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Comic Book / Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters

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War of the Bounty Hunters is a 2021 Marvel Comics Bat Family Crossover set in the Star Wars universe, the first of its kind.

In The Empire Strikes Back, the villainous Darth Vader put Han Solo into Carbonite and gave him to Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett to deliver to Jabba the Hutt for his transgressions. We all know that Han arrives at Tatooine in Jabba's palace, but how did he get there? A treasure like Han Solo should have had all the other bounty hunters after Fett and the Carbonite, right?

This massive 34-part crossover event, spanning through Star Wars (Marvel 2015), Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020), Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, a self-titled mini-series and a series of one-shots, sees the Rebellion, Boba Fett, the Empire, and numerous other figures fighting for possession of Han Solo's cell. It would also set up for a comic trilogy, with next chapters being Crimson Reign and Hidden Empire.

Tropes in this event include:

  • An Arm and a Leg: In Issue #2, Boba blows off Bossk's legs. Bossk notes that as a Trandroshan, he's got a Healing Factor that will grow them back.
  • Anachronic Order: Four different separate comic series and several oneshots are tied together by the main miniseries, so everything is not necessarily released in the order that they happen in. This is especially true of the Bounty Hunters issues, most of which occur before the main event series and only catch up during the back half of the crossover's release schedule.
  • And I Must Scream: Discussed. After stealing Han's carbonite cell from Boba, Margo asks if Han is still conscious while frozen. Qi'ra answers that she hopes he isn't.
  • Auction of Evil: The main plot is driven by Crimson Dawn stealing Han's carbonite slab and offering it up to the highest bidder at an assemblage of every other criminal syndicate in the galaxy (and the Empire).
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Carboniting living beings. As it turns out, using it is very unstable and, as Boba Fett finds out, Han's cell isn't thawing, it's melting.
    • Tagge Co's "protoblade" is an attempt to make a lightsaber without needing a kyber crystal. While extremely potent, it shorts out very quickly, making it useless for mass production, though Domina wields it well during Boushh's attack on the Tagge executive board.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • Crimson Dawn manages to successfully announce their presence to the galaxy, and disrupt the alliance between the Hutts and Empire, creating room for them to rise.
    • While he wasn't planning on it, Jabba comes out of the event pretty well — not only does he ultimately get ahold of Han, but Qi'ra's manipulations result in the deaths of the Hutt council, leaving Jabba the ultimate authority among his people.
    • And of course, Boba Fett successfully reacquires Han, delivers him to Jabba without further incident, and claims his payment.
  • Bat Family Crossover: For the Star Wars comics.
  • Berserk Button: Boba does not take it well if his ship is damaged, seeing as it belonged to his father.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: It was already hinted at elsewhere in the expanded universe, but the Boushh oneshot shows that the Tagge family is full of backstabbing schemers who can't stand each other.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • This comic sees the return of Qi'ra, who hasn't been seen since Solo, and is now in charge of Crimson Dawn after Maul's death.
    • Also appearing is a still-living General Hurst Romodi from Rogue One and A New Hope, revealing that he wasn't on the Death Star when it was destroyed.
    • Chanath Cha also returns after having been absent in the comics since her last chronological appearance (and debut) in the Star Wars: Lando comic.
  • Call-Back:
  • Call-Forward: Deva warns Boushh that making Black Sun upset is going to catch up with him, and sure enough by the time of Return of the Jedi they'd had him killed for trying to blackmail them.
  • The Cameo: Among those present at the end during Qi'ra's speech are Ren and Vicrul.
  • Carnival of Killers: After becoming convinced that Boba double-crossed him, Jabba puts an open bounty on him, leading to every bounty hunter in the galaxy coming after him.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the bounty hunters is Deathstick from Star Wars: Uprising.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: In the Jabba the Hutt one-shot issue, one of Deva Lompop's weapons is a skin-melting gas grenade, the effects of which are gruesomely demonstrated on one of Jarm Brock's Mooks. Which is probably less brutal than what she does to Jarm himself.
  • Cult: Crimson Dawn is as much this as it is a crime syndicate, given its members' blind obedience to the group.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: To get into a ring to murder a target, Boba disguises himself and uses his father's name, Jango Fett, to get into the tournament ring.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Deva helps Crimson Dawn undermine Jabba, as payback for how he keeps reneging on his promise to free her of his debt to her.
  • Enemy Mine: Fett and Valance ultimately team up to retrieve Han after the Empire takes him from Crimson Dawn. A temporary alliance as Fett throws a thermal grenade onto Valance's body when they're in reach of Han.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Boushh's oneshot shows that he was part of a close-knit Family of Choice.
  • False Flag Operation: As shown in the Jabba the Hutt one-shot, several years ago Crimson Dawn undercut Jabba's operations on Tatooine and made it look like Bokku was responsible, turning the Hutts against each other.
  • First-Episode Twist: The ending of the first issue (not counting the prelude comic) reveals that the Crimson Dawn syndicate is back, and they have stolen Han Solo from Boba Fett on Qi'ra's orders.
  • Foregone Conclusion
    • No matter what happens in this series, we know from Return of the Jedi that Boba Fett will regain possession of Han and hand him over to Jabba.
    • Remembering the fight with Vader in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke agrees that Yoda was right, that he was not ready. Still, we know that he won't return to him for more training, as that also happens in Return of the Jedi.
