to force a lot of characters into this event. Aphra and Sana are great but I feel like their adventures and stories are so much more interesting on their own. I’ll keep an open mind. I’ll be looking forward to Doctor Aphra getting back to business after October. Does anyone else feel like this event didn’t need to be six months long? Oh well.