I actually quite enjoyed the chase this story presented. The dialog
was crisp, the turnarounds were fun, and there were several unexpected twists.
However, the artwork was atrocious, and I'm not sure if this fits in with the
The comic obviously takes place within the last few chapters
of Rebel Dawn. Bria has betrayed Han and the other smugglers, taking all
the spice from Ylesia to the Rebel Alliance and leaving the smugglers in the
cold, hating the Rebellion. Han is back on Tatooine, but Jabba has
obviously not called upon him to deliver spice through the Kessel run yet.
In other words, Han is still in good favor with Jabba. Bria is still
alive, and is searching with other rebels to find a new base. And Greedo
has not yet begun to hunt Solo.
The plot is extremely simple: in order to figure out who has the best
strategy when dealing with non-Hutts, a trio of Hutts, Jabba, Malta, and Embra,
hire hunters to seek the valued Yavin Vassilika. Jabba employs people who
are interested in money only, like Han, Lando and Greedo (although the latter is
not really hired). Malta contracts out with IG-88, Dengar and Bossk, whom
he plans to double-cross. Embra contracts out a legal document with all
the documentation to support his part of the hunt, with Zuckuss, 4-LOM and a
Tuskin Raider (!) named Sardu.
Han gains the upper hand, getting to the place where the raving lunatic who
first found the Vassilika was last known to be. Lando arrives shortly
after him, and the others follow. They all meet up in a brawl after Han
questions the people who saw the man last. Luckily, the bounty hunters all
hate each other. They are always at each others throats, even when they
are on the same side.
And then Boba Fett comes into the picture. It appears at first that he
was hired by Jabba to hunt for the Vassilika as well, and he holds no grudges
against either Han or Lando for the stunts they pulled in
The Hutt Gambit or
Rebel Dawn. Nobody stops to ask, as Fett is buried under a rockslide
before he can even point his weapon. Unlikely? Yes. But fine
if he was being paid to keep Han Solo safe on the hunt, as it turns out he his
supposed to do. But why Solo and not Calrissian?
Everybody follows Han to Mon Calamari, where they find the dead body of the
lunatic, Webble, under the sea. Underwater, they also hear voices, as it
appears that the rocks and other underwater area in that location collects
thoughts like echoes, and Webble's last thoughts seemed to be the coordinates of
the planet where he saw the Vassilika.
Han, Lando and Greedo (who had tagged along since Tatooine) are ambushed by
Bossk and his gang, but Chewie destroys their water skimmer and Boba Fett
provides another distraction. They make their way to the next planet.
But Zuckuss has beat them to it.
I liked the way Sardu's Jawas were everywhere. They eavesdropped on all
the other competitors, they sabotaged Han's skimmer on Mon Calamari. Han
even remarks that he has never seen so many Jawas off of Tatooine before!
Of course, they are the same ones. And although we don't get to see it,
apparently they led Zuckuss to the underwater grotto where Webble's memories
were floating around.
Also along for the ride is Malta the Hutt's majordomo, Jozzel. She is
the mastermind behind the whole thing. She was offered a huge reward for
the Vassilika by some shadow agent, and convinced the Hutts to play for its
retrieval. She tagged along with Malta's group, but when they started
fighting among themselves, she jumped into Han and Lando's camp.
When everybody finds the Vassilika, worshiped by a bunch of savage-looking
natives, they can't even get close to it. Each group tires in its own
turn. 4-LOM is damaged in the attempt.
Han, Lando and Greedo are injured and tied up. Only the arrival of Boba
Fett frees them. At first, nobody knows anything about these natives.
But when they get up close, they start spouting knowledge as if from an
encyclopedia. I don't understand...
As Dengar and Bossk attack the village, Han and Lando go after the Vassilika,
but one of the Jawas makes off with it first. It ends up in the hands of
Jozzel, who steals the Falcon and takes it to Yavin IV. She meets with the
rebels, including Bria, and is given her reward, as well as a fake Vassilika to
bring to her master. She hopes to buy her freedom with the money.
However, she was tracked not only by the other bounty hunters, but also by Embra
the Hutt's majordomo! The Bith kills her and ends up with the money, while
Zuckuss ends up with the fake Vassilika.
The real Vassilika contains a key that unlocks the largest of the Massassi
temples on Yavin IV, where the rebels obviously want to make their new hidden
base. I don't understand what all this talk about keys is. The
bounty hunters wonder where the keys to their spaceship are. Han loses his
keys to the Falcon to Jozzel, which allows her to steal the ship. Since
when do spacecraft use keys? And now
they need a key to enter the temple? There is no hint of any of this in
any of the other stories that deal with the Massassi. I seriously
doubt the Rebels would meet on the world they are planning to use as a hidden
base. Even less would they tell Han and Lando about the key. No
wonder Bria ended up dead at the end of Rebel Dawn!
The last page deals a humorous blow to Embra the Hutt's majordomo. She
had stolen away with 4 million credits, and called Embra to quit. Just as
she hangs up, though, Boba Fett enters the picture, and demands that the money
go back to Jabba (presumably because the money was originally from the sale of
the spice the rebels stole in their raid on Ylesia).
I wish we had been given an aftermath to the bet, though. Embra
obviously won, but I wonder what that proves, and what the losers did because of
that. The story ends far too early, I fear. We don't even know if
Han demanded to be paid for his work.
I did like the way Han and Lando were constantly at each other's throats,
because of the betrayal at Ylesia. It sort of makes the betrayal more
real, instead of diminishing it. At the end of the sequence in
we are led to believe Han and Lando didn't see each other again until
Strikes Back. But because of the bickering, and because Han left Lando's
very expensive and rare spaceship behind at one of the ports, the animosity
looks even better.
The artwork, however, was nothing to be proud of. The characters are
all cartoons -caricatures, really. Sometimes I didn't even know who I was
looking at. Strangely enough, I liked the backgrounds in this book much
better. The colors were impressive, but I could have done without the
foreground characters! And the action sequences were drawn even worse.
They barely represented action at all. I think poor Chewbacca fared the
worst of all of them!
After flipping through this book earlier, I was not expecting to enjoy it at
all, mainly because of the artwork. But I was surprised, and maybe that's
why I actually ended up enjoying it somewhat. But it was fluff, and even
with great artwork, I doubt it would have jumped too much in ratings.
Still, it was kind of fun, and that's what Star Wars is all about, right?