Marvel’s first-ever Star Wars event kicked off in June with an epic first issue and continues this week with two more chapters. First up is Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #3 which features a treasure trove of characters all in the same place. Everyone is at Jekara attempting to win Han Solo at auction. Writer Charles Soule has got everyone at this party bidding but also looking on waiting for a moment to snatch Solo’s frozen carbonite body when nobody is looking. At the center of it all is Lady Qi’ra who now runs Crimson Dawn. To say it’s complicated is an understatement!
Considering how many characters are at this auction, it’s impressive how well it all makes sense. Soule and artists Luke Ross and David Messina keep split this issue between everyone’s favorite Rebels Leia, Chewie, and Lando in a heated contest with Boba Fett, while Darth Vader takes on Jabba the Hutt and Qi’ra. These two conflicts keep everyone quite busy, which is fairly entertaining. On some scale, it reads like pointless conflict just to allow time for Luke to show up, but it’s fun enough. Plus, Soule has Lando say one of the most badass things ever said in Star Wars.
Meanwhile, Darth Vader shows how unafraid he is from the powerful Hutt gangsters and eventually Qi’ra. Fans of Qi’ra will adore this issue, which allows her to show off her bravery and her incredible fighting skills. She may not be a match for Darth Vader, but she can hold her own. There’s even a name drop of her fighting style which may suggest a curious history yet to be revealed about her time working for Crimson Dawn. It’s at this point you realize a lot of this issue is about subtle nods to the superfans who love these characters and eat up the fan service.
Ross and Messina do a great job with the art, especially when Qi’ra is on the page. You sense her bravery and her cunning thanks to sharply drawn facial expressions. Likenesses continue to be well done and the general layout design is simpler, but this helps keep the action and many character locations clear.
This issue, as well as Star Wars #16 out today, marks a midway point in the “War of the Bounty Hunters” story arc. Unless this story takes a wild turn, it’s clear at this point the event has served its purpose as a fan-friendly story that shows how at one point most of the most popular characters were actually in the same room together. That’s a cool touch, and while the stakes don’t feel very high since we know Han Solo doesn’t die here, it’s fun to see the interactions.
Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #3 serves as a fun way to experience all your favorite characters literally in the same space in a race to save Han Solo. This has been a pretty slowly paced event, but considering all the moving pieces it’s impressive what it has pulled off.
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