Note: This blog entry contains SPOILERS to “Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets” #5
We were brought full circle in “Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets” #5, finally learning what prompted the fight between Johan Cross and Boba Fett in the first issue.
In the previous issue, Cross and Candra Tymon rescued Bron Dooku, but their escape was interrupted by the arrival of Boba Fett – who was hired to bring in the young heir. The standoff is quickly joined by Lord Borgin’s forces, which receive immediate fire by Boba Fett.
Cross contributes firepower to Fett’s attack on Borgin’s men, giving Tymon and Bron opportunity to escape. Chief Jorrick and his men are gunned down, leaving the bounty hunter and imperial agent standing. It’s realized the first few panels from “Hard Targets” #1 are pulled from this faceoff.
What I found even more interesting was Boba Fett’s aside that he and Cross had battled before, and Fett had won. Is this a hint from writer John Ostrander that the two characters share a past, which we may get to see in future stories? Perhaps they’ve even worked side-by-side – Fett often being hired by the Empire, and Cross being an agent of the Empire?
The fight cumulates with Boba Fett’s firing an ion missile, which hits the Tymon and Bron’s escape vehicle – resulting in an explosion, destroying the ship. Boba Fett is baffled; the ion missile should have only shut down the engine, not creating a high explosion.
Cross presses Boba Fett for an explanation as to why he would kill the target he was paid to capture alive. Boba Fett pushes back just as hard, reasoning that he could not have been responsible for the explosion. They come to the epiphany that Boba Fett was set up to take the fall – his employer would benefit from the boy’s death.
As far as Fett’s concerned, this is the second time in weeks he’s been set up for a murder that benefited Lord Borgin – the man who hired him – or was it? Last issue, Boba Fett said once he discovered the individual who set him up, he’d deal with them. Now is time for reckoning.
When we next see Cross, he is waiting for Borgin in the politician’s study. What we find out, could poissibly be the most complicated and surprising endgame I’ve ever read in a Star Wars comic.
Boba Fett was not hired by Borgin, but by Cross, through a third party. Fett was led to believe he was being hired by Borgin, to bring him Bron to give him political leverage. Cross discloses to Borgin that he planned to be confronted by Fett once rescuing Bron, and Tymon willingly sacrificed herself in the explosion that she set off herself.
Bron was taken into safekeeping until he comes to age. Borgin is ecstatic that Cross is on his side, but then becomes wary when the agent reveals that the entire operation was not to benefit Borgin, but to make Boba Fett believe the lord had set him up – marking him for death.
The Empire made Orom Malvern, the brother-in-law of Borgin, the new count, because he is not as politically hungry and easily malleable to do the Empire’s will.
Echoing panels from the first issue, Borgin is shot dead from sniper fire through the window. Cross’ plan worked perfectly, although he knows if Boba Fett were to ever figure out the ruse, he will also be killed. However, in his line of work, by the time the bounty hunter learns the truth, when Bron surfaces as an adult, he most likely will already be dead.
This story arc ended with great payoff and left me stunned. Some of the best writing coming out of Dark Horse is in the pages of “Agent of the Empire.”
Note: This blog entry contains SPOILERS to “Star Wars: In the Shadow of Yavin” #2
The second issue to the bestselling title, “Star Wars,” is full of secret missions and familiar faces – along with some surprises.
When Entertainment Weekly published a sneak peak at this issue last month, it turns out that was the opening for this month’s story. Han Solo and Chewbacca are drifting in the Corsair Outback, on a rendezvous mission assigned by Mon Monthma.
Even though they sit in deep space, among space debris, the smuggler and his companion are discovered by Slave I. This story transpires before Empire Strikes Back, so Boba Fett is hunting Solo due to the bounty placed on his head by Jabba the Hutt.
Solo is forced to make a space jump after Slave I opens fire on his ship. They end up making seven jumps before they’re clear of the bounty hunter. This was disappointing – the issue was marketed as showing the appearance of Boba Fett – but we never actually see the Mandalorian. In fact, the three page preview is the entirety of Fett’s appearance in the issue.
