Published: September 22, 2021
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Artist: Paolo Villanelli
Colourist: Arif Prianto
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Nolan Woodard
• VALANCE and DENGAR make a last stand against DEATHSTICK!
• T’ONGA seeks help from a LEGENDARY BOUNTY HUNTER!
• The bounty hunters converge on a high-stakes auction as CRIMSON DAWN’S plans come into focus!
As usual we’ll start with the covers. The direct cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Nolan Woodard is my favourite that they have produced together for this series. It shows Fett careening towards Valance and Dengar with the Vermillion in the background. It’s a cover that feels action filled and sets a positive tone for the coming pages. The fifteenth (of 36) Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary covers is another brilliant look back at 2 iconic prequel bad guys. I love the atmosphere that comes off the page with Grievous and Dooku looking ominous. Then we have Paolo Villanelli and Mattia Iacono’s collaboration to bring us Valance’s Broken Wing in blueprint format.
The issue follows closely to the path of War of the Bounty Hunters #4, but where we previously had issues that were near enough verbatim of other titles, this issue does well to approach it from a different angle while filling in some of the gaps because it goes into more detail from the perspective of Dengar and Valance and it contributes more to the crossover.
Valance secretly reaching out to Kondra, brings a prompt reminder of where we started. Cadeliah is hidden away on a secret rebel base living a ‘normal’ life, away from the knowledge of who seeks her.
After landing on Jekara, Valance and Dengar are too late for the Crimson Dawn auction, but they are still in a position to halt Boba Fett in his pursuit. Valance’s loyalty now lies with Solo, which means Fett is the enemy. Or does it? Dengar is only after Fett; Fett wants Solo alive, like Valance; so, it makes sense for them to team up. And this time, it’s Valance’s turn to double cross his unlikely partner and he abandon’s Dengar, with the help of Fett, to an icy fate.
All the time this is going on, Losha and T’onga are now teamed up with Zuckuss and Tasu Leech. They are still in pursuit of Valance and Zuckuss is using his findsman skills to locate his whereabouts. This is something that I found funny as Losha believes Zuckuss has traced them to Jekara by magic, when it is via the tracking device planted on Punishing One.
This leads us to being reunited with Bossk. Left for dead by Fett in a previous issue, he is still alive and although missing his lower limbs and being tied up, Leech finds that he is still dangerous. Not only that, but it seems as though he’s going to be useful as he knows about Valance and his whereabouts.
And what of Dengar? Well, floating away on an iceberg, it looks likely his time is up. A Zygorak has broken the surface and Dengar is preparing to fight it with a vibroblade, there can only be one outcome, and that’s not the one I expected. Deathstick adds another twist to the plot and blows the Zygorak apart. She wants to collect on Dengar’s promise to her on Canto Bight and the details of Valance’s earlier attempted communication with Kondra will now surely come back to haunt him.
There is so much going on in this issue! The pace is relentless and there are twists and turns on every page. It’s a gripping read that progresses the storyline rapidly. I love the balance that Sacks keeps between his underlying story and the crossover event. I have said in previous reviews that Bounty Hunters seems to be more independent than other titles despite this issue being firmly planted within the events of War of the Bounty Hunters. Although in saying that, I truly believe that this series and Valance will play a major factor in Han Solo’s return to Boba Fett.
Sacks also makes it feel like the end is getting closer. The stitches seem to be being pulled up tighter, but I can’t make up my mind whether that is just for the War of the Bounty Hunters cross over, or for the potential close to the run of Bounty Hunters. I desperately hope that this series isn’t drawing to a close as I think it has the potential to run for quite some time to come.
One thing that will come to an end in issue 17 is the involvement of Paolo Villanelli. Sadly, it will be his final issue of the series, so I’m sure he has some stellar artwork up his sleeve for what is hopefully not his last Star Wars contribution.
Bounty Hunters #16 was published by Marvel Comics on September 22, 2021. It retails at $3.99 and is available from your local comic book store, via the Marvel Comics App and online retailers.