  • From Bad to Worse: Boba's day just keeps getting worse — Han's cell is melting, he's forced to murder a combatant in arena combat to get the money to pay the guy who can fix it, the Hutts in control of the betting want Fett to be their fighter now and while he's dealing with them, some shadowy figure goes and steals Han's cell. Yeah, sorry Jabba, it's gonna be a minute.
  • Gambit Pileup: When one takes both the main event series and the simultaneous plots of the tied-in series into account. There's whatever sort of power play Crimson Dawn is trying to make with the auction, the attending syndicates all competing in the auction, Sly Moore trying to use the auction to undermine Vader, Vader himself showing up to claim Han for himself, Aphra and Sana infiltrating the auction for Domina Tagge, Aphra's former associate Just Lucky and his partner Ariole Yu also infiltrating so that they can carry out an assassination for their employer, the Rebels trying to crash the auction so that they can save Han, and on top of all that, Boba Fett trying to steal back Han so that he can complete his contract with Jabba.
  • Identical Twin Mistake: During a flashback in the 4-LOM & Zuckuss one-shot, the titular duo first teamed up to take down a Culisetto warlord and droid mechanic named Cribiriz Idollax. They apparently killed Cribiriz by blowing him in half, but it's revealed that Cribiriz is still alive in the present, who tries to get revenge against Zuckuss by attaching 4-LOM's head to a large war droid and reprogramming him to kill Zuckuss. Zuckuss finds Cribiriz in a back alley during the assassination attempt, who then reveals that it wasn't him that they killed during that hunt, but his identical and more innocent brother, Sribiriz.
  • Ignored Epiphany: In the 4-LOM & Zuckuss one-shot, Zuckuss learns that Cribiriz Idollax reprogrammed 4-LOM to kill Zuckuss as revenge for unknowingly killing his brother Sribiriz during their first team-up, and Zuckuss realizes that he and Cribiriz aren't so different since they both lost someone they were really close to (4-LOM for Zuckuss, Sribiriz for Cribiriz). What does Zuckuss gather from this? He must kill Cribiriz to save 4-LOM from his control.
  • Internal Reveal: Lando reveals to Leia that Han had personal history with Qi'ra. Later, Qi'ra herself relates to Leia a few details about her and Han's lives back on Corellia.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Vader's arrival at the auction is seen from multiple angles in War of the Bounty Hunters #2, Doctor Aphra #12 and Darth Vader #14, showing virtually every protagonist in each series freaking out on realising he's there; Lando's reduced to a Rapid-Fire "No!" as he and the other Rebel heroes watch in horror, Aphra has a full-on panic attack and Sly Moore realises precisely how hard Vader has set her up to fail. The only one not rattled by him seems to be Qi'ra.
  • Metaphorically True: When Doctor Aphra is approached by an incognito Boba Fett, from the sound of his voice she's certain he's one of the old Clone soldiers. He declares that he's not and is someone else. They're all half-accurate about Fett.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Darth Vader defies Luke: come and resume the interrupted fight, or Solo will be cut in half. Luke escaped.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Deva owes Jabba an unspecified blood debt, and every time he suggests that he'll free her from it after she does a favor for him, he reneges afterwards.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • No-Sell: Sly Moore uses a mind trick to keep the other auction attendees from bidding on Han so that the Empire can take him... and is shocked to find that it has no effect on Jabba and the other Hutts, who keep bidding unimpeded.
  • Nothing Personal: Jabba says as much to Fett regarding the contract put out on the latter.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: IG-88 paraphrases this statement when Fett comments on its supposed destruction by Vader.
  • The Rival: Bokku is one to Jabba on the Hutt council, arguing with him over everything and getting into a bidding war during the auction. He eventually turns out to be The Starscream, working with Crimson Dawn to undermine and overthrow Jabba.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: A side theme is the contrast of Lando pragmatically seeing & operating "in shades of grey" against Leia's idealistic and "everything is only black & white" view.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Qi'ra wasn't exactly a slouch in Solo, but here she's skilled enough to go one-on-one with Vader when the Dark Lord looks set to take Solo without paying. She loses, but even Vader admits to being impressed with her skill. Justified in that it's strongly implied Maul trained her personally after we last saw her.
  • Un-person: As shown in Boushh's oneshot, when Ubese are exiled from their homeworld, all mention of them is wiped from the public record, and no one's allowed to ever speak their names again.
  • We Are Everywhere: It becomes evident across the series and the tie-ins that Crimson Dawn has moles in every major crime syndicate and even the Empire itself. Ochi is one of them.
  • We Need a Distraction:
    • Luke uses his arrival at the planet where the auction is happening to lure Vader away from the action.
    • In the final issue of the main series, Qi'ra orders Bokku to lead the Hutts in attacking the Executor in order to distract the Imperials so that the Rebels can try and sneak aboard to save Han.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of the first issue of the main War of the Bounty Hunters comic. Who stole Han from Boba Fett? Why none other than Crimson Dawn, which has not only returned, but is now led by Qi'ra.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Fett advises Jabba to toss Han's carbonite block into the Sarlacc pit rather than keep it around, just in case.
  • The Worf Effect: Subverted. Qi'ra is the new big character in the Star Wars lore, with a high role in this crossover. Even defies Darth Vader at the auction and fights him, while everybody else chickens. You would expect a victory against the biggest Star Wars villain, or at least a stalemate, but no: Vader wins without breaking a sweat, and if he doesn't end it with a killing blow was because he got distracted by other events of higher importance for him.