Contributor: Rick McGimpsey
This particular issue of the classic Marvel run was apparently written for the fans who wanted more Jaxxon and Jimm the Starkiller Kid and less Han, Leia, and Luke Skywalker in their Star Wars. In other words, this issue was written for nobody.
Thankfully though, this is to my knowledge the only issue in the series that does not feature any recognisable Star Wars characters and is also the last time we see Jaxxon the green rabbit. He won’t be missed by me I can say honestly.
The story focuses on a mercenary named Valance who leads a team of bounty hunters on a crusade to wipe out all droids they come across. Valance is a man who has taken a prejudice against mechanicals to an extreme even going so far as to murder humans and aliens who own or are friendly with droids. His next target is Luke Skywalker after learning of his adventures with Artoo and Threepio from a captured Rebel spy. Seeing Luke’s friendship with the droids as an unnatural perversion he goes on an enraged quest to seek out Luke and the two robots to destroy them.
While raiding a medical facility where medical droids were operating he finds a dying Don-Wan Kihotay rambling about his adventures with Jaxxon, Amaiza, and “the boy and his droid.” Kihotay was, of course, referring to the Starkiller Kid and his treadmill robot, but Valance mistakes this for a lead on Luke Skywalker’s location. After tracking down Jaxxon, Amaiza, and Jimm on Aduba-3 there is a skirmish between them and Valance’s crew until Jimm shoots his blaster in the air causing a bantha stampede (apparently some Tusken Raiders and banthas immigrated to Aduba-3). Valance’s crew are killed and he learns that Jimm is not the boy he is not the droid-lover he is looking for. Valance flees the scene to the confusion of the trio and onboard his starship Valance removes a portion of his face revealing that he himself is a cyborg with cybernetic implants which were given to him after being injured in the service of the Empire. Filled with self-loathing and bitterness he continued his crusade against droids despite the hypocritical stance he has found himself in.
Like most of the early Marvel stories this is an odd one. However, it is not as bad as many of them especially considering we are reading a comic without any of the beloved main characters. Jaxxon, Luke Skywalker ripoffs, and space bimbos make poor substitutes and
anything and everything involving them is stupid, of course, but Valance himself is an interesting character. While we wait for his story arc to continue in later issues we get a very much desired farewell to Jaxxon and Amaiza who are implied to be romantically involved (imagine the babies!) and Jimm the Starkiller Kid and the farmer’s daughter Merri who are now married. Leaving them on Aduba-3 we never see them again. I am grateful that Marvel did not insist on keeping these characters cropping up throughout the series like George Lucas never took a hint about Jar Jar Binks who force-fed him to us throughout the Prequels and The Clone Wars. It is a pleasure to see writers use sense about what they insist on including in what they create. Besides given the prolific nature of rabbit breeding I was not keen on seeing Amaiza become the next octomom anyway.
The Hunter, while not being a great story, was a decent transition from the campy early months of the Star Wars Marvel line to the more respectful tone of the later arcs.
Check in next time for my review of Marvel Star Wars #17: Crucible and may the Force be with you.