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'Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 4: Crimson Reign' review
Marvel

Comic Books

‘Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 4: Crimson Reign’ review

‘Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 4: Crimson Reign’ loosely ties into the event while progressing its characters’ stories.

Trade-waiters get new chapters in the Crimson Reign mega Star Wars crossover with Star Wars: Bounty Hunters volume 4 out this week. Following volume 3, which was also a tie-in, Ethan Sacks’ bounty hunter adventures add to the main Crimson Reign series while putting its ensemble cast through the paces. It includes familiar bounty hunters like Bossk, Zuckuss, and Tasu Leech, as well as 1978 comics creation Beilert Valance. Essentially containing two stories, this latest trade paperback is a light tie-in to the series but a solid action adventure.

Collecting Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #18-22, this collection starts with Valance, new and improved but also a captive of Darth Vader. It turns out Darth Vader has given him major upgrades, which include a new face and self-healing skin. He can also shoot blasters out of his hands, making him an even more significant bounty hunter threat. The problem is he works for Darth Vader now, and we soon learn his target is a Crimson Dawn spy working for the Empire.

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Meanwhile, Valance’s friends are threatened by Darth Vader, forcing him to do his bidding. Ethan Sacks does a good job supplying Valance with a tie to his target as well as exploring how the Empire inspired people across the galaxy. They weren’t all bad, or at least they weren’t to impressionable minds like Valance when he was a kid. As usual for this series, the target isn’t an easy one, and there’s some dogfighting in TIE Fighters as well as a bold move by Valance to get up and close to his target. Sure, he has a cyborg body, but the dude is bold.

Ramon F. Bachs draws these opening issues with the dogfighting scenes being the standout visuals. The ships look fantastic, and the explosions and sequences following the ships are tense and edge-of-your-seat good. Generally, the characters look too cartoony for my tastes, which makes fight scenes look a bit stiff. In the opening scene, Darth Vader looks like he might fall over as he swings his lightsaber.

'Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 4: Crimson Reign' review

The Empire has some impressive medical achievements.
Credit: Marvel

The subplot involving the rest of the bounty hunters is somewhat uninteresting, but their acts lead to issue #20 through the rest of the collection. Zuckuss seeks out 4-LOM and wants to reunite even though 4-LOM wants him dead. Meanwhile, Grand Leader Vukorah is working with Crimson Dawn and giving Lady Proxima a hard time. This chunk of the story doesn’t tie too closely with the Crimson Reign event, though Lady Qi’ra does appear briefly.

This chunk of the story has good fight scenes drawn by Paolo Villanelli, who keeps the twists and turns interesting. There’s some good hand-to-hand combat in this chunk of the story. More importantly, Villanelli makes you believe Zuckuss truly cares for 4-LOM, even though 4-LOM is a giant robot spider creature at this point. T’onga is a star of this chunk of the story, too, leading the charge and doing some of the most heroic things. A moment where she does some finger guns at the enemy–counting on her lover to be there for her–is pretty badass.

This is a good chunk of action-adventure comics, although its ties to Crimson Reign are so light it’s almost not even a tie-in. The adventures of these characters are fun, and given two stories are going on here, it packs a bit more punch. Don’t start here, though, as the narrative continues on for the ensemble, and you’ll need some backstory to understand their relationships.

'Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 4: Crimson Reign' review
‘Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 4: Crimson Reign’ review
Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 4: Crimson Reign
This is a good chunk of action-adventure comics, although its ties to Crimson Reign are so light it's almost not even a tie-in. The adventures of these characters are fun, and given two stories are going on here, it packs a bit more punch. Don't start here, though, as the narrative continues on for the ensemble, and you'll need some backstory to understand their relationships.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.7
Opening story smartly ties the events to Valance's youth
This is a great group of characters with unique personalities since they are contract killers
Second story arc keeps the action intense with good art
Definitely read the previous volumes to understand these characters and their dynamics
First story art is a bit too stiff with fight scenes, but the TIE Fighter action is great
8
Good
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