Thursday, March 30

Review: Inferno Squad and Engaging Galaxy-Building Enter the Fray in ‘Star Wars: Bounty Hunters’ #32

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters has been on a roll recently, coming off of possibly the series’ best story arc yet. Fate brought Valance and T’onga back together, the later then revealing what the Empire took from Valance. The aftermath resulted in Valance reclaiming some of his lost humanity at great cost. Darth Vader has other things to attend to but isn’t letting Valance and the gang go that easily. The best of the best are on their way to snuff out the threat posed by the human-cyborg. Iden Versio and Inferno Squad have arrived.


Issue #32 is a weird one, and not for the reasons you might think. The story picks right back up with the level of depth we’ve come to expect from Ethan Sacks and company. It’s an interesting issue because this issue takes place after Hidden Empire #5, an issue that hasn’t even been released yet. While the ramifications are kept vague, every indication is pointing to the end of Qi’ra’s saga being only the beginning for the galaxy.


Spoilers ahead…


Bounty Hunters #32 full cover


As the issue’s cover would suggest, Zuckuss is the star of the show. We spend a large portion of this issue uncovering his past as well as life on his home planet of Gand and their ruthless findsman traditions.


Before we dig into all of that goodness, Inferno Squad is on the attack. Yeah, zero time is wasted in introducing them into the action, which was a bit jarring, but I feel like that’s on brand for Iden Versio, Gideon Hask, and Del Meeko. There is no point in beating around the bush, even if the storytelling might be better served by showing some restraint. The repercussions of the last few issues aren’t felt all that keenly, and it feels like we’re back to business as usual, which means generic plotting just there to fill a page count. It’s a disconnect I felt throughout this issue while in the present, which saddened me. The Bounty Hunters series needed a calm down and thankfully, the bulk of the issue still is.


Bounty Hunters #32


To get away from their pursuers, Zuckuss suggests flying into an asteroid field where he can utilize his tracking abilities to find a way out.


This leads them into a curious wave of energy that is nearby, whose origins seem to be tied to Hidden Empire #5. The opening crawl of this issue indicates this was caused by the opening of Qi’ra’s Fermata Cage. For the purposes of this issue, it raises some other headaches. There’s some dissonance in the art itself that I couldn’t get over.


Bounty Hunters #32


Guest artist Allesandro Miracolo (Obi-Wan) has some spotty moments. This is one of them where the colors of the asteroid field and the wave don’t match. I read over these pages multiple times, and it still felt like two separate set pieces that were unable to be pieced together. Inferno Squad and our hero’s ships feel like they are in two different places at once. Is this a sort of wormhole? Did my comic come with a page ripped out of it? It doesn’t help that the characters don’t reference this wave at all, so if they don’t care, why should I as the reader? Curious to see how this unfolds and impacts the other series, but not the best first impression.


Zuckuss falls into a trance exclusive to his Gand physiology. As it is unfamiliar to everyone else, they try waking him up since he promised to navigate them out of the asteroid field. However, this only causes Zuckuss to have a seizure, rendering him unconscious and in critical condition.


Bounty Hunters #32


We enter Zuckuss’ subconscious, where he recalls his Great Rite, a trial on his homeworld where he and the other hatchlings of his clan seek to prove themselves worthy of the title “findsman.” Prove yourself unworthy, and you will receive death… totally normal society.


The clan’s master findsman tasks Zuckuss and the others to track down t’karra flowers, which are essential for Gand’s rituals. The problem is that they reside in the nesting grounds of the deadly Charon, creatures that are a nod to old West End role-playing games. If you aren’t familiar, take a gander.



At this time in his life, Zuckuss is a loner. Being the runt of the litter, the other hatchlings naturally gang up on him and leave Zuckuss to fend for himself. They find a flower, only to be killed on the spot. This leaves Zuckuss by himself… with the Charon.


Miracolo redeems himself in the ensuing fight. With a creature design like that, it would’ve been a disaster had there not been some redemption. The dry, barren colors of Gand make the beast stand out. Eventually, Zuckuss taps into his innate findsman instincts and tricks the beast over the cliff. I appreciate the green tractor beams that help Zuckuss hone in on where to go. It’s a nice gimmick that is reused throughout.



Back at the village, he tells the clan what he accomplished. The master findsman declares Zuckuss’ victory null and void because he didn’t follow the terms of the rite to the letter. It came across to me that the idea is that Zuckuss’ noble actions messed with the natural order of things on Gand. The Charon had some cosmic purpose we aren’t meant to understand as observers of this world. The master findsman and the others, including his mother, turn their back on Zuckuss.


However, the lost findsman finds some resolve in that moment, looking inward, knowing he can forge his own path. That recollection jolts us back to the present, Zuckuss bursting awake. He gets them all out of harm’s way and onto what they believe is a safe spot. If only Inferno Squad could be stopped that easily.



As a first look into a new society, Bounty Hunters #32 was a fascinating way to expand the galaxy. The Gand way is brutal, but it’s not uncommon. This reminded me of how Grand Moff Tarkin had to face similar hardships if he was to make it on Eriadu. Even Leia had to face physically demanding trials on Alderaan. Heading into this issue, I was a bit nervous the larger story wouldn’t progress, but Sacks found a way to make it feel natural with all the flashbacks. In the process, we got a little more attached to the team.


Sacks and Miracolo fall into some common trappings that have plagued Bounty Hunters, including indecipherable panels and writing that doesn’t always flow, but they didn’t bury this issue. Character work has become a staple in this series, and Sacks continues to find ways to make it innovative. The next couple issues tease heavy Inferno Squad involvement, with everyone’s fate hanging in the balance. Ultimately, this was a good issue to calm down and catch a breath before the stakes ramp up to Bounty Hunters‘ highest points yet.


RATING: 7/10


Bounty Hunters #33 next issue


Nate uses his love for Star Wars and movies in general as a way to cope with the pain of being a Minnesota sports fan. When he’s not at the theater, you can usually find Nate reading a comic, listening to an audiobook, or playing a Mario video game for the 1,000th time.