The second issue of Charles Soule’s War of the Bounty Hunters comic released today, and it’s setting up all of the pieces in place for the massive auction for the carbonite-frozen body of Han Solo.
That gets underway in this issue, with seemingly every major player getting involved – including some who weren’t exactly invited.
Let’s dive in to a review of the issue, but be warned that full spoilers are ahead!
The Crimson Dawn fortress-flagship, the Vermillion, is on Jekara, hosting a number of crime syndicates for a party. Crimson Dawn’s leader, Qi’ra, watches on as Black Sun, the Pykes, the Empire (represented by Sly Moore), and the Hutts are among those attending the party, discussing the return of Crimson Dawn and what’s going on.
Meanwhile, outside the ship, Boba Fett arrives, and he spots some late arrivals to the party. He demands that they hand over their invitation and a cloak, but he’s met by a surprise attack from Bossk, who is looking to cash in on the bounty Jabba the Hutt placed on Boba’s head. But Fett fights back, using his flamethrower and rockets to seriously injure the Trandoshan bounty hunter, as Bossk lost his legs in the explosion. Bossk notes that they will grow back, and Fett decides to let him live, tying him up and letting him serve as a message warning others against coming after Boba.
Aboard the Vermillion, Doctor Aphra and Sana Starros share drinks, taking in the revelry of the party atmosphere, when they are spotted by a mysterious cloaked figure, whom Aphra says sounds just like a clone from the Battle of Coruscant holos, who threatens to reveal Aphra’s identity to these syndicates (who has a history with most of them) unless they help him. All he wants them to do is create a diversion when he requests it. As he slips away into the crowd, Qi’ra appears and gives a speech welcoming her guests and unveiling the prize: Han Solo. She gets the bidding started at one hundred thousand credits, and the syndicates quickly jump at it, outbidding one another. Sly Moore attempts to use a mind trick to keep the others from bidding, but it doesn’t work on the Hutts. Jabba and Bokku both keep bidding against one another, but Jabba ultimately wins the prize for one million credits.
Meanwhile, the mysterious cloaked figure removes his cloak, and Boba Fett then puts on his armor once again. As he prepares to make his move, however, he runs into Leia Organa, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca. They’re also preparing to make their move and are in conversation with Luke Skywalker, who has almost arrived and is cautioning them against acting until he’s there. Everything is interrupted, however, by an uninvited visitor just as Jabba is about to make off with his prize.
Darth Vader shows up, saying that Captain Solo belongs to him. As he watches this unfold, Boba Fett responds to himself, “We’ll see.”
This issue gives us the start of the auction for Han Solo, but it seems too that it’s moving all of the pieces into place for what will surely be an explosive third issue next month. The syndicates are all there – Black Sun, the Pykes, the Hutts. The Empire is there – not just Sly Moore, but also now Darth Vader. Doctor Aphra and Sana Starros are trying to blend in and use it for their advantage, but now they’re enlisted to help Boba Fett – while Aphra’s fear of meeting Vader again look realistic. Boba Fett has snuck in and is ready to make his move, determined to get his prize back. And the Rebels have done the same, with Leia, Lando, and Chewie on the ground and Luke on the way.
Qi’ra revels in it all. Even when Vader shows up, striking fear in many, Qi’ra merely smiles and says, “Well, well, well. Let’s see where this goes.” We know that her plans in all of this is to put Crimson Dawn back on the map, making a grand resurgence after years of lying dormant and being presumed dead. But I don’t think that is purely monetary; though Solo will fetch a high price, I think that Qi’ra sees multiple avenues of how Crimson Dawn’s return could play out. Firstly, they’ve now gotten their name out there once again, and they’re able to interact with and host so many of the major players in the galaxy. Secondly, the sale of Han Solo will surely give them more firm standing financially, with Jabba willing to pay one million credits for him! But thirdly, this issue hints at the fact that getting these players in the same room will be… explosive. Aphra notes this, and Jabba alludes to it as well (as he’s assuming Boba might show up). And surely Qi’ra recognizes it too. I think that’s why she’s intrigued by Vader showing up; she’s ok with whatever happens, so long as she lives.
In other words, I think that Qi’ra’s plan for the return of Crimson Dawn could very easily be accomplished by some of these syndicates and organizations fighting against one another, in a sense eliminating more of their competition – which would pave the way for Crimson Dawn to rise. So basically, I think Qi’ra sees this as a win no matter what happens, so long as she lives to tell about it (and there’s no sense from her that she’s not expecting to).
But this issue focused more on Boba Fett than on anyone else, as Fett is determined to get into the party and get his prize. He makes quick work of Bossk, which quickly establishes Fett’s prowess and makes it clear that he’s going after Solo and doesn’t care who stands in his way. I’m extremely excited to see Boba Fett put his plan into action, as it seems that he’s going to go against Darth Vader, the crime syndicates, and the Rebellion for Han Solo – so surely things are going to get pretty crazy. And even though we know that Fett ultimately does wind up with Solo, I don’t think it takes much of the intrigue out of it, since we have no idea how that happens.
So even though there weren’t too many huge developments in this issue, it’s nonetheless setting everything into place. With Darth Vader’s arrival on the final page of the issue, we realize that the stakes have been raised – because unlike Sly Moore, Vader probably isn’t going to be eager to negotiate. Things are probably about to get pretty crazy, and we’re surely going to see Boba Fett make his move next issue. I can’t wait to see it; after this issue moved all the pieces into place, I’m ready for things to get crazy.