This was a chance for Dark Horse to tear down common tropes comic books have executed with the relationship between Boba Fett and Han Solo. Instead, they kept to the formula of Han Solo being tracked down by Fett, he makes a run for it and escapes. Let’s hope this story arc doesn’t consist of repeated “near encounters” between the adversaries.
I’ve said this in an earlier blog entry – let Solo be captured by Boba Fett, but manage to escape. We need to see why the presence of Boba Fett strikes the fear Solo experiences in the films, that don’t come up with other encounters with bounty hunters, like Greedo.
The issue also sets up two more plot points. In many ways this issue sets up what we should anticipate for the rest of the story arc. Monthma gives Leia a secret assignment, as does the Emperor to Darth Vader. These secret assignments introduce two characters to keep an eye on.
Leia puts together a team of X-Wing pilots to conduct a secret mission to locate a base for the Rebels. This assignment must be done in secret, because Monthma suspects a spy in their ranks.
Among the pilots is Rus Kal from Durkteel. Kal is part of a subspecies of Transdoshan – the race of Bossk. I’m engaged by this member of the team. I don’t know too much about this species, but I have to wonder how close their characteristics are from their cousins, Transdoshans.
Am I overanalyzing things, or is this foreshadowing that we may see Bossk in the near future pop up?
The second character of interest is Colonel Bircher, who has been put in charge of Darth Vader’s crew and Star Destroyer. While Vader is on his secret mission, Bircher is leading the charge of hunting down the Rebel Alliance.
I enjoyed this issue and the artwork is some of the best that’s come out of Dark Horse, besides the work being down in “Agent of the Empire.” I need to emphasize my disappointment though, we were teased with Boba Fett and Darth Vader in the official synopsis of the issue, but Boba Fett is only in a couple panels and Vader is only mentioned by name.
Note: This blog entry contains SPOILERS to “Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets” #4
Once again, Dark Horse Comics has delivered an issue with amazing artwork and a rich story. John Ostrander and his team of writers cease to amaze readers how much plot content his can fit in the panels. The art by penciller Davide Fabbri also produces some of the best illustrations being produced in Star Wars titles, today.
Four issues ago we discovered the assassination of Count Dooku was politically motivated, a power play by Rodas Borgin to regain his families interest in the Galactic Empire. Agent Jahan Cross pulled the trigger, disguising himself as the infamous bounty hunter, Boba Fett.
Over the course of the last several issues, Cross has wrestled with his task. While never questioning his allegiance to the Empire, it ruffled the agent’s feathers that Imperial resources were being used to position the House of Borgin toward their liking.
Not only had Borgin pressured the Empire to take out Adan Dooku, but Cross learned he also orchestrated the kidnapping of Adan’s heir, Bron Dooku, who Borgin is now the caregiver of. Even though Cross has been told to leave things along, he can’t allow harm to come to a young boy, so he plans to recruit Candra Tymon to help him in a rescue mission.
This is where we find ourselves in the beginning of “Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets” #4, at a cantina near the Serenno Spaceport. Candra is in the bar, drowning her sorrows at the bottom of a glass. Little does she know the man across from her, Cross, was the assassin in Mandalorian armor she failed to catch, and her former employer, Borgin, was the man responsible for Bron’s abduction – incidents which led to her unemployment as a body guard.
Cross is honest with Tymon, unveiling his part in the recent fallout – however, omitting his part in the assassination, even blatantly lying about it – and manages to sign her on to the rescue plan.
Meanwhile, floating idly in space is Boba Fett, aboard the Slave I, when a hologram transmission is received. A woman who represents the Count of Serenno offers Fett a job. We learn the bounty hunter was questioned following the assassination of Count Dooku, but an alibi freed him from being a primary suspect. Therefore, he is in the clear for accepting a job on Serenno.
