War of the Bounty Hunters may have mixed reviews, but you can’t deny the premise was strong: Mixing bounty hunters together, bringing back a key figure introduced in the Solo movie, and supplying creators a chance to flesh out our favorite killers in the Star Wars galaxy all add up to fun. That’s evident in the now-released Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Companion, which features four one-shot tales focused on IG-88, Boushh, Jabba the Hutt, and 4-Lom & Zuckuss.
This book ostensibly opens with a Jabba the Hutt story by Justina Ireland and Ibraim Roberson, but it’s actually more focused on Mistress Deva and her dealings with Jabba. It’s a good action-packed opener that ties into a major choice Jabba makes in the main event. The adventure utilizes Boba Fett in an efficient manner, melding old Star Wars elements with new ones well.
Next up are 4-Lom and Zuckuss, by Daniel Jose Older and Kei Zama. Similar to the first story, this one loosely ties into the event and serves to show Zuckuss’s forlorn state after losing his buddy 4-Lom. It integrates droids and aliens into the story, reminding us they coexist in various ways in the Star Wars universe. If you like Zuckuss you’ll love the story, but it’s not tied to the event much and is a side adventure at best.
Boushh gets a tale from Alyssa Wong and David Baldeon which ends up tying into Crimson Dawn quite a bit. This character is well known since Leia pretends to be them in Return of the Jedi so it’s neat to see their bounty hunter days here. Domina Tagge ends up stealing the show, however, as she gets plenty of fight scenes in the story. She’s a character that was introduced in Doctor Aphra, further connecting the many narratives in Star Wars. Wong does well to show how bounty hunters’ only allegiance is to the next score.
Wrapping up the book is an exceptional IG-88 story by Rodney Barnes and Guiu Vilanova. Appropriately titled “Born to Kill,” this one-shot opens on a cold planet where IG-88 lies dead amongst a sea of parts. Captions hover over these scenes from a discussion of death and the ceremonies that take place to honor those who have fallen. It’s different for a droid, though — there is no hope to be remembered, as they have no legacy to leave.
It’s especially different for IG-88, as Barnes and Vilanova show the droid has died a few times and always comes back, even after facing Darth Vader back in June. We soon learn the narration is coming from a formidable mechanic, but also a person very much in awe of IG-88. His perspective gives the narrative an almost religious angle, as if IG-88 is more than just metal and parts, but something even bigger.
The story ties into the War of the Bounty Hunters event, but for the most part, it picks up IG-88 where we last left him, and then sends him on his way into the eventual Crimson Dawn series, Star Wars: Crimson Reign. Barnes has done a lot to elevate IG-88, giving Charles Soule plenty to work with in Crimson Reign.
Star Wars is a rich universe, which is evident when reading this companion trade paperback. Not every story is a winner, and likely fans will gravitate towards more familiar characters, but this is a keen example of how Star Wars comics enrich characters who were often given very little screen time.
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