Boba Fett is, essentially, the