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Seasoned Star Wars storyteller Charles Soule (The High Republic, Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith) teams up with powerhouse artist Steve McNiven to deliver a kickass, bloody tale starring our favorite Beskar-clad hired gun in “Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha” #1. This prelude event adds an interesting twist to Boba Fett’s story just after the events of Empire Strikes Back without shoehorning anything in that seems out of place. With spot-on dialogue and world-building and outstanding artwork, this issue is a must-own for die-hard Star Wars fans.
“The notorious bounty hunter BOBA FETT has finally landed his greatest prize – HAN SOLO, frozen in carbonite for easy transport. Fett will bring the smuggler to TATOOINE to collect the massive bounty placed on Solo’s head by the fearsome crime lord JABBA THE HUTT. Sounds easy. What could go wrong?”
Writing & Plot
Taking place almost immediately after Han Solo being frozen in carbonite in Empire Strikes Back, Charles Soule decides to add some complications to Boba Fett’s journey back to Jabba’s palace with his gift for the crime lord. In short, Fett needs some help from an untrustworthy acquaintance, and in order to get that help he needs to kill someone in a classic “kill Peter to Pay Paul to rescue your enormous bounty” type situation. Souls writes this scenario is a manner that fits in seamlessly with the rest of the main Star Wars film story as a whole, without anything feeling forced in for the purpose of canon. This is a kickass representation of our favorite Mandalorian (Din Djarin not withstanding) doing kickass things while sprinkling in some nostalgia and fan service without ever going overboard. The dialogue is absolutely spot-on, to the point where I was reading Fett’s words in Temuera Morrison’s voice (no disrespect to Jeremy Bulloch, I grew up on the Prequels and Clone Wars) and it all just felt right. This single issue accomplishes a ton in terms of action and focused storytelling, crafting a tightly packed but perfectly paced single comic chapter that still teases more story to come. Charles Soule once again demonstrates just how good he is at this with another Star Wars issue that is both a blast to read and a great addition to the universe’s canon.
I don’t think I realized just how much I wanted Steve McNiven to draw a Star Wars book, especially one starring Boba Fett, until I saw the interiors for “Star Wars” War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha” #1. McNivern’s pencils and style of cross-hatching create a texture and detail that stands out not only among Marvel’s Star Wars outings, but in comics as a whole. This book is immaculately detailed in terms of both its characters and environmental art. Aliens new and old look like they came right out of an ILM storyboard, and the city streets and alleys of Nar Shaddaa are alive with grimy architecture. The action is choreographed with fantastic speed and intensity, making for some of the most exciting and brutal fighting to be found in Star Wars media. The colors from Laura Martin are vibrant while also exhibiting a kind of used and worn look, firmly placing this story and its setting into the sort of sketchy environment our famous bounty hunter is inhabiting. The lighting effects are a huge highlight of the visuals here, as not only do they give the panels dimension but they tint everything else being the lights in a given panel. This makes the explosions feel bigger and the city feel even more teeming with activity. The letters from Travis Lanham really shine in the sound effects department, with every impact and noise exhoing off the page with fantastic font choice. This is a staggeringly good looking Star Wars comic that perfectly fits the high-impact storytelling going on in these pages.
“Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha”#1 is a (literal) blast of a chapter in the Star Wars universe. This snippet featuring an all-time favorite and involving some of the most important plot points in the films is handled with both care and ingenuity by Charles Soule, who writes one of the most entertaining Star Wars comics I’ve ever read. The visual work of Steve McNiven and Laura Martin is simply superb, with work that explodes off the page and brings the grimy underworld of the Galaxy Far Far Away to life in all its bloody glory. Be sure to grab this issue when it hits shelves on 5-5!