Bounty Hunter Tales of the Unexpected in a graphic novel!
If like me, you are a child of the 80’s with a deep seeded love for the legendary Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett, the arrival of Attack of the Clones in 2002 was awaited with glee when his father’s involvement in the story was announced. The arrival of Jango Fett was heralded by the fans of the greatest space saga of all-time, especially when we ascertained that the timeline depicted his character amid his paternal duties of our beloved bounty hunter.
Regrettably, the character suffered from the same lack of screen time endured by his son in the original trilogy and left the fans hungry for more action from the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. A series of video games and literature stories were soon to follow and the Star Wars Legends series of graphic novels from Titan Books provided the perfect platform for his character development. Written by Ron Marz with artwork by Tom Fowler, the story would reunite Fett with another of his Attack of the Clones co-stars in a brand-new prequel adventure set amongst the stars.
When he is hired by a mysterious unseen employer to retrieve an ancient alien artefact, Jango Fett has no idea that his path will cross with that of a woman from his past-the beautiful, deadly Zam Wesell-the only other bounty hunter worthy of being called Fett’s equal, and who is seeking the same prize. Somebody is playing them against one another; and their survival will depend on whether they decide to be allies or adversaries…
With Jango Fett taking centre stage in his very own adventure, the fans had expected a masterful story that would explain how Fett earned the mantle as the most revered bounty hunter in the galaxy and we were not disappointed. From the earliest moments, Jango hunts down one of the Black Sun crime syndicates highest level crime bosses and eliminates him in merciless fashion. However, upon arriving at his employers’ residence, he discovers him murdered at the hands of his Attack of the Clones co-star Zam Wesell. With his employer dead, Fett returns home reeling from the loss of such a lucrative contract and finds comfort in the embrace of his young son Boba, who finds his father’s career a strain on their relationship.
A secretive holo-transmission later and Jango sets off on an adventure to retrieve an ancient artefact in exchange for a staggering one hundred thousand credit bounty that would more than make up for his recent losses. With the aid of the trusty Slave-1, his modified Firespray-31-class patrol craft, he tracked the ancient relic to a ruined temple on the jungle planet Seylott where he tested his wits against not only the decaying temple but against the hostile insect creatures residing within. They proved to be no match for the Mandalorian warrior who traversed the temple to encounter the custodian of the relic, a force wielding creature whose desperate attempts to escape ended with his demise.
With the artefact, within in his grasp, Fett swiftly found the barrel of a pistol embedded in his back and was surprised to find the owner of the weapon was none other than his old adversary, Zam Wesell who quickly relieved him of his prize. The mutual respect between the pair was unfathomable but business was business and Zam was banking on a payday.
But with an attack from another creature upon them, Zam was savagely seized and her prize fumbled leaving Fett to escape with the relic. However, upon reaching the threshold of the temple, a sudden attack of morality sent him spinning on his heels in a daring move to rescue his opponent and within seconds the pair had combined to destroy the creature once and for all. In appreciation of his daring rescue, Zam withdrew her attempts to gain possession of the item and allowed Fett to depart with his hard-fought prize, but not before insinuating at a greater relationship between them. Fett returned the relic to his employer and received his handsome reward before returning to his son to celebrate in true parental style, by spending some hard-earned time with his child.
With a strong story filled with action and robust characters, the graphic novel is restricted by a definitive lack of any real excitement or fruition. Marz has undoubtedly written better material than this and he is betrayed by an underwhelming and chaotic illustration from Fowler that comes across as messy upon the page. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details and with the Jango Fett entry, the final product feels like a cheap publication run off at speed to cash in on the character’s popularity.
The undesirable innuendo forwarded from Zam Wesell toward Jango Fett is an uncharacteristic flaw that betrays a level of unwelcome seediness that is accentuated further by the character’s adoption of a Princess Leia type slave disguise to heighten her insertion into the underworld. This pitfall is not a new trait in the Star Wars universe but its use seems all too inappropriate here. The other characters in the story are wholly unmemorable, even with the young Boba Fett being diminished role that portrays him as a sulking child desperate for some daddy time, a nuance that runs counter to Boba’s overall legacy.
Despite these major flaws, the graphic novel does allow the main character time to flourish and Jango Fett is paid the ultimate tribute by showing his true brilliance in the bounty hunter fraternity. His techniques are as brutal as they are merciless and yet they yield impressive results, results that the galaxies underworld pay him the utmost respect for. The diamond concealed amongst the rough of the story is the detail that Fett’s jetpack had been demonstrating signs of malfunction and was overdue for repair. This fact enhances the packs failure to engage whilst duelling with Mace Windu which ultimately contributed to him losing his life.
In short, the Jango Fett graphic novel affords us time with the bounty hunter we were desperate to experience during Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. However, it is a profound disservice that the story is a fleeting affair that falls far short of the bench mark expected from the Star Wars universe.
In Jango Fett, we were rewarded with an incredible character that deserved more respect than he received. Should you find yourself reading his graphic novel, expect it to be over all too soon with disappointment in abundance.
May The Force Be With You
Star Wars: Jango Fett by Ron Marz, and Lucas Books. © Titan Books, 2002