STAR WARS: BOUNTY HUNTERS #1 is a worthy complement to The Mandalorian on Disney+, taking place just after the events of The Empire Strikes Back.
(What? You haven’t seen The Mandalorian!? Stop reading and watch it now. Did you do that? Okay, let’s go!)
Lee Bermejo painted a highly textured and gorgeous cover. I’m a stickler for proper lighting and shadows on the cover of a comic book. Bermejo nails the shadows with a beautiful night scene.
Ethan Sacks evokes the spirit of the original trilogy here. It’s no secret Lucasfilm has had a rough time in the last few years, and maybe they would do well to take a cue from Sacks (just sayin’). Sacks takes a few of the minor characters from Empire and builds a compelling setup for a mission-gone-wrong. He peppers in just enough easter eggs to make this story feel like it’s part of the Star Wars Universe while still allowing the story to stand on its own.
The only critique is that the story is mostly a setup that chooses to withhold a key element. Why are the bounty hunters chasing one of their own? Nakano Lash has done something that’s not completely explained, and that lessens the empathy (or not) for both the hunter and the hunted, depending on your perspective.
Arif Prianto manages to do something here that most colorists either forget or don’t know how to do: colorizing for flashbacks. The first few pages appear muted, almost dull until you realize it’s intentional to separate scenes from the past with the present. Prianto does an expert job transitioning the colors to convey the passage of time.
Does anybody know what laser guns sound like? No, but Travis Lanham makes you believe those sounds are real without actually making a sound. That’s the highest compliment you can give a letterer, and Lanham deserves it here. What does “FZZYYUUU” sound like in real life? Unknown, but it works.
When you mix established characters with new ones, there’s a risk they won’t look like they fit together. Paolo Villanelli took a chance and won with the designs of a whole cadre of bounty hunters and seedy gangsters.
Villanelli also made a host of wise choices with the camera angles on nearly every page, giving this issue, filled with action, a lot of energy.
My favorite panel can be found on page 22 on two successive close-up panels. All you see is a gloved hand reach for the ship’s throttle. The hand pauses then retracts. It’s a simple, little movement, but in that simple, little close-up, you understand precisely what the character is thinking and what they’re about to do. Without seeing a facial expression or saying a word, his intention is clear, well done, Villanelli.
STAR WARS: Bounty Hunters #1 is a perfect tie-in to The Empire Strikes Back that pairs well with The Mandalorian. I highly recommended this book for any Star Wars fan.