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A graphic novel by John Wagner, Ian Gibson (1999, Dark Horse Comics)
1 year before Star Wars: A New Hope

Darth Vader hires Fett to track down an Imperial deserter who has come across a unique treasure, but doesn't want Fett to survive with the knowledge of the prize.



3 stars

Read on August 24th, 2000 for the second time  
    I don't know what book I was reading when I reviewed this last time, below, because the artwork here was almost as bad as it gets. There was little, if any, detail for any of the characters. The style is reminiscent of Underworld, Jedi vs. Sith, and so on, but in a form that is much more raw. Even the stances that the characters take in their fighting were so exaggerated that they looked rather comical. Looking back on my previous review, I can only assume I was talking about the covers!

The story, on the other hand, impressed me quite a bit. I loved the humor involved, at almost all levels. The three assassins were true goons. I don't know how they managed to get their jobs done for Vader at any other time. Fett gets on a dry wit, as well, especially when we are privy to his thoughts as a narrator. Though uncharacteristic, even Vader gets in one or two comedic lines! The funniest people, however, were the Order of Pessimists. I loved the way the asked for forgiveness for being overly optimistic. Being shot could be seen as optimism compared to some other, more torturous deaths!

I thought that Darth Vader had too many lines to speak, and much of what he said, or thought, was already apparent. His test of will, however, sacrificing the seer in order to save himself from the fate of being killed by the Emperor for treason, was wonderfully done. Similarly, when Boba Fett refuses to listen to the seer, not wanting to believe in fate, the character becomes even more complex. The fact that he was able to kick the seer towards the lava pits shows that power for the sake of power is not what he is about.

The story before the battle was one of tracing the Imperial officer. This allowed Boba Fett to show his many different techniques at interrogation and observation. I don't know why everything has to be so bloody and violent, though.

I think there were more people killed in this comic than most others in the Star Wars universe. Most of these were innocent people who were just trying to help out, like the freighter captain who smuggled the officer off-planet, the tattooist, and even the speeder rental agent.

Still, this story and the short story that accompanied it, "Salvage", were interesting enough, and quite entertaining. If only the artwork really was amazing and detailed, this could have been a much better graphic novel.



4 stars

Read on June 4th, 2000  
    I am really enjoying the adventures of Boba Fett in the comics.  Taking place before The Empire Strikes Back, we get to see how Vader and Fett meet, and why they seem to have mutual respect for each other.

The artwork was superb.  I don't think I've seen Fett drawn with so much detail.  His gear and his posture, as well as the attitude and confidence he displays were all conveyed perfectly. 

The story itself is very linear, for a change.  There are four points of view, but three of them are very small.  It is Boba Fett we care about. 

Vader contacts Fett to track down an Imperial officer who killed his superior and fled with a casket of mysterious contents.  Vader doesn't care about what happens to the man.  He wants the box,  and warns Fett not to open it, but does not explain why. 

Vader is smart, however.  He knows that Fett will open the box, and probably won't want to give it up.  So he sends a small group of assassins after him.  Once the box has been secured, they are to kill Fett.  But he somehow knows that they will fail. 

The Imperial officer has taken refuge in the sanctuary of the Order of Pessimists, who are very funny in their ways.  Always fearing the worst, they are prepared when their doom falls upon them.  Almost. 

Fett tracks the man easily.  He has left a trail that is difficult to follow, but easy for Fett, who shows his confidence and lethality in almost every situation. 

Through the trail, he discovers what is in the casket.  The Imperial officer had been involved in the battle for a savage people's world.  He was enthralled by the one woman who didn't fight against him with force -their leader.  She was a woman who could predict the future.  The savages could come back to life after being killed even six or seven times.  These were all clues. 

The Imperial officer discovered a virus that could kill all the savages, but he kept the seer alive.  She gave him many predictions, all of which came true.  He killed his superior by accident, trying to keep her secret.  She almost died, her welcome rest, but he cut off her head, and she survived.  Now she is driving him insane with her predictions. 

Fett has arrived just in time.  He kills the officer, as well as his potential assassins, but knows that the seer could bring a good price if he brought her to the black market. But Vader arrives, intent on taking the prize and killing Fett. 

A great battle erupts between the two, and Vader gains respect for Fett.  But he decides enough is enough, and uses the Force to seep the life from his enemy's body.  Just then, Fett kicks the seer's head over a cliff and into the fiery pit below.  Vader refocuses his energies, and saves the head, releasing Fett.

In a sadistic twist, it is revealed that while Vader was concentrating on saving the head of the seer, Fett had him within his sights, and could have killed him.

Back on his ship, Vader gets many predictions from the seer.  She reveals that Fett will be useful very soon.  Some predictions are contradictory, but one is clear. The Emperor will want his treasure.  Sure enough, the Emperor calls.  Vader uses the Force to kill the seer, and tells the Emperor that she was killed in the struggle with Fett. 

I really enjoyed this little adventure. 


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