Monday, October 11, 2010

Star Wars Blood Ties #1: Guest Review by Simon Breeze

Star Wars: Blood Ties #1

Written by Tom Taylor with art by Chris Scalf and letters by Michael Heisler
Published by Dark Horse

Here begins a multigenerational tale of honor and redemption, starring two of the heaviest hitters in the Star Wars galaxy-the father-and-clone team of Jango and Boba Fett!

Shortly before the start of the Clone Wars, Count Dooku sends Jango Fett on a mission that will affect the course of Boba Fett's life some twenty years later. But for now, neither of them knows what the future holds in store, and besides, they have their schedule filled dodging monsters and fighting bad guys!" -

Okay, off the bat, I'm a huge fan of Star Wars and unlike some of the fans of the saga I have no issues with the EU (Expanded Universe) - in fact I love it. 'Blood Ties' is a great comic and testament as to why the EU is such a fantastic way to explore the Star Wars universe, not tied down to just George Lucas's vision of how things should be, the EU has the freedom of many of the worlds greatest creators working on some of the best science fiction & fantasy stories about. These creators have the time and breathing space to explore characters and places that will never get the screen time on any of the television shows or films.

One of my all time favorite Star Wars characters is Boba Fett (try prising that action figure from my hand when I was a kid, in fact give it a go now!), and one of the best things to come out of the three new films is the character of Jango Fett, Boba's clone 'Father'. This comic starts around sometime before the Star Wars film "A New Hope" the actual time frame is given in the comic of being set between 1,000 and 0 years before the battle of Yavin (the big spaceship battle around the Death Star at the end of A New Hope), not very helpful at all? Well, if you have watched the films and read any of the EU comics, books or played the video games before, you know this is in fact quite a narrow time line for these characters and events, and as a reader you can easily place them in a lose period in the timeline of the Star Wars films and EU.

As I said, the comic opens with Boba Fett trapped in a room surrounded by 'bad' guys (being classed as one himself it is difficult to say for sure at this point just how bad they are), and a huge monster called a Rancor at his back (the monster that tries to eat Luke Skywalker in The Return of the Jedi beneath Jabba the Hutts palace) and things don't look to promising for our uber cool gadget-armoured bounty hunter. The comic now goes into a flashback (and by flashback I mean the rest of the comic), to a time when Boba was a young boy and still with his father Jango being taught the ways of the bounty hunter.

The rest of the comic follows the story of Boba's training at his fathers hands and Jango's hunt for a troublesome informer that could scupper the well laid plans of Count Dooku to overthrow the Republic (which clearly sets this part of the story not to far away from the events of the film 'Attack of the Clones'). Throughout the comic we get to see some familiar creatures, characters and places and the awesome spaceship, Slave 1 in a bit of action too. The first part of this four part run ends (and what feels all to soon) with a nice twisty cliff hanger, awesome stuff.

I think this comic is one of the best Star Wars ones I have read for the most part of this year. You could puff your cheeks out and sigh at the re-used formula of Jango and Boba doing the 'father and son thing' again, it is used a lot in the EU for these two characters, but that is what makes them great. Boba and Jango only work as the 'loner' or as the 'father and son' character, obviously dependent on the story and time setting, so to hell with it. I think it is a great formula and Tom Taylor's writing, both story and dialogue, are bang on.

Visually the story is very impressive, Chris Scalf's art is amazing and is fully painted throughout the comic giving it a realistic feel that really brings the page to life, it is almost like your watching a film in your head. His great use of lighting and colour on the page adds a real mood to the work that allows you to smoothly transit from scene to scene with no effort. While on topic of Chris Scalf's art, his cover is brilliant, a quick glance at it and you could be fooled into thinking it was a photo, real great stuff.

You may already know where this is going, a solid five out of five, anyone will enjoy this comic, Star Wars fan or not. I will go even further than that, if you know any Star Wars fan that doesn't 'buy-into' the EU, give them this to read, they will love it.

As always, my thanks to Simon for another great review -
Dark Horse have published a number of preview pages from this comic book over on their website while if you'd like to find out more about Simon Breeze's writing and artwork portfolio head on over to his blog.