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JANGO FETT: OPEN SEASONS

A graphic novel by Haden Blackman, Ramon Bachs, and Raul Fernandez (2002, Dark Horse Comics)
32 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

From child to adult, Jango searches for and fights the man who murdered his family.

 

 

2 stars

Read on March 30th, 2013 for the 2nd time, in softcover graphic novel format  
    The visuals were pretty good in this tale, but the story just didn't interest me. It tries to take the pre-established Journeyman tale of the legacy Boba Fett story and give it to his father, fleshing it out some more as Dooku determines whether Jango would be a good candidate as the source for the clone army. I didn't get any more out of it reading the comic for a second time. However, I did like the way the Clone Wars animated series used some elements from here, including Death Watch and even Vizla, if I'm not mistaken. It provides a little more continuity between the different versions of Mandalorians we see in the books and TV series.  

 

2 stars

Read on April 21st, 2003, in softcover graphic novel format  
    A boring story and unexplainable plot machinations sink this tale, even though it has some great artwork.

Strangely enough, it was the artwork that brought this book up into the realm of readable. It was also the thing that I was most worried about, since the characters, especially young Jango, looked way to cartoonish. The characters are drawn in the same style as the Underworld comic Yavin Vassilika. However, many of the characters simply seemed a little larger than life. I would have never guessed that Dooku was the same person portrayed in Attack of the Clones, but that doesn't matter to me all that much, as long as his characterization stayed the same.

The artist draws really good battles and backgrounds, however. They are not the best I've seen in Star Wars comics, but seeing Jango in a forest, on a rooftop, or just about anywhere left me appreciating this work. I think the artist does the best job with clothing. Even the Mandalorian armor seems to have muscles, and the robes of the Governor almost had character of their own.

Unfortunately, the four stories told in this book are not interesting in the slightest. I was never a big fan of Boba Fett when he got some background in the original expanded universe books, and especially in the horribly written Bounty Hunter War Trilogy. It seems that his father is also such an anonymous character for me. His other adventure, with Zam Wesell just before Attack of the Clones, was mediocre, as well.

The frame story for this book deals with Darth Tyranus recruiting Jango Fett to be the Prime Clone, for creating the clone army that will appear in Episode II. Tyranus therefore has to recite his history, first as a young man being recruited into the Mandalorians, then as a young man on his first command, as told by a tortured associate of his. Then Dooku recites the battle between Jango and the Jedi, which destroyed his company, and the last part comes directly from Jango's mouth.

It seems that Jango had the same tortured youth that so many of heroes have, of watching his family get slaughtered by evil men. Why, then, I wonder, does he get revenge only for his father? He never even mentions his sister or mother when citing his hatred for the main bad guy, Vizla. He is taken in by Jaster Mereel, head of the Mandalorians, since Fett's father was killed by his rival, leader of the Death Watch, a branch of the Mandalorians. He helps set a trap for Vizla, who seems to have forgotten that his quarry escaped, and is likely to come after him. How Vizla missed killing Jango, when he had a knife slicing somewhere near the frightened boy, is beyond me. I have trouble believing that Jaster wouldn't slice Vizla's body up, instead of leaving him there... to rise from the dead, so it seems.

For Vizla returns in the next segment, setting up an ambush to catch the Mandalorians, who seem to be simply mercenaries for hire. To be fair, the author does a fair job of setting this story up, beginning with Jaster's trust in giving Jango this command. This is the story where most of the beautiful artwork comes in. Jango's colleague, Silas, gets a remarkable transition from his tortured face to the flashback. Unfortunately, there is a ridiculous shot of Jango running, in which he looks very awkward, and cartoonish. Jaster is killed by Vizla, but in bringing Jaster's body back, Jango is seen as the one who should lead the group, now, instead of the second in command, who left the leader to die. Technically, I wonder how Jango's flame thrower can target so far from his body?

In the third section, after curbing an uprising for a planetary governor, he is betrayed, as the governor seems to also be dealing with Vizla. Why? Who cares, says the story! The Jedi are called in to deal with the Mandalorians, and it seems that they take their sweet time, as Jango makes it all the way back to his encampment just as the Jedi get there, too. It is a slaughter, as the Mandalorians fall to the Jedi. It seems that many Jedi are killed, too, but I didn't see it. The way Jango killed that Jedi is very stupid. Since Dooku says that he killed many Jedi with his hands, I have to assume that this was a remedial Jedi team, led by Dooku himself. This appears to be the catalyst for Dooku leaving the Jedi Order. He claims that the Council gave many such overwhelming and bad decisions. I just don't see it.

In the last part, Dooku wants to know how Jango escaped slavery, since the Jedi gave him over to the governor after their battle with him. How could they embrace slavery, which Padm says is illegal in the Republic during The Phantom Menace? His escape is stupid, and also takes only two pages. The rest of that tale relates how Jango tracked down Vizla (through the governor, who miraculously doesn't appear to die), and kills him. It was kind of neat to see Fett smashing through the cockpit screen of that ship, but the battle afterwards left a lot to be desired. In the first part, it was Jaster who left Vizla alone, wrongly thinking he was dead. Now, Vizla thinks he has killed Jango. After the encounters they have had, I think Vizla would cut Jango's head off to be sure. But no, Jango gets to jump Vizla in the escape pod, and the leave before the ship explodes. But for some reason, they don't fight inside the pod, all the way down to the surface. Or if they do fight, neither one of them is killed, and I don't see how that could happen. In such close quarters, they should have killed each other. Jango ends up literally feeding Vizla to the wolves, and watches, to make sure that this time, the man won't be returning from the dead.

In the end, Jango poisons Dooku, who uses the living Force to cure himself. Both being impressed with the other, Jango accepts Dooku's offer, asking only for Boba Fett along with his money. Ho, hum...

What more can I say? The four stories had a common element, in the enemy, but none of them were long enough to tell us much. I think an entire graphic novel dealing with Jango could be interesting, but to cut it up piecemeal just doesn't satisfy me. There were also several spelling or grammar mistakes that sucked any momentum that the story did accumulate.

This story allows us to get to know the ill-fated Jango Fett, but the person that I met just didn't seem to be that interesting.

 
   

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