Side note: Boba Fett warns he will soon learn who the imposter was and settle the score. Obviously, he does not know it was Cross – leaving questions floating over their confrontation at the start of the story arc. Since that encounter was noted to happen a few weeks after the assassination, we can only conclude that confrontation occurs sometime after this issue and upcoming events.
Cross learns Bron’s whereabouts via his father, Ambassador Davim Cross, and concocts a plan. Cross and Tymon sneak into Otoh Dooku, the families undersea retreat in the Belsallian Sea, where Bron is being held captive until the Imperial Navy arrives.
They succeed in rescuing Bron, escaping the hot pursuit of Borgin’s men. They rendezvous at the docks and ready the next stage in their plan – until they are interrupted by an unannounced visitor, Boba Fett.
The stage is set for disaster, as Cross has placed himself, whether by design or accident, against the man backed by his superiors. The Empire may question where Cross’ loyalties lay, or even consider him a traitor for acting on his own assignment.
“Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets” #5 will be released Feb. 27.
The first “Star Wars Insider” of 2013 presents a behind the scenes look at the audio play, “Smuggler’s Gambit,” which took fans by storm at Celebration VI this past August.
The piece includes concept art from Paul Bateman, putting a face to the characters of Ro Kurotora and Ryder Thorne. As previously reported on The Boba Bounty, the performance included a minor role of Boba Fett, voiced by The Clone War’s very own, Daniel Logan.
Director Kyle Newman shares his thoughts about the production, walking us through the stages of development and reminiscing about the radio plays he listened to as a youngster. It’s reinforced “Smuggler’s Gambit” is a work of fan fiction, but it showcased the power of fandom and what we can create together.
If you haven’t had a chance to plug into the audio play, visit www.StarWars.com/SmugglersGambit for the full audio and some behind the scenes footage.
Issue #139 also highlights the trade paperback release of “Star Wars Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead.” The second volume of comics further delves into the genealogical consequences of the Fett family.
Dark Horse writer Tom Taylor created a stellar story of Boba Fett’s fate at the hands of a vengeful figure from his past – or so it is reported through the galaxy. The story expands on the relationship between Boba Fett’s half-brother, Connor Freeman, and Boba’s back story as a Protector.
Quite honestly, the tale is too riveting to go into further plot points, but I highly recommend picking up the book, which was released Jan. 23.
Also, look forward to Issue #140, which teases news on the development of Episode VII. Let’s hope we hear mention of our favorite bounty hunter.
It only took 24 hours for Dark Horse’s new series, “Star Wars,” to sell out during its debut on Jan. 9. Set in the original trilogy era, the happenings of the story arc, “In the Shadow of Yavin,” document the fallout from the destruction of the Death Star by the Rebel Alliance.
Within a few days of its release, Dark Horse staff announced a second print would be made available on Feb. 6, featuring a cover stripped of any text, so fans can revel in the cover art by comic legend Alex Ross.
The same day as the first issue’s release, a blog entry by the comic’s writer, Brian Wood, was ran on StarWars.com, and a few days later re-posted on Dark Horse’s website. Wood shares he aimed to capture the tone and feel of the original trilogy and feature a story that transpires only days after the final events of “A New Hope.”
Wood teases the series will be, “heavy on space battles and snubfighter dogfights. A series that gets into the emotional states of our post-Tattooine, post-Alderaan, post-Yavin characters who have lost so much yet press on in their fight for freedom.”
If there were any doubts that Wood would deliver the space battles and tales of peril he promises, fans were rewarded with a four-page preview of “Star Wars” #2 through the digital pages of Entertainment Weekly.
What is guaranteed to entice another sold out issue is the reveal that the second issue features the infamous bounty hunter, Boba Fett. In the preview, we see the Millennium Falcon avoiding fire by Slave I as the smugglers navigate space debris.
Scheduled for release on Feb. 13, the second issue hones in on Han Solo and Chewbacca as they attempt to evade the capture of Boba Fett; we’ll also see Darth Vader carry out a secret mission assigned to him by the Emperor.
While the Empire doesn’t formally issue a bounty for Han Solo and company until “Empire Strikes Back,” it is already known after Solo’s encounter with Greedo in “A New Hope” that he is wanted by Jabba the Hutt.
Hiding in space debris, Solo believes they’re safe from being found, however, a ship appears on their radar. When identifying the ship, Solo realizes the immediate danger once they see Slave I fast approaching. Why is this interesting? This tells us Solo and Boba Fett have a history before the happenings of the original trilogy.
The chase between Fett and Solo is a common trope in Star Wars comics, so the challenge for Woods will be to make it fresh and new. How will Han Solo escape, or will he? I’d be interested to see what story unfolds if Solo and Chewbacca are actually captured – and later escape, of course.
Whatever happens though, this story needs to expand on the relationship between the bounty hunter and smuggler – besides the tired “cat and mouse” angle to their encounters. Unlike other bounty hunters, consider his run in with Greedo at the Catina – the films illustrate Han Solo having a genuine fear toward Fett.
I’m crossing my fingers we get a tale that explains why Solo takes the threat of Boba Fett more seriously than other hired guns.
From “Star Wars Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead #2.” Word has spread the infamous bounty hunter, Boba Fett, was slain by a team of mercenaries. The only problem is those mercenaries are being systematically cut down, leading to an order to destroy any familial connections to Boba Fett, specifically his half brother, Connor Freeman, who was placed at the scene of the most recent retaliation. When Freeman’s cantina is blown to pieces, Freeman narrowly escapes the carnage thanks to a mysterious stranger. Freeman does not escape unscathed, though – he awakes in a medical tank, the new owner of a cybernetic arm.
From “Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction.” While recovering from escaping the belly of the Sarlacc, an imposter named Jodo Kast has been posing as Boba Fett in order to land higher profile bounties. However, toying with the reputation of the most infamous bounty hunter in the galaxy can quickly catch up to you, as Kast finds out when he comes face-to-face with the real Boba Fett.
From “Star Wars Tales #7.” In search of a missing hologram that contains leverage against Boba Fett, the bounty hunter scares information out of an auctioneer by throwing him face-to-face with a hungry Globbin. Boba lets the unwilling informant go with his life - but, neglects to warn about the Globbin’s long tongue.
Note: This blog entry contains SPOILERS to “Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets #1.”
“Agent of the Empire” is a fresh approach to the Star Wars Expanded Universe that combines the traditional space opera with elements of espionage and secret agents. The adventures of Imperial Intelligence officer Jahan Cross take place before the events of Episode IV.
Last month Dark Horse Comics released the first issue of “Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets,” which is the second story arch in the series. The first issue opens with a literal bang as Cross tussles with Boba Fett – for reasons unknown to the reader.
Boba stops short of killing Cross, but warns the agent to not get in his way again. The scene ends with Cross stealing a speeder and taking off in pursuit of Boba Fett. Cross discloses his mission is, in fact, to get in the bounty hunters way.
Ten days earlier on Alderann, the home world of Cross, there was a celebration hosted by Bail Organa to honor the current Count Dooku – but things quickly turned sour after the count is assassinated by “Boba Fett” – or so it seemed at first.
After a short foot chase the assassin escapes via jet pack, removes his helmet and reveals himself as none other than Jahan Cross – who was under the impression he was assigned to kill the count because he was an enemy of the empire. He is later told by Agent Armand Isard the count was actually neutral, but was killed as a favor to a influential person close to the Empire.
Cross doesn’t know what to think of this new information and struggles with the fact he may have killed an innocent man.
“Do you know the difference between you and a hired gun like Boba Fett, Agent Cross? You’re cheaper.” – Agent Isard.
The story is engaging and the colors pop from the panels with brilliant tones of red, orange and blue. John Ostrander’s story promises an interesting premise and I’m excited for the remaining four issues in the story arch. The illustrations by Davide Fabbri are rich in detail and the colors by Wes Dzioba explode from the page.
“Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets #2” will be released Nov. 21.