Intergalactic bounty hunters are big business these days, especially with the supernova explosion of interest surrounding Disney's live-action series, The Mandalorian, and Marvel Comics' exceptional Star Wars: Target Vader miniseries from writer Robbie Thompson and artist Mark Laming.
Now Marvel is upping the ante on these radical rogue scoundrels in Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, a rousing new ongoing series that shines a spotlight on the darker corners of the galaxy far, far away and showcases many fan favorites in a wild shootout that reverberates across the cosmos — and SYFY WIRE has an expanded preview of the premiere issue which lands on our planet March 11.
Written by Ethan Sacks (Empire Ascendant, Galaxy's Edge) and matched with ferocious art by Paolo Villanelli (Vader: Dark Visions, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order), Star Wars: Bounty Hunters focuses on fallen Imperial office Beilert Valance, the mad-dog cyborg bounty hunter who first appeared in Marvel’s Han Solo – Imperial Cadet miniseries and was also featured in last year's Target Vader.
This time, Valance has a serious score to settle with his former mentor, Nakano Lash, who later betrayed him, Boba Fett, and Bossk in an earlier mission that went terribly awry. Now Lash has finally resurfaced under mysterious circumstances and every card-carrying bounty hunter in the galaxy wants a piece of him, dead or alive. Valance is hell-bent on grabbing this lucrative prize first, but the notorious Boba Fett just might stand in his way.
"So much of Star Wars is focused on those wars in the stars, but so much is happening on the ground, in those seedy back alleys of those seedy spaceports," Sacks tells SYFY WIRE. "We wanted to turn the lens on the bounty hunters that navigate the gray areas, who don't really care if the Rebels or Empire win, and actually are making their money off this larger war amid the suffering of so many others. As a writer, it's such a rich canvas with which to start and go any number of directions. In Beilert Valance, a broken former Imperial soldier who is building himself back up both literally and figuratively, we have a great guide whichever way we take you."
Sacks explains his attraction to the bounty hunter lifestyle and its compelling component of the Star Wars Saga.
"Quite simply, it's the moral ambiguity," he reveals. "There are plenty of gradations between Jedi and Sith or Rebel vs. Imperial. There are also a lot of poor souls caught in between those polar opposites, scrounging for a living or just fighting to survive. I love exploring the type of badasses that can not only survive, but thrive in that setting. Besides, ever since Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back blew apart my seven-year-old brain, I've dreamed of pitting Bossk against a Wookiee. And now, thanks to my editors, Mark Paniccia and Thomas Groneman, I got to do just that."
Regarding his stellar art team on this project, Sacks has nothing but high praise and admiration.
"So much for no disintegrations.... our art team of Paolo Villanelli and colorist Arif Prianto will blow your minds," Sacks offers. "Paolo is a master of kinetic energy, the action scenes are so visceral, it pulls you right into the battles. Arif's colors give everything an immersive feel, like putting on a pair of 3-D glasses when you turn a page. Plus, his bounty hunters just look so good.
"Lee Bermejo is the master of gritty details. You can feel every scratch in Boba Fett's armor, every line in Bossk's leathery face, every little rivet on Valance's cybernetic parts. His covers drag you right into that world. It feels like putting together the ultimate heist crew."
Now blast into our preview of Marvel's Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 in the full gallery below, with a bonanza of brutal assassin action to pique your interest for its Mar. 11 debut.