- "And with this new Imperial blockade putting on pressure, the odds are perfect for a hotshot like you showing up here. And that's when I'll destroy you, droid-lover!"
- ―Beilert Valance
|"Return of the Hunter"|
|Title:||"Return of the Hunter"|
|Cover date:||September, 1979|
|Cover artists:||Carmine Infantino|
|Cover inker:||Bob Wiacek|
|Previous:||Star Wars #26|
|Next:||Star Wars #28|
"Return of the Hunter" is the story title to the twenty-seventh issue of the first Star Wars comic book series published by Marvel Comics. The story was written and edited by Archie Goodwin and illustrated by Carmine Infantino. It was inked by Bob Wiacek. Infantino and Wiacek also provided the cover art illustration for this issue. The story was colored by Petra Goldberg and lettered by John Costanza. This issue shipped with a September, 1979 cover date and carried a cover price of 40 cents per copy (US).
The bounty hunter Valance has come to the world of Junction. He shoots a cantina patron named Marko Tyne and then retreats to his agent, Skinker, to collect the bounty. Valance's payment is a collection of rebuilt droids, which he then melts into slag with several blasts from his weapon. Valance has an irrational hatred of all droids, and he hunts them down wherever he can find them.
Valance's next quarry is to find Luke Skywalker. Not only is Luke a droid-owner, but also he apparently treats them as equals. Because of this, Luke must die.
Luke meanwhile, has taken C-3PO with him in a runner ship and is mapping out the perimeter of the Empire's most recent Imperial blockade. He deftly maneuvers the runner out of the way of an oncoming Imperial cruiser before making the jump to Hyperspace. Now Luke has to find a trading post so that he can find parts needed to make repairs to the disabled R2-D2. He lands the blockade runner on Junction.
Valance meanwhile has discovered that an Imperial Kubaz spy has been trying to alert the Empire as to Valance's presence on Junction (Valance is an Imperial defector). Valance shoots the Kubaz, killing him before he can transmit a signal.
Luke and Threepio arrive at Skinker's salvage yard. They acquire the parts they need, but before long, Valance returns and finds them. He tries firing at Luke with his blaster, but Luke deflects the shot with his lightsaber. The blast arcs back striking Valance in the face. Part of his flesh is melted away to reveal cybernetic parts beneath. Valance hates droids because he is now forced to live as a cyborg (due to injuries sustained from an aerial torpedo). But Valance manages to get Luke's blaster and saber away from him and is prepared to kill him. In a rare moment of bravery, C-3PO stands between Luke and Valance declaring that he is ready to sacrifice himself for his master. Moved by behavior which is typically uncharacteristic for a droid (and exceptionally uncharacteristic for Threepio), Valance decides to let them go.
- Kubaz spy (Only appearance; dies)
- Marko Tyne (Only appearance; dies)
- Polyp (Only appearance)
- Skinker (Only appearance)
- Talz pedestrian (Cameo appearance only)
Notes & Trivia Edit
- This issue is reprinted in the Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Dark Encounters trade paperback.
- The Kubaz spy that appears in this issue is not to be confused with Garandan, the spy from Star Wars: Episode IV who informed the Imperials of the droids presence in the Mos Eisley cantina.
- Luke makes reference to Han Solo's experience at navigating through asteroid fields. This helps solidify continuity, as we will later see Han maneuvering the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid belt in Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
The story was from this issue is reprinted in the following volumes:
- Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... 2
- Star Wars Omnibus 13
- Star Wars Legends: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus 1