In the first issue we learn that the Hidden Hand is the rebellion and they hired Beilert Valance and a group of bounty hunters to kill Darth Vader in order to distract him so they can get weapons to the rebellion. The majority of issue gives a portrait of Beilert Valance as he sets a trap and kills a bunch of bounty hunters out to get revenge against him and then gets recruited to the Hidden Hand team tasked with killing Darth Vader.
Issue No. 2 highlights Valance as a strategic genius setting another trap after anticipating an old friend would turn on him. This issue along with the first issue gives Valance a very Han Solo feel minus the lighthearted joking and as a murderous bounty hunter instead of a smuggler.
There are even plot point similarities between Valance and Han Solo. Han Solo is famously betrayed by his associate Lando in Empire Strikes Back and in Target Vader issue 2 Valance is betrayed by a new character named Fetya. The biggest difference is that Beilert Valance anticipated the double cross and is able to escape.
Earlier in the comic Valance shoots down imperial ships giving Dengar some room to voice his concern that Valance is reckless and not a leader. We are told by fellow bounty hunter Chio Fain that Valance anticipated that by using signal jammers.
The way writer Robbie Thompson pulls off the planning and escape is a wonderful example of foreshadowing when it is revealed Valance wasn’t using signal jammers when he decided to kill off the imperial ships but amplifiers. His plan was always to get the full force of the Empire to attack Fetya’s Hollow.
Two issues into the book and Thompson is developing Beilert as an clever anti-hero, one tasked with killing an impossible target. We know Vader won’t die but Thompson is still able to keep the story and plot interesting.
There is real fear that Beilert might not make it out of this miniseries alive and that’s a different kind of peril I feel as a reader when the reality is Beilert is a bad guy protagonist and Darth Vader is THE bad guy.
This is the exact kind of comic book Star Wars fans should be reading to expand their minds away from being film fans only. I’d also recommend it to fans that are excited about the Mandalorian as these have the same outer rim/wild space tone and are far away from Empire politics of Coruscant.
Which Star Wars comics are you reading?Are you reading Target Vader? Let me know in the comment section below!