REVIEW: Transhumanism Terror in Bounty Hunters #18
In Bounty Hunters #18 by Ethan Sacks, Ramon Bachs, Bryan Valenza, and Travis Lanham, with a main cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli & Nolan Woodard, the sticky situation in which Valance has found himself is further explored… leading to one of the better examinations of transhumanism in Star Wars than we’ve seen in a long, long time, Marvel Blog True Believers!
Transhumanism is the idea that technology can be used to enhance the longevity and cognitive abilities of humanity. It’s a common theme in Star Wars, going back to the very first movie in 1977: the only reason Darth Vader is around to do the Emperor’s bidding is because technology has been used to boost his longevity, allowing him to survive after he was horribly wounded in his battle with Obi-Wan on Mustafar (see: Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith on Disney+ if you don’t know about this, Marvel Blog True Believers).
While Anakin Skywalker could have died on Mustafar, he is instead revived by the Emperor, who uses the technology that has saved his life to essentially enslave him, manipulating him into serving the Empire. In this issue, we see Vader use exactly the same strategy on Valance.
This is a particularly interesting development, considering that (a) Vader should know better, considering this injustice has already been perpetuated upon him; and (b) Valance has a problem with his robot parts, which he resents rather than respects… so being further “upgraded” is bad news for him!
However, think of Luke’s hand in The Empire Strikes Back: transhumanism can be used to help replace the hand that was cut off by Vader in the battle over Bespin. This gets even more interesting, because in this issue, we again see Bossk, the Trandoshan bounty hunter who had his legs hacked off in War of the Bounty Hunters (but who is currently in the process of growing them back organically).
And there are elective transhumanism surgeries in the Star Wars galaxy, as well: think of Doctor Aphra, who is currently trying to fix her cybernetic tattoos, which are yet another example of transhumanism in the Star Wars galaxy.
In addition to all these interesting considerations, we also get to see more of the best team in Star Wars, as the B-Plot follows wives T’Onga and Losha (and the rest of their crew) as they blow off some steam in a cantina fight — a classic way to pass the time in any wretched hive of scum and villainy.
More Transhumanism to Come
It seems inevitable that we’ll be seeing the complicated topic of transhumanism further explored in future issues of Bounty Hunters. This combined with the fact that this series has carried on the best parts of that crossover event (including Zuckuss) means that this just might be the best Star Wars comic on the shelves right now. Don’t miss it!