Omnibus: Boba Fett
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release date: March 24, 2010
Era: Classic/New Republic
Designed to gather novel-sized stories and material never before collected, the Star Wars Omnibus Collections are perfect for any fan looking to find a long, cohesive story. With an average of 400 pages in each release, Dark Horse has provided an economical way for readers to experience stories from all the different Star Wars eras.
Omnibus: Boba Fett stretches through several years chronologically. This collection showcases the infamous bounty hunter during the apex of Imperial rule, when the clash between the Rebellion and Empire reaches a fever pitch, and even into the years when the New Republic reigns supreme. In many ways, these stories are to be thanked (or blamed) for the immense popularity of Boba Fett. Before he was a child and before he was a clone… he was simply the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy.
Enemy of the Empire:
This collection opens with Enemy of the Empire, and there is no better story filled with action and sheer absurdity to start this omnibus. In essence, Enemy of the Empire boils down to a story that shows what would happen if Darth Vader fought Boba Fett. This is two of the most popular masked villains in Star Wars lore fighting against each other, and in a story that is completely canon. In this story, Darth Vader hires Boba Fett (already acknowledged as the best bounty hunger in the galaxy) to track down a crazed Imperial officer. Of course, it all builds up to a one-on-one match between Vader and Fett, and the fight is surprisingly fair to both characters. Throughout the story, the conflict is built up very well, and readers will finish the story incredibly satisfied. The outcome may already be known at the outset, but that does not stop the story from simply being well-told.
The story makes great use of a conventional plot technique used frequently in stories told starring Boba Fett, but twists it in a way that readers likely have not experienced before. In this story, Fett takes Vader’s job without having all the pertinent information necessary to complete his task successfully. Granted, it makes for telling a good story, but this is a plot device that is fairly standard in stories starring Boba Fett. What the story does right, though, is really detail Fett’s hunt for the Imperial officer and put the readers in his shoes as he attempts to find his prey. Fans will get a thrill out of seeing the bounty hunter utilize some detective skills and gadgets to further his hunt. Of course, Fett is also ruthless and completely unstoppable throughout the story, building up the mythos surrounding his character as the coolest bounty hunter in the galaxy. Fans of Darth Vader, on the other hand, will not really get to see a new side of the helmeted Sith. Vader is very one-minded in his desire to retrieve the Imperial officer’s personal effects, making him extremely arrogant. It serves a purpose in allowing Fett to be able to outsmart him, but it does tend to strain the believability of the story.
The artwork is great, and really different from the standard artwork that attempts to capture the realism in Star Wars. Instead, this story showcases artwork that is a bit more abstract and seems to be of a more sketch-like quality. In all actuality, this suits the story very well. It remains visceral, while also adding a sense of absurdity to a plot that, on the surface, seems every bit as absurd.
Most fans will be able to approach Enemy of the Empire and know exactly what they are getting themselves into. This is nothing more than a high-octane thrill ride, a comic-version of a summer action flick. From start to finish, Enemy of the Empire will grab hold and refuse to let go until the final page. It has twisted humor in the form of the Ancient Order of Pessimists, scares in the form of the zombie-esque Icarii, and unstoppable action in the one of the best fight scenes in Star Wars history: Boba Fett vs Darth Vader.
Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika:
At first glance, Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika looks like some sort of oddball comedy. Looks can be deceiving, though, as this tells a serious story that actually serves as a pseudo-sequel to the A. C. Crispin Han Solo trilogy, tying up a few loose ends found in the books. If one can get past the atrocious artwork, Underworld is arguably the sleeper hit of the entire omnibus. It tells a story that includes all of the original trilogy scoundrels and bounty hunters, and although some cameos are forced, the cast is highlighted in a way that does not make the story seem overcrowded.
In Underworld, the galaxy’s best scoundrels and bounty hunters are tasked with retrieving an ancient artifact: the titular Yavin Vassilika. It is the ultimate race to the prize, and the story really comes to life right at the start. There is a lot of humor to be found in this Star Wars take on the classic film, “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World,” but it quickly loses steam. Greedo, for example, is included solely for comic relief, but his character is so pathetic that he sucks all the fun out of every scene he appears in. Lando Calrissian is utilized as the character who complains about every situation he finds himself in. Designed as a five-issue story, Underworld overstays its welcome before the story hits the halfway mark. Fans should not be surprised at the ending, which is one of the most atrocious endings in any Star Wars comic. It offers no real resolution to any of the plotlines, and will leave the reader wondering if their omnibus is missing any pages.
Unfortunately, the artwork found in Underworld makes it impossible to take the story seriously. Every single character looks absurdly cartoonish, an absolute caricature of their film version. Han Solo, for example, has eyes so beady that he does not have pupils. Boba Fett, on the other hand, looks about 12 feet tall and his helmet is capable of facial expressions. To simulate walking long distances, characters are sometimes shown multiple times in a single frame of artwork. In theory, this makes sense. But in the final product, it looks very odd and makes the panels more crowded than they should be. The artwork also often includes boxes drawn around certain images to grab the attention of the reader to an event happening that might otherwise be looked. Again, this is a technique that makes sense in theory. But when used, it tends to bring the reader out of the story
There is little reason for Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika to have been included in this omnibus. Yes, Boba Fett does appear in the story, but he is not a character that is central to the plot. He has his usual moments of being a silent, unstoppable force, and he is sure to gain some chuckles from readers with some of his actions, but this is really about Han Solo. This was a story with much potential, ultimately plagued with the inability to capitalize on the frenetic fun that it tries so hard to emulate.
