A little over a month ago the team at The Star Wars Report Network launched a new podcast, “Star Wars Bookworms.”
While they’ve released only three episodes so far, I recommend this new podcast to any fans of the Expanded Universe – whether you’re a casual reader or hardcore completist.
Designed to review, analyze and discuss the happenings in the Expanded Universe, the team hosted by Teresa Delgado and Aaron Goins show great promise in being not only an informative podcast about Star Wars comics and literature – but they demonstrate a natural skill set for interviewing creators.
The hosts and guests approach each topic in a casual manner, not overwhelming listeners with an overabundance of timelines and facts. It’s much more like the discussions you’d have with fellow friends at your local comic shop or in your living room.
Bookworms released a two part episode in March, where they breakdown both volumes of Blood Ties – the multi-generational comic book that dives into the familial story of Jango and Boba Fett.
One of the most enjoyable and well written Boba Fett stories to be published over recent years, the team at Bookworms give some great insights into these volumes and make a number of interesting points.
If you’d like to hear their thoughts on Blood Ties, along with a fascinating interview with Alexander Freed, writer on the Old Republic video games.
You can download Star Wars Bookworms free on iTunes
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 “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.