Did Zuckuss and 4-LOM die in War of the Bounty Hunters #1?

In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader enlists the help of a number of bounty hunters to hunt the Millennium Falcon.

There was, of course, Boba Fett – by far the most well-known of the group, and the one who is ultimately successful. There’s Bossk, the Trandoshan who has since appeared in a number of episodes of The Clone Wars. There’s Dengar and IG-11, and then there’s Zuckuss and 4-LOM. The latter two are without a doubt the least-known of the group, but they showed up in the first issue of Charles Soule’s War of the Bounty Hunters comic series.

The series is set after The Empire Strikes Back and explores Fett’s journey to deliver Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt. But it’s not all easy for Fett, who loses possession of Solo, which leads to a galactic chase in which plenty of people get involved – including, obviously, other bounty hunters. And that includes Zuckuss and 4-LOM.

In Ethan Sacks’s Bounty Hunters #12, a prelude to this series, we learn that Dengar and Valance are working together searching for Solo, but Zuckuss and 4-LOM catch them. In order to save his own life, Dengar reveals to them the current location of Boba Fett. We know from Soule’s War of the Bounty Hunters Alpha issue that Fett is on Nar Shadda, where Han Solo is stolen from him. Well, in War of the Bounty Hunters #1, Zuckuss and 4-LOM catch up to Fett.

They rig an explosive on Slave I that is meant to disrupt Fett but not cause much damage, and the two of them work together to get the upper hand on their target. But Boba Fett isn’t that easy to defeat, and he uses his full arsenal in fighting back: from his jetpack to guns to explosives to the guns of Slave I. His retribution leaves 4-LOM badly damaged and Zuckuss hanging on for his life on the edge of the platform. Zuckuss pleads for his life and offers to tell Fett his future, saying that he’ll be drowning in a sea of red. Fett says he doesn’t care and kicks Zuckuss off the platform, letting him fall – to his death?

Fett then approaches the damaged body of 4-LOM and removes the droid’s head, taking it and plugging it into the Slave I computers to learn what’s going on. He discovers that the bounty was actually placed on him rather than on Solo, and that it was placed there by Jabba the Hutt. So Fett travels to Tatooine, and as he approaches Jabba’s Palace, 4-LOM tries to persuade Fett that he can be useful. Instead, Fett tosses the droid’s head off the walkway – to his death?

But is this really how Zuckuss and 4-LOM meet their end? Perhaps not. After all, in Star Wars, one of the fundamental principles is that if we don’t actually see the body after someone falls, they’re probably alive. But that’s not why I’m suggesting that they’re still alive. After reading the issue, I at first thought that we’d just learned how these two bounty hunters died – but then I was reminded that we’ve already gotten the publisher’s summary for the Zuckuss and 4-LOM one-shot coming in August as part of the War of the Bounty Hunters line, and here’s what it says:

ZUCKUSS BATTLES 4-LOM! WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS TIE-IN! Together, lethal droid 4-LOM and Gand Findsman Zuckuss make an unparalleled bounty hunting team. Yet a brutal battle with Boba Fett has divided them. Lost and alone on the crime-infested streets of Nar Shaddaa, Zuckuss faces down an utterly transformed 4-LOM…but why is his old friend out for blood? The answer may lie in the past, from an early mission that helped forge their formidable partnership. Daniel José Older and Kei Zama’s one-shot is the second of four action-packed “War of the Bounty Hunters” tie-ins about the criminal underworld’s most notorious hunters and scoundrels, all told by the best STAR WARS writers and illustrators in the galaxy.

That certainly seems to me to indicate that this issue is actually set after the events of War of the Bounty Hunters #1. The brutal battle with Boba Fett is probably what we just saw in this issue. Zuckuss, it seems, has fallen to “the crime-infested streets of Nar Shadda.” And, of course, he’s separated from 4-LOM because of what has happened – though it doesn’t seem like that’ll be the case for long. Something happens and 4-LOM turns on his ally, and it then sounds like we’ll probably get some flashbacks to the beginning of their friendship.

But the point here is that it sounds like they survived the events of this comic and will return down the line. I do like the fact that this first issue raised the stakes such that we aren’t sure whether certain people survive the events of this story, but it looks like for now, Zuckuss and 4-LOM have.

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