Note: The following blog contains SPOILERS to “Star Wars” #10.
If you’ve followed my reviews of “Star Wars: In the Shadow of Yavin,” then you’re well familiar with my feelings on the overuse of story tropes we’ve seen in Star Wars comics for decades. One of the most common of these tropes is with subplots between Han Solo and Boba Fett.
Earlier this year, when Entertainment Weekly ran a sneak peek at “Star Wars” #2, I was excited to see Boba Fett would be introduced in this title – but, I was also wary from the fact it appeared to be the same story we’ve seen too many times – Boba Fett chases Han Solo, the smuggler escapes, Boba Fett catches up, and the smuggler once again escapes. No payoff, no consequences.
Although the subplot was dragged out, the appearance of Bossk as Boba Fett’s partner gave me hope there’d be more to the confrontation. I was very interested in seeing how the two bounty hunters hooked up, and wanted to see an altercation that would shed light into Han Solo’s reaction to the bounty hunter in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
I also wanted to see the relationship explained between Boba Fett and Bossk. Something had to have happened to explain why they worked together to hunt down Solo after the Battle of Yavin, but they worked apart during Empire. What was the falling out?
However, we got none of this. In “Star Wars” #10, we receive a gripping illustration of Boba Fett clinging to the Millennium Falcon in a last ditch effort to claim his prize. The Falcon crew loses their “extra cargo” upon leaving the planet’s atmosphere.
In one of the last panels of the confrontation, Perla says, “You two can continue this another time,” which is almost funny if the trope wasn’t so tired. Is this a nod from writer Brian Wood that he understands how many times we’ve seen this same story unfold?
While I love seeing Boba Fett in comics, when nothing new or original is shown through the story, I feel it just makes the story flat and one dimensional.
Note: The following blog entry contains SPOILERS to “Star Wars” #9.
We’re now nine issues deep into the first story arc of Dark Horse’s “Star Wars: In the Shadow of Yavin.” The story by Brian Wood is superb and continues to capture the spirit of the Original Trilogy, the art is stunning every issue and the book keeps a swift pace – however, I feel this is a story better read in trade paperback.
Having to wait a month between each issue is frustrating, because Wood checks in with each subplot every time. While it’s nice to provide face time to each fan favorite, it’s like watching three minutes of a movie each day – sure, we’ll get to the peak of drama eventually, but its sure taking a while to get there. Each week I keep hoping the next issue is where all the subplots will meet for a giant payoff.
In “Star Wars” #9, Luke Skywalker and Wedge Atilles escape custody and are maneuvering toward the data core to bug the communication system. We get a tie in to The Clone Wars, with Princess Leia receiving contact by the Audacity, a ship from the wartime era. The most staggered storyline, though, continues to be Boba Fett and Han Solo.
At the end of Issue #8, a long-awaiting gunfight was teased between the smuggler and bounty hunter. Promotional images further promised an engaging encounter, as we saw images of Boba Fett ejecting from Slave I to pursue Han Solo face-to-face.
The dialogue written for Boba Fett is great, stating that Jabba pays more for his bounties to be turned in whole, rather than blown to smithereens. However, we’re denied a decent gunfight, as Perla crashes a platform, quickly evading the bounty hunter. Also, we see Bossk hot on the tail of the Falcon, being piloted by Chewbacca.
In the previous issue, there was a passing comment about bounty hunters not usually crossing into Imperial compounds or stations. Unless we see it in the forthcoming issue, I think this was a missed opportunity. All the chaos and destruction and Imperial agents aren’t swarming onto scene?
Woods could have had Imperial Troopers arrive on scene, and that, in my opinion, could have been a better distraction to allow Perla and Solo to escape. Also, more chances to show Boba Fett in action. Once again, we continue to watch the cat-and-mouse game between the two men – which I continue to have faith will result in a payoff in the end.
"Star Wars" #10 will be available Oct. 9.
Note: The following blog entry contains SPOILERS to “Star Wars #8
In “Star Wars” #8 we finally get more than just a handful of panels dealing with the subplot of Han Solo on the run from Boba Fett and Bossk. The chase began in issue #2 and we’ve been building to a hopeful conflict – which writer Brian Wood delivers in this action packed issue.
While Luke Skywalker and Wedge sneak aboard a Star Destroyer, the real action takes place on Coruscant. We are treated to a massive dogfight, that highlights the cunning evasive skills of Chewbacca and Han Solo – as well as showcases the hunting skills of Boba Fett.
When we last left Han Solo and Chewbacca, they had hired garbage-barge pilot, Perla, to aid them in an escape from bounty hunters Boba Fett and Bossk, who tracked them to Coruscant. The smugglers are forced to split up as Slave I engages them – navigating the Falcon as Han Solo and Perla remain aboard the barge.
