Boba Fett is one of the most popular and iconic characters in the “Star Wars” movies, despite the fact that he does not receive very much screen time in the series. Perhaps this is because of his father and their obvious visual ties to the Mandalorians, the infamous fan-favorites of the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe. Perhaps it is the mystery surrounding his presence in the movies and the fact that he has enough gadgets and resourcefulness to make even Batman jealous, or maybe it is simply because Fett’s appearances are too brief to be screwed up by any of Lucas’s past (or Disney’s possible future) modifications to the films. Whatever the reason, most “Star Wars” fans cannot seem to get enough of the bounty hunter who scares even the mighty Han Solo and, as a result, Fett is a popular character for “Star Wars” writers to explore and expand upon. “Star Wars: Blood Ties” collects issues #1 – #4 of “Star Wars: Blood Ties – Jango and Boba Fett” published by Dark Horse Comics and continues the long-standing tradition of slightly expanding one of the most feared and respected bounty hunters in the galaxy.
The story begins with Boba remembering some of the time he spent with his father, Jango, before the events of “Attack of the Clones.” Jango receives a mission to eliminate a man Count Dooku perceives as a threat. Jango accepts and brings Boba along on the mission. Jango allows his son to try to snipe their target, but when the mystery man dodges, Jango engages the target directly to finish him off. To his shock, Jango learns that the man is one of his own clones who ran away from the still-forming Republic army. Jango shoots and kills the man and then sees the man’s wife and son, whose name is Connor Freeman. Jango refuses to answer any of the woman’s questions, but leaves her and the boy alive. He returns to Boba, who has seen nothing of what has just transpired between his father and his target, and leaves the planet, obviously disturbed by what has happened. He promises Boba that they will talk about what happened later, but (spoiler alert for those who have not seen “Attack of the Clones”) Jango is killed in the Battle of Geonosis before he and Boba get the chance to discuss the events of that mission.
Many years later, when Boba has grown up and taken up his father’s profession as another intimidating and effective bounty hunter, he is told that a crime lord named Tayand has placed a bounty on Freeman for gambling debts, though Fett is not at this time aware of the connection between Freeman and his own father. However, when Boba learns that Jango had set up an inheritance fund for Freeman prior to his own death, Fett takes the job. The comic cuts to Freeman in a bar, where he shoots and kills another bounty hunter without even looking before being caught by Boba Fett. Fett encounters some resistance from a group called the League of Bounty Hunters whose members want to steal Freeman and claim his bounty for themselves. Fett quickly dispatches the group and recaptures Freeman. When Freeman revives, Fett reveals not only that the inheritance fund was set up by Jango, not Freeman’s father as Connor had previously thought, but also that he was the one who initially shot Connor’s father. Furious, they begin to fight each other and as a result miss the arrival of the remnants of the League of Bounty Hunters. The two remaining members manage to grab Freeman and shoot Fett without checking to make sure he is dead before taking off to claim the bounty. When the League arrives on Tayand’s planet, Connor manages to kill one of the members before Fett swoops in to reclaim Freeman. Before Fett takes him to Tayand, Freeman manages to explain that the bounty exists because he went gambling to increase the inheritance he thought his dad had left him, intending to multiply his father’s legacy. He won against Tayand, who, unaccustomed to losing, declared Connor to be a cheater and put a bounty on his head. Fett turns Connor in, but then offers to pay Freeman’s debt. Tayand, however, is more interested in making Connor suffer than he is in getting the money. In a desperate move, Freeman puts a bounty of three credits on Tayand, which Fett accepts. Fett makes short work of Tayand and he and Freeman fight their way past the remaining thugs. Once they have taken out everybody in the lair, Connor gathers up as much of Tayand’s money as he can hold and he and Boba part ways, both still “trying to make a dead man proud.”
This comic is an interesting piece of work. One could make the argument that it is mostly riding the coattails of the ever-profitable popularity of Boba Fett and, to some extent, that is true. However, it is still an enjoyable comic in its own right. Stories that explore the unique father-son relationship between Jango and Boba as well as those which focus on the balance between Boba’s identities as Jango’s clone and the man he has chosen to be tend to be very interesting. The little moments and details are definitely the best parts of this story, from the revealing and often entertaining ways that characters react to the mere presence of Jango or Boba to the snide remarks Connor makes throughout the story whenever he finds himself in a somewhat hopeless situation.
The art is unique and worth mentioning. It tends to focus largely on hues and reflections of light with emphasis on glows and colors on the characters and backgrounds. The characters’ faces and other more personal details are not blurry by any means, but they are not particularly well-defined either. The focus in this art definitely lies more in general ideas and symbols, reflecting the comic’s emphasis on legacies passed on through bloodlines and actions from the past. It is a bit of an odd style and the strange factor of it is often noticeable but rarely distracting.
Additionally, it is always a pleasure to learn more about the relationship between Boba and his father and the few pages at the beginning which cover Jango’s training for Boba are no exception. The scene, which involves Jango forcing young Boba to steal a tooth from a gigantic creature whose teeth are about the same size as the boy, goes from terrible and horrifying to actually somewhat touching as the reader realizes the strange but definite way in which Jango cares for his son. The comic makes it clear that Boba returns this odd affection even after his father’s death, showing at the end that to this day, Boba still collects teeth from monsters that he faces.
Overall, this is an enjoyable story that should interest casual “Star Wars” fans who only know Boba Fett from the movies as well as die-hard Fett fans who know what material his armor is made out of (beskar iron, for the curious). It may have some appeal even to those who are not normally fans of typical “Star Wars” stories, as this comic does not contain many references to the movies or much of the rest of the better-known parts of “Star Wars.” It is not a must-have story, but it is definitely worth a read for any who can get their hands on it.