review: star wars - blood ties: boba fett is dead (graphic novel)
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Or is he? After all, he's no good to us dead...
There are many things that I love about the Star Wars universe, but if I had to pick just one then without a shadow of a doubt it would be Boba Fett. Since he first appeared on the bridge of the Super Star Destroyer Executor in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), he has, hands down, been my favourite character. Not even having a pint-sized, mop-haired version of him shoehorned into the Prequel Trilogy for no apparent reason other than to shift more toys was able to shake my faith in or dampen my enthusiasm for all things Fett.
In the intervening years, the mythology of the galaxy’s most notorious bounty hunter has exploded at an incredible rate, along with everything else in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, to the point where keeping up would be a full-time job. As a result I haven’t even begun to read everything that’s been written about Fett, though I must admit that while lack of available time is part of the reason for this, the greater truth is that I prefer to retain the sense of mystique that I loved when his story began in Empire and seemingly ended in the Great Pit of Carkoon in Return Of The Jedi (1983).
That said, I do occasionally enjoy dipping into the bounty hunter’s ever-enlarging history, and so when a graphic novel with the title Boba Fett Is Dead turns up then it’s a no-brainer that my curiosity will get the better of me and I’ll have to take a look, and I’m glad that I did.
Reprinting the original four-issue arc that appeared under the Star Wars Blood Ties banner, Boba Fett Is Dead opens with the titular event being reported throughout the galaxy, along with pictures of the team that was assembled to bring him down. Of course, this being Fett, and the fact that the story is set a year before the Battle Of Yavin in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), it’s a safe bet that the armour-clad body isn’t who we think it is. Unfortunately for Connor Freeman, though, when the news reaches him at his cantina on Atzerri, he appears to take the news badly and despite the warnings from his four-armed best friend, soon appears to have no alibi when members of the team who killed Fett start turning up dead themselves.
Before long an attempt is made on Freeman’s life and he ends up on the Mandalorian world of Concord Dawn where he makes a startling discovery. All is, of course, not as it seems and without wishing to spoil the rest of the plot I’ll say only that even as a pretty major Fett fan, I learned something about his history that I’d previously had no inkling about but which I found somewhat satisfying.
Written by regular Dark Horse Comics Star Wars scribe Tom Taylor, Boba Fett Is Dead rockets along at a cracking pace, deftly balancing enough action to keep a squadron of Stormtroopers busy with a genuinely human story. Fett's tale is brought vividly to life by Chris Scalf – no stranger to Star Wars himself having designed the R2-D2 mail boxes for the US Postal Service – whose beautiful art perfectly captures the feel of the Star Wars universe and brings to mind Cam Kennedy’s work on the superb Dark Empire trilogy that Dark Horse published between 1991 and 1995 (which also happened to feature the ‘official’ return of Fett).
Though, by necessity, the outcomes of stories told using established characters whose fates we already know are rarely surprising, Boba Fett Is Dead is a prime example of the journey being far more important than the destination, and the galactic road trip that Taylor takes us on here is a very enjoyable one, even throwing in a couple of surprise cameos for the hard core fans. As such, I can heartily recommend this book to Fett fans and as a worthy addition to the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Star Wars: Blood Ties - Boba Fett Is Dead is out now.
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