Sunday, May 20, 2012

Shepherd492 reviews: Star Wars: Blood Ties: A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett

Blood Ties: A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett  

The four part series was initially released in 2010 as a limited miniseries. A sequel, Boba Fett is Dead, has since been released. The trade paperback was released in May 2011.

            Star Wars: Blood Ties features Boba and Jango Fett in a quest that spans the adult life of both characters. The character tying both tales together is Connor Freeman, son of a runaway clone Jango is sent to eliminate. This compelling new character, along with phenomenal artwork, witty writing, and gorgeous artwork, helps make Blood Ties into one of the premier arcs of the recent Dark Horse era.
            The comic starts with an interesting lesson from Jango to Boba. Their relationship is an important part of the comic early on, and we get some great scenes about how Jango is trying to raise his son. Jango takes his son on the latest hunt, but after being forced to take the man down in close quarters, Jango makes a startling discovery- it is a clone of himself. Jango, just like Boba, isn't one to leave a job unfinished, and completes his task with mixed feelings, compounded by the mother and small child he discovers in the man's apartment. Flash forward to Boba's adulthood, and he receives a contract for the capture of that small child, now a grown man by the name of Connor Freeman. The bounty isn't much, but what piques his interest is the fact that the man has been receiving money from Jango's funds for the past few years.
            Boba takes the case, and what follows is an excellent exploration of the motivations of each character, in addition to the kind of action and remorseless killing you'd expect from a Boba Fett comic. Connor Freeman is an excellent new character, and the parallels between both men, and to a degree their fathers, add a lot of substance to the story. The motivations behind each character are fleshed out, and by the end of the comic you will have a new perspective on Boba Fett's persona. It is a story short on frills, and without any real twists, but it makes up for this by being surprisingly poignant and action packed at the same time.
            Writing in Blood Ties is a major strength. The author, Tom Taylor, uses small amounts dialogue to great effect, creating a largely unspoken but compelling relationship between Jango and Boba. Additionally, witty dialogue at the mouth of Connor Freeman instantly establishes the character as a formidable force in his own right, and brings some much needed levity to the proceedings. Freeman is used to set up quite a few humorous sequences amidst the otherwise introspective comic, including a classic riff on Boba's commitment to always collect what he is owed. The inner thoughts of Boba Fett are also handled quite nicely, once again painting him as a man of few words, but surprisingly sensitive and self aware. He also has a sarcastic side that fans of the character will enjoy, dispatching the thugs that oppose him with ease and a good deal of sarcasm.
            The main characters are great and true to form, but the antagonists leave something to be desired. The League of Bounty Hunters is hilarious and a great way to get something out of characters that obviously have no chance at truly opposing our heroes, but the insane criminal mastermind Tayand is somewhat unimaginative. He is the one behind many of the events in the story, but his appearance at the climax of the book fails to impress. Unlike the League, he doesn't have the benefit of being particularly funny, and he is out of the picture before any true impression can be made. Not terrible antagonists, but a foil character or two would've made things more interesting. 

            The artwork is truly gorgeous and a highlight of the book. Featuring art unlike anything seen in Star Wars, Blood Ties uses photo realistic faces to maximum effect while crafting intriguing backdrops that compliment the mood of the story. The minimalist dialogue compliments the artwork perfectly, and many scenes are told through facial expressions alone. Boba and Jango in particular get a few touching scenes done in this style. This is great characterization for the notoriously quiet duo, and creative storytelling.

            Action scenes are also wonderfully inventive. Artist Chris Scalf does a phenomenal job of capturing motion, and the various gadgets at Boba's disposal are highlighted in an enjoyable action sequence to kick off the story's third act. Lasers and explosions are well rendered too, and there are plenty of them throughout the book. There are really no flaws with the art in this comic; those looking for a break from the normal affair will love the artwork here.
            Blood Ties is one of the finest Star Wars comics in recent memory. Possessing a story that is big on style and even bigger on substance, there is precious little in the way of flaws for this comic. It is a bit on the short side, but every sequence feels important and the action scenes manage to satisfy without becoming gratuitous or too repetitive. Due to the subdued but effective writing, and the gorgeous art, all Star Wars fans need to check this comic out.
Final Score

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