Valance’s crew get a backstory and their hunt becomes personal as they confront Darth Vader in Star Wars: Target Vader #4. Plus, the traitor is revealed.
Warning: This article contains plot points for Star Wars: Target Vader #4.
Star Wars: Target Vader #4
Writer: Robbie Thompson | Artist: Stefano Landini | Colorist: Neeraj Menon | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Cover Artist: Nic Klein | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
Valance’s hunt for Darth Vader has moved at a furious pace. The former Imperial has wasted no time in taking his crew across the stars as he lays and unleashes a trap for the Sith Lord. In Target Vader #3, they finally managed to isolate Vader on the planet Heva. Finally, Valance and his team of bounty hunters can finish their mission. However, it won’t be that easy. Valance’s team gets a backstory, and their motivation is revealed as the fight against Vader continues in Target Vader #4.
Despite Vader’s isolation, the Empire is not concerned in Target Vader #4. Vader’s Star Destroyer was destroyed by Valance’s drones in the previous issue. Another Star Destroyer is nearby though, but they won’t be able to launch any support for Vader for at least fifteen minutes. General Gollin is in command, and while her subordinate is shocked and distressed that Vader is surrounded by bounty hunters, she is not. Fifteen minutes is not enough time – the Empire will never get there before Vader can kill everyone of the bounty hunters in her opinion.
This is a tonal shift in how Vader is frequently viewed by Imperials in many Star Wars comics. In Charles Soule’s Darth Vader series, Vader was still an unknown to much of the Empire. Nobody had a clear idea of who he was after the conclusion of the Clone Wars until he asserted his own authority and created “the rule of five.” Vader has had to serve under egomaniacal Imperial officers at the whim of the Emperor, and their disdain for him was palpable. After the events of A New Hope, Vader was relegated subservient to Grand General Tagge. That ends in this issue. General Gollin joins the ranks of Imperials that understand Vader’s true power and worth.
Hunters with a Cause
Target Vader #4 turns the bounty hunters on Valance’s team into three dimensional characters. Previously, they were largely just an eclectic group of professionals with a job to do. Now, they have purpose and motivation. For instance, there is Chio the Ardennian. He has been waiting five years to get a shot at Vader after the Dark Lord killed his partner, Rone. Honnah, the Gamorrean, also has a grudge against Vader and the Empire. They destroyed her home and family. They both fight valiantly against Vader, but they are no match for a Sith and they are both killed.
Then there is the marksman Urrr’k. Target Vader #3 revealed Urrr’k wasn’t the Tusken he was pretending to be. In fact, “he” is a woman named Gita, and her flashback reveals she was a marksman on the planet Mytar. There is no explanation as to why she joined the fight against Vader, but she calls on her memories of training as a hunter and a marksman when battling the Dark Lord. It also unclear whether she survived Target Vader #4. Regardless, two of Valance’s crew die in this issue, and one is left at least incapacitated. That leaves one more…
The Traitor in the Midst
The only member of the team that didn’t have a backstory explored in Target Vader #4 was Dengar. Naturally, he was the traitor and Darth Vader’s mole on the team. Valance attempted to make his move and plant an EMP device on Vader to disable him. However, the device didn’t stick and Valance came face-to-face with the Dark Lord. Before Vader can do or say anything, Dengar stuns him. This wasn’t an unexpected move. After all, Dengar is the only member of this crew seen anywhere after this story. Dengar has come off in other Star Wars stories, both canon and Legends, as generally unliked and unloved by heroes and villains alike. It isn’t hard to see why. He betrayed a team of hunters and sold them out to Darth Vader.
Final Thoughts on Target Vader #4
Target Vader #4, and the series in general, is really a story that is best enjoyed for the action. Robbie Thompson does a fantastic job pacing each scene and the fights in this issue. Stefano Landini’s art pairs well with the story. Although Thompson does spare space in this story to offer some backstory on the characters, he does so efficiently. No more panels are spent on those stories than are necessary. The effect is that it appears that the characters are flashing back to these life changing events in the heat of the moment. Then the focus is brought back to the story with Darth Vader at its center. This is an underrated story, and it is very worthy of Star Wars fans’ attention.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.