We’re coming into the closing end of the massive War of the Bounty Hunters crossover with just this month and the next left. However, the ripples of this story will most definitely affect each of the individual stories attached.
This penultimate issue shoots by as it rearranges all the separate players for the finale. The crossover has been a lot more self-contained than anticipated, and it will be particularly interesting to read as one big story once it’s over, since all the events (bar the first issue) unfold without any pause or time jumps.
Vader gave Luke an ultimatum at the end of the last issue: face him or Solo dies. Luke knows he isn’t ready to face Vader though, Star Wars #16 was a deep dive into Luke’s psyche and how he felt about the fight on Cloud City; that Vader’s unrelenting force was something he wasn’t ready to confront again.
Luckily though, Luke knows Vader better and taunts the Sith lord to come face him ship to ship, knowing he won’t kill Solo because he’s such a high value target. The logic that Vader wouldn’t just slice Han in half and then face Luke doesn’t totally make sense, but Han could be used as leverage with any number of factions later, so it’s forgivable.
Vader orders his troops to take Solo to their ship and transport him to the Star Destroyer waiting in orbit. Meanwhile, Jabba leaves, valuing his relationship with the Imperials over the million credits he spent in the auction.
Bokku, however, doesn’t feel the same way. Slighted at the Empire’s insult, he rallies the other Hutts to help him. While not mentioned in this issue, Bokku is working for Darth Vader, so surely his actions have an ulterior motive we’ll see in the coming weeks.
After three issues, Valance and Dengar finally catch up to the action, getting the drop on Boba Fett, who’s about to grab Solo. Dengar’s luck doesn’t last though, and a surprise jetpack rocket leaves him stranded adrift.
Dengar really can’t catch a break, it really is amazing he’s made it this far as a bounty hunter!
It’s just Valance and Fett now, talking it out. Valance would rather just blast Boba and go get his friend Solo. The shuttle taking Solo to the Star Destroyer is on its way though, and Valance knows he needs help.
Meanwhile, Qi’ra and her entourage debrief the events of the auction. Qi’ra believes that, in spite of the chaos, Crimson Dawn have shown strength, and goes to planning the next phase.
Regardless of whether that pays off in the next issue or in Soule’s upcoming Crimson Reign, it’s an interesting foreshadow to Qi’ra’s long-term plans.
Boba and Valance are up against Leia and the gang in the Falcon in order to get to Han mid-transit. Boba disables the famous ship with one of his iconic seismic charges dialled at 20% so as not to kill. Just as he’s going in for the intercept, Bokku makes his vindictive move against the Empire to steal Solo.
Coming into the final issue, we have a Star Destroyer, the Millennium Falcon, Slave I, and an armada of Hutt ships all in a massive space battle for Han. Meanwhile, Luke and Vader are caught in a dogfight of their own.
This issue was all go and did a stellar job of taking us from the auction to the final phase of the story. It was a lot of set-up, so hopefully the fifth and final issue gives us a lot of payoff and rounds out this massive event nicely. This issue reshuffled all the players and really does make you wonder: how does Jabba end up with Han after all this?