Sacrifice tells one of the most ruthless Boba Fett stories in the Expanded Universe, as the bounty hunter tears through this story using torture and coldblooded murder to achieve his goals. In this case, Fett is working for an evil Imperial governor to help destroy the Rebellion presence on a small backwater planet. This story, which has some great artwork, is particularly notable because Boba Fett does not speak throughout the entire issue. He truly becomes the ultimate unstoppable force, and there are times when he is downright menacing. Still, Sacrifice does hit a few pitfalls. It relies on the tired lessons associated with always paying Boba Fett, and it ends with a crummy dated moral that really fails to capture the Boba Fett character, now that he has been fleshed out more with Attack of the Clones. Overall, though, the story is strong. Fett fans will get a real kick out of this one.
Wreckage is a story that few will remember once the omnibus is finished. It is a single issue that takes almost no time to read due to the extremely small amount of dialogue. This story showcases Boba Fett as he fights his way through robots and wild animals to retrieve an item from a wrecked Imperial Star Destroyer before it is destroyed. It is a race-against-the-clock story that never imparts any real sense of urgency on the reader, with artwork that is decent, but nothing worthwhile. On its own, the ending could be viewed as poignant or heavy. Unfortunately, Wreckage ends the way that most one-shot Boba Fett stories seem to end, and most of those stories are collected in this omnibus. Fett is at the top of his game, as usual, but in a very lackluster story.
The basic idea behind Overkill is one that fans of Boba Fett can get behind: you don’t need to hire Boba Fett for little problems. At its heart, this is a classic tale of betrayal and Imperial politics, but Fett is well-utilized in this story. He stays true to his character, using the same force and skill that he always displays, to completely dominate his targets. There are a few downsides to this tale, like the overly cartoonish artwork, but the story itself is solid. Fett plays a good supporting role, but it is a bit disappointing that this is yet another story in the omnibus that shows him as the hired help for Imperials. Still, it provides some signature Fett moments that readers will recognize and enjoy.
Salvage is a decent enough story with slightly dated artwork, but there is really nothing special about it. Half an hour after reading it, the details will be mostly forgotten. The story involves Boba Fett encountering an abandoned space ship, which is quickly discovered to be infested with flesh-eating insects. The story is suspenseful enough, and there are a few neat bits like the computer of his ship, Slave I, conversing with him throughout the story, but it really just feels like a Boba Fett story that is going through the motions.
Twin Engines of Destruction:
Without a doubt, Twin Engines of Destruction is a love letter to the fans of Boba Fett. This story takes place after the original film trilogy, in a time when the notoriety of Boba Fett has waned following his plummet into the Sarlacc Pit. Jodo Kast, a sloppy Fett imposter, has used the absence of the infamous Mandalorian bounty hunter to capitalize on higher bounties normally reserved for Fett. Of course, there is a terrible price to pay for impersonating Boba Fett, and that is exactly what Twin Engines of Destruction is about.
When it comes to Boba Fett, readers have always seen the bounty hunter as he follows the hunt from start to finish. In this story, however, Fett takes the opposite role. Readers will see Fett as he lures Kast into the most devious of traps. Fett proves that he’s not simply a good hunter, but that he is a brilliant tactician on all levels. It is an old school tale of revenge, with equally old school artwork that continues to hold up extremely well.
Twin Engines of Destruction was created simply to let fans of Boba Fett know that their favorite bounty was alive and just as deadly in the years following the original film trilogy. Fett remains as ruthless as ever, systematically proving that he is the best bounty hunter ever to have existed. Whether you love him or hate him, Twin Engines of Destruction is the Boba Fett story that spawned his out-of-control awesome image.
Death, Lies, and Treachery:
If you can look past the Cam Kennedy artwork and coloring, which fans either seem to love or hate, Death, Lies and Treachery is a pretty solid Boba Fett story. This is an adventure packed with action, which should be pretty unsurprising considering its titular character, and Fett is exceptionally brutal and efficient in his various hunts. Throughout the story, which is actually comprised of three acts, Fett crosses paths with the brutal Kooda brothers, characters that look like a human-shark hybrid. Physically, they are menacing. But when it comes to brains, which Fett has always highlighted in his stories, they are clearly no match for the bounty hunter.
Boba Fett isn’t the only character showcased, though. Several Hutt characters have sizeable roles, and they all serve to show a deeper look into Hutt politics, love and humor. Although Boba Fett is clearly the main character, this story tells an overarching story of Hutt rivalry. Luckily for readers, the Hutt politics takes a major backseat to some great action sequences that showcase Boba Fett. The story does get a bit grisly at times, and is definitely a mature story, but it is a classic Boba Fett story from start to finish.
Agent of Doom:
Agent of Doom, is a great story to close out this omnibus. Taking place 10 years after A New Hope, the story stars Boba Fett, still struggling to rebuild his reputation following his disastrous fall into the Sarlacc Pit. While so many stories have shown Fett to be motivated by money, Agent of Doom offers a different view of the bounty hunter when he takes a job to restore his image as the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. Fett is his usual self in this story, being both short on words and an unstoppable one-man army as he hunts down ex-Imperial criminals. With artwork that is probably Cam Kennedy’s absolute best, and a story reminiscent of the hunting of ex-Nazis following World War II, Agent of Doom is a great closing act in this omnibus.
Make no mistake; the purchase of a Dark Horse omnibus collection should only ever come down to the content that is inside of it. In terms of format, the omnibus is unparalleled. It’s a sturdy paperback that is slightly smaller than a hardback novel. It’s very portable, with enough pages (averaging around 400 pages per omnibus) to make it feel like you’re really getting the maximum value for your hard-earned money. This isn’t a skinny, flimsy trade paperback. This is truly a graphic novel. Our omnibus reviews are meant only to inform potential readers of the content they will be experiencing in any given graphic novel, and to guide readers to the content that they will enjoy the most.
Reviewed by Chris Carey
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