14th May2021

‘Star Wars #13’ Review (Marvel Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Charles Soule | Art by Ramon Rosanas | Published by Marvel Comics

Every time I pick up a Star Wars book, it makes me wonder why I’m not picking up more Star Wars books. I always enjoy them when I read them, but for whatever reason they are never top of the pile. Maybe that’s why Marvel have launched their ‘War of the Bounty Hunters’ event, with big banners across the covers catching the eye. Caught mine, so kudos to the cover design people. I always think part of the fun with Star Wars is the constant attempt to fill in continuity gaps, to flesh out minor characters with a back story, and to nail down timelines and the geography of an entire galaxy. When this has to be done across film, TV, animation, comics, books, even audio adaptations, that’s a whole lot of adventuring going on. Which is why I’m really looking forward to both this particular issue, and this special event. Let’s take a look.

So, this is cover blurbed as the prelude to ‘War of the Bounty Hunters’, so I thought it was the kick off issue. Apparently not, as reference is directly made in it to the currently out Boba Fett Special, the events of which I won’t ruin here. In the grand scheme of things, timeline wise, we are at that point in Star Wars history where Han Solo is currently frozen in carbonite and in the custody of Boba Fett, everybody’s favourite silent bounty hunter. Also, this being comic book retcon territory, the Rebel fleet has been waiting to hear from rebel fighter Shara Bey, who has been missing in action after Starlight Squadron’s first mission. Shara is alive and (relatively) well, hiding on the Imperial Star Destroyer Tarkin’s Will. The Rebellion, though, have yet to track down the whereabouts of the Han Solo popsicle…
The issue starts with a lovely slice of classic Star Wars, with Luke training with those flying ball droids. After a fun little interlude with R2-D2 and C-3PO, Chewbacca arrives, asking for Luke’s help. A contact has spotted Boba Fett on the smugglers moon, Nar Shaddaa, and where Boba is, Han is. Luke’s in, and the game’s afoot. So, the group make it to Nar Shaddaa, where they are told of a new champion of the Garkata Fighting Arena. He’s called Jango, but he sure looks like Bobba. Luke does some investigating, which goes about as well as you would expect and ends up with a lot of disgruntled criminals pointing guns at his head.

Turns out the Kanji crime syndicate is pretty unhappy that Boba killed their meal ticket in the arena, and mistakenly think Luke is a friend of Boba. When that misunderstanding is cleared up, they double down on the conflict by trying to kill Luke and Chewie, and take the droids for scrap. They then triple down on things when they learn Luke is a Jedi, and decide to try and capture Luke to claim the Empire reward for Jedi’s brought in. A frantic and frenetic chase ensues, as Luke and gang try to escape the settlement as seemingly everyone tries to stop them. Soule writes a fantastic sequence that could have been ripped right out of the original trilogy, culminating in a dramatic exit via the Millenium Falcon. No information, no Han, no anything. Chewie is crestfallen, as are we. Then Princess Leia tells them something that may change everything…

Probably wasn’t the easiest assignment, to squeeze in a major event between the end of The Empire Strikes Back and the beginning of Return of the Jedi, but I think Charles Soule and Marvel editorial have managed just that. We know from the films how it started and ended, but this War of the Bounty Hunters will reveal the in-between. If the rest of the storyline is as good as this first issue, this will be a great storyline. Charles Soule delivers a strong story with great characterization, believable scenarios, and fun set pieces. The art and colouring, by Ramon Rosanas and Rachelle Rosenberg is equally stellar, with a real classic feel, feeling a little like the art from the old Marvel and Dark Horse books. The art has lovely clean lines, captures quite a dense script perfectly, and really captures the pace of the adventure and the body language of all the main characters. They all look great too.

This was an issue that was designed to pull you in for the upcoming storyline, and it certainly does that. Can’t wait to see where this all goes…

Or how we get to the bit where it all goes to the bit where it all goes.

**** 4/5

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