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Star Wars: Age of Republic: Jango Fett

Jango Fett is one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy, a cold-blooded and ruthless assassin who always gets the job done no matter what it takes.If Jango’s past has been built on violence and destruction…what’s left to build his future?

Writer: Jody Houser
Pencils and Inks: Luke Ross
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Cover artist: Paolo Rivera
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publication date: January 9, 2019
Pages: 24
UPC: 759606091966

Age of Republic continues, this time bringing the mysterious bounty hunter Jango Fett to the fore in what is – so far – the most satisfying entry in the series. Not only are we treated to some lush artwork from the ever-dependable Luke Ross, but writer Jody Houser continues to find the voices of these key characters, evoking Attack of the Clones and showing us just why Jango Fett was so feared and respected, and how his son Boba learned the family business.

The set up for the issue is simple. Three bounty hunters have been hired, along with an as-yet-unseen fourth, to capture a runaway Twi’lek and take her back to her family. The fourth hunter, Jango Fett brings his son Boba to observe and learn, and journeys to Ord Mantell – in the Mid Rim on the Burke’s Trailing hyperspace route running south from Ord Mantell through Jedha, Jakku down to Ponemah – to apprehend the runaway. It’s an easy mission, chosen more to teach Boba the ways of the business than to earn a fast credit.

It’s here that we get the biggest and best reveal of the issue. We know from Attack of the Clones that Jango made his riches in his dealings with Darth Tyrannus, also known as Count Dooku, and we see their meeting on the Moons of Bogden, south-east of Ord Mantell on the Hydian Way, just on the periphery of the Inner and Mid Rim. We watch the deal be struck, Tyrannus having access to Fett’s DNA and a relocation to the lost cloners world of Kamino in return for vast riches and an untampered clone son, Boba.

Amidst what would be a relatively standard job for a bounty hunter, this is a gem of a moment, but it doesn’t feel out of place. On the contrary, the issue is framed around Jango’s desire to set up a better life for his son. A bounty hunters life for sure – it’s all Boba and, we assume, Jango have ever known – and one that the elder Fett is determined to prepare his son for. The drive for profit is gone. Dooku promised Jango incredible riches, and as the Chadra-Fan bounty hunter Tiver says. ‘I guess the itch never goes away’. Jango is driven to hunt, and determined to prepare Boba for the perils of a merciless galaxy. Bringing the youngster along, and seeing him pick up the foibles and traits of unfamiliar bounty hunters, is a unique window into their world. And, we clearly see that young Boba is more than up to the task. One decision he makes shows he has his most useful skill down already, the ability to instill fear in his enemies. As his later career would show, Boba’s reputation rode far ahead of the man himself, making his missions that much easier.

The artwork by Luke Ross is, as always, beautifully framed with strikingly chosen layouts and attractive characterizations. The colouring by Java Tartaglia compliments the artwork, although as with some of the previous issues I believe his pencils would benefit from a stronger inker. Not to criticise the finished product, think John Byrne with Karl Kessel or Terry Austin inking, then step forward a couple of years when Byrne inked his own work. Still striking, still fantastic, but two skilled hands are always better than one.

A series that at first seemed more of a marketing ploy than a cohesive unit of tales continues to improve, and while the stories so far are largely unconnected, Houser has shown that regular Star Wars writing gigs need to be coming her way. These small, compact stories suit her style well, allowing us insights into vital character moments. Reading more of this would definitely not be a hardship.

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