Warning! Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #8 from Ethan Sacks and Paolo Villanelli/
In the latest issue of Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, new details are revealed about the infamous cyborg bounty hunter Beilert Valance and his history with the even more infamous smuggler Han Solo. While Valance was definitely more of a villain to the Rebel heroes and rival of Darth Vader in the old, pre-Disney Star Wars continuity, the new canon has Valance as more of an anti-hero with a code of honor. He also has an interesting past with Solo, as they both served in the Imperial Navy for a time. Additionally, it’s also been revealed in this new issue that Valance owes Han Solo big time, and he’s finally ready to pay back that debt.
Han Solo and Beilert Valance were both cadets at the Imperial Academy at the same time, though Valance did not care for Solo’s hotshot attitude or personality at all. However, even after both of their respective careers drastically deviated from Imperial service, they did interact every so often. Solo even once hired Valance to protect the Rebel engineer who would be instrumental in building the shield generator for the Rebel base on Hoth as seen in Empire Strikes Back.
However, Ethan Sacks’ Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #8 revisits the time when Solo saved Valance’s life, first seen in the Star Wars: Han Solo-Imperial Cadet miniseries from Robbie Thompson and Leonard Kirk. Now shown from Valance’s perspective, Valance and Solo flew in the same TIE Fighter squadron as cadets. A dogfight on the planet of Qhulosk nearly killed the future bounty hunter, had it not been for Solo’s quick thinking and skills as a pilot. While Han saved Valance’s life, his TIE still crashed onto the planet’s surface. Solo then led an unsanctioned mission to rescue Valance, the consequences of which sent him to serve as a grunt on the planet of Mimban, as seen in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Valance needing cybernetic implants for his injuries, leading to both of their eventual departures from the Empire. As a result, Valance agrees to help a Rebel cell as a means to pay off his debt to Solo (just after the events of Empire Strikes Back).
Valance going to help the Rebels is pretty significant considering his current predicament. The Unbroken Clan has put up a steep price on his head, and Valance has barely been able to stay off the radar of some of the deadliest bounty hunters in the galaxy. If would be far easier for Valance to ignore the Rebel’s call for help, but as previously mentioned, this new canon version of Valance has a code of honor, and he’s keeping to it in order to make good on his debt.
The Valance that’s been seen in this series from Ethan Sacks is pretty intriguing and dynamic overall. He’s more than just a simple bounty hunter seeking his next job. More often than not, his moral compass has gotten in the way of getting paid, leading to Valance getting into more and more trouble and peril with every issue. Here’s hoping he’ll be able to clear his debt to Han Solo before more hunters get Valance in their sights as Star Wars: Bounty Hunters continues from Marvel Comics.
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