reflection

Like much of the recent Star Wars output, War of the Bounty Hunters #2 is a solidly entertaining but very busy comic that mixes intriguing character mingling with big appearances, nearly overstuffing its page length.
Writing/Plot
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Letters

Review: Placing Bets On A Frozen Smuggler In STAR WARS: WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS #2

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Writer Charles Soule and artist Luke Ross return with another chapter from the Galaxy Far, Far Away in Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #2. Along with colorist Neeraj Menon and letterer Travis Lanham, this is an entertaining but very busy comic. With a script full of engaging character moments but too many characters and solid but bland visuals, this is a mostly compelling read that makes a few missteps.

“Notorious bounty hunter BOBA FETT has tracked his missing prize — heroic smuggler HAN SOLO, frozen in carbonite — to the remote, frozen world of JEKARA. But representatives from many of the galaxy’s most powerful factions have gathered, and they all want the same thing — Solo. Things go from bad to worse, as Boba Fett realizes that he himself has become almost as valuable to the galaxy’s hunters as Han Solo, and he must turn to the least trustworthy person in the galaxy for help…DOCTOR APHRA…”

Writing & Plot

Charles Soule (Star Wars: Darth Vader; Daredevil) has consistently written great Star Wars comics for quite some time now. So when I say that War of the Bounty Hunters #2 is a solidly entertaining issue it should come as no surprise. This chapter puts us directly in a party hosted by Qi’ra to sell off the recently frozen Han Solo. While this is happening, Boba Fett is still trying to reclaim that same prize, after Qi’ra’s Crimson Dawn organization stole it from him. Soule packs in a ton of fantastic dialogues from numerous characters here. All of the conversations are interesting and the dialogue writing is naturalistic and feels right coming from the characters that are speaking.

My personal favorite moment is, of course, the appearance of Doctor Aphra. Soule writes our favorite thieving archeologist/walking disaster spectacularly well, taking notes from Gillen’s original run. This issue is focused much less on action and more on setting up the players for the rest of the story. There’s only one fight with Boba, and while exciting and important in Star Wars lore, it ends pretty quickly. While this is a solidly written issue with a lot to offer, some problems crop up in the latter half. Soule starts to overstuff the script with character appearances in the final pages of this chapter. It’s clear he’s just setting up the next issue, but it gets distracting and a little bit ridiculous here.

Star Wars on the whole has had a problem with stuffing classic characters into stories to artificially increase the entertainment value. I know that isn’t what Soule is trying to do here, but it is still a noticeable detractor. Still, this is a wholly entertaining comic overall, with an engaging script that loses its edge near the end.

Art Direction

Luke Ross returns to provide his simplistic yet effective for Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #2. His solid penciling pulls us into this party of underworld cutthroats with effective character animations and architecture. Ross only really provides detail where it counts, saving his best work for the close-up shots of characters’ facial expressions. Choreography and action sequences are full of momentum, and the panel direction is intelligently put together. Ross mixes effective close-ups with wide-shots that both mimic the Star Wars cinematic style and keep the direction purely comic book-oriented. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of dimension visually that leaves the art feeling a little bland. There isn’t much by way of shadow or inking that gives the environments and characters any depth. This could likely be due to the way the colors are laid into the images.

Ariana Maher’s coloring is solid, don’t get me wrong. She utilizes a vivid and varying palette to bring the universe and characters of Star Wars to life. However, there isn’t much shade variation within the lines. This makes the panels look oddly uneventful, especially compared to the work in many of the other Star Wars comics from recent years. The lettering from Travis Lanham is, much like the rest of this comic, very solid but a bit bland. He utilizes a clean, modern font and some decent sound effect letters, but there’s nothing here that eally stands out. Visually, this is a good but unremarkable comic in the Star Wars catalog, which is full of outstanding looking chapters.

Verdict

Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters #2 is a decent comic brought down by some small issues. Charles Soule’s script is full of great dialogues and solid pacing. However, this is cheapened by a flood of sudden appearances from classic characters near the end. The art from Luke Ross and Ariana Maher is competent, but lacks dimension and leaves the experience feeling underwhelming. If you’re on board so far, then be sure to grab this issue when it hits shelves on 7/14!

Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.

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