The tactic worked, as Boba Fett hadn’t planned on a firefight above the Imperial Center. With Chewbacca’s counterattacks on the Slave I, Fett is forced to allow the Garbage-barge to gain distance – the risk of killing Solo in the dogfight is too high, and he attends to capture him alive to collect on the dual bounty, one from the Hutt Cartel and the other the Empire.
Han Solo tells Perla he is surprised to see the bounty hunter in an Imperial Jurisdiction. Unfortunately for Perla and Solo, the space battle put them on the Imperial security radar, blowing their cover in the process. Once catching up, the Slave I continue to attack the garbage-barge, but aims for its cargo, resulting in Perla to lose large portions of her cargo and jeopardizing their ability to maneuver.
Meanwhile, Bossk chases down Chewbacca in the Falcon. The bounty is on Solo’s head, so Bossk is intent on destroying both, the Falcon and Chewbacca.
Han Solo crashes the barge into the Imperial Center. He believes it’s a calculated risk, which will payoff in their escape, but the plan comes up short as Slave I hones in one the smuggler and Perla, with them outgunned and without a ship on the ground floor of the Imperial Center.
There are several items of note in this issue: first, Wood emphasizes that it’s unusual for Boba Fett to engage his prey in Imperial borders. This must be foreshadowing for the next issue, why are these areas off limits to Boba Fett? Could his saving grace be Imperial Security Forces stepping in right as Slave I closes in on the marooned Perla and Solo?
Ryan Kelly’s art goes above and beyond in this issue. The most haunting image, in my opinion, are the skulls and bodily remains decorating Bossk’s cockpit seat.
We’ve still yet to be told how Boba Fett and Bossk became a team in this issue. Or are they building on the rebooted relationship between the two, which has already been expanded upon in The Clone Wars?
The confrontation will continue in “Star Wars” #9 will be released on Sept. 11
Since last year’s announcement of the sequel trilogy, many fans have debated whether the Expanded Universe would be discarded to allow new continuity. The relationship between G-Level and T-Level canon has always been blurry, but EU characters crossing over isn’t unprecedented.
The most recent example of EU canon being carried over was the inclusion of The Black Sun during the Darth Maul arc in The Clone Wars final season. Lucasfilm officials have tried to not step on the toes of expanded stories and characters, but prior to Disney’s acquisition, there was no major conflicts of interest that would jeopardize both venues working in harmony.
Most likely, Disney will not want to be restricted in creating original stories. The question arises, will the Expanded Universe be discarded, will it become a separate universe or some type of compromise? With Star Wars Rebels debuting next year, we’ll soon get that answer – and to examine this issue, we can hone in on one particular Expanded Universe story that involves Boba Fett.
Dark Horse’s popular comic book, Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets, takes place about 3 years before the Battle of Yavin in Episode IV. This is the era Rebels will take place in, although the exact date has not yet been announced, and could happen years earlier than this, but still within the same decade.
Hard Targets also dealt with similar issues as the Rebels premise puts forth – powerful families, cunning underdogs and other individuals looking to shape a rising empire. Obviously, they won’t reproduce the exact storylines from Hard Targets, but unless EU in entirety is tossed, this comic could hint at some elements we might see in Rebels.
The biggest prospective are Imperial Agents, like Johan Cross – side note, with the popularity of this book, could they officially canonize Cross as a new character in the series? Either way, with rumblings of a rebellion, we could see spies as a major role, like Clone Troopers were in the prequel era and Stormtroopers were in the Original Trilogy.
Hard Targets also illustrated the affects of power hungry families of means, families with names like Dooku. The front line is no longer on the ground, but behind closed doors. To ensure the right families gain power, the Empire uses bounty hunters as tools – in terms of assassinations or kidnappings. This is how characters like Cad Bane, Aurra Sing and others could be utilized in Rebels.
This also brings us to Boba Fett – a favorite used by the Empire. But this also brings us to the point where conflicts arise within continuity. Hard Targets establishes that Boba Fett, by 3 BBY, has been used regularly by the Empire. It’s alluded that he’s worked missions with Cross in the past, and we also see him recruited by Darth Vader in The Force Unleashed II, a video game/comic book also taking place in the time range of Rebels.
In Hard Targets, Boba Fett fits what we see not too far after in the original films. To not disrupt canon established in the Expanded Universe, then Star Wars Rebels must hit certain markers to match up with what we see later, especially if the show takes place closer to A New Hope than Episode III.
Boba Fett needs to have settled affairs with Hondo Ohnaka and retrieve Slave I. He’s got to be wearing his classic Mandalorian armor. Have produced a working relationship with the Empire and hooked up with Jabba the Hutt, as we see him as an escort in the Special Edition.
Lucasfilm should want to connect each era with few loose ends, at least in major character development aspects. Especially if the EU is erased, I should think they’d not want to leave popular characters like Boba Fett, a major moneymaker for the franchise, in the wind. It’s just bad storytelling to have a character like Boba Fett last seen in The Clone Wars with “starter set” armor, his flagship hidden in a pirate’s lair and no reputation of his own – to just show up years later with all those things with no explanation as to why.
They need to either provide that string of character development in Rebels or embrace the Expanded Universe to explain the happenings. Of course, they could simply reboot the Expanded Universe, but that would just tie their hands with future films just as equally as keeping the current comics and novels in the canon.
Note: The following contains SPOILERS to Star Wars #7
Over the past months, Dark Horse has delivered an Original Trilogy story arc that has been praised for its ability to capture the tone and dynamic of classic Star Wars. There’s a long list of reasons this is an asset, it is nostalgic and takes readers back to simpler times.
Writer Brian Woods, though, has continued another classic Star Wars trope, which I feel is a negative element –giving Boba Fett only a few panels every few issues. When reading “Star Wars: In The Shadows of Yavin,” the Boba Fett subplot has been a near duplicate of what we see in “Star Wars: Dark Empire.”
When Slave I appeared in Star Wars #2, I wrote in a preview piece that I hoped Dark Horse would break away from the cat-and-mouse story we’ve seen a continuously between Boba Fett and Han Solo. Instead, the cameo lasted a mere few story boxes before Solo makes an escape.
We catch back up with Han Solo a few issues later on Coruscant. Boba Fett tracks him to the seedy underworld, and we learn he’s partnered with Bossk to claim the Imperial bounty. Han Solo once again slips away with the help of an aspiring smuggler, Perla.
In Star Wars #7, Perla’s transport comes under attack by Slave 1 and Hound’s Tooth. The bounty hunters have flanked their prey, and it’s teased that Han Solo, Chewbacca and their new “friend” will have to blast their way out. The entire story arc feels like déjà vu – replace Bossk with Dengar and the story hits most of the plot points in “Dark Empire.”
The focus of this comic centers around the Rebellion, and on that note, the story has been excellent. However, Woods has been slow roasting Solo/Fett’s subplot, which I can only hope we’ll be awarded for our patients with a well deserved space battle and firefight in Star Wars #8.
Specifically, I’d like to see some actual interaction between Boba Fett and Bossk. I’d like to see whether Woods builds on the relationship we see between the two in The Clone Wars or if it’s more of a shaky alliance that existed prior to the retconned partnership – more akin to their interactions in early bounty hunter novels.
The last time we saw Boba Fett he had tracked the Millennium Falcon to a far reach of space, where Han Solo and Chewbacca were hiding within space debris for a rendezvous. The smuggler got away, but Boba Fett has now tracked Solo back to the planet Coruscant – and he’s not alone – the Mandalorian has allied himself with the bounty hunter, Bossk.
I’ve been wondering when writer Brian Wood would check back in with the bounty hunter. In “Star Wars” #5, we finally catch up with this subplot – but it leaves us with more questions than answers. Han Solo has come to Coruscant to obtain forged identification papers, but he and Chewbacca must run for it when they realize they’re being followed.
Boba Fett is torn between the two bounties which have been placed on the smuggler – the original bounty placed by Jabba the Hutt, and the latter by Darth Vader who specifically wants to get his hands on the Falcon. It’s while juggling his options that he loses track of Han Solo.
The Corellian managed to escape the grasp of Boba Fett and Bossk by accepting a proposition of an Imperial Sanitation Officer named Perla. She is aware of the high bounty placed on Solo’s head, a smuggler herself, she capitalizes on Solo’s predicament by offering him a getaway for 10 percent of the bounty reward.
There are a few things to note about this issue: the first is Wood seems to have adopted the retconned relationship between Boba and Bossk – mainly that they have a working relationship that seems (thus far) friendly.
Is this acknowledgment of the history of partnership we saw in The Clone Wars or the shaky partnership forged in the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy of books?
I continue to hope Wood has plans to devote an entire issue to the Boba Fett/Han Solo plot line, rather than giving a few panels to this story every few issues. I also hope he further fleshes out the partnership between Boba Fett and Bossk.
It should also be noted the illustration of Bossk is more similar to his tall and lanky appearance in The Clone Wars than depictions of him in comics and novels prior to any recon stories.
There’s no hints as to whether or not Boba Fett will appear in “Star Wars” #6, but as the story arc concludes – I can only imagine Wood plans to tie up this subplot – meaning chances are strong we won’t have to wait so long for another appearance by the Mandalorian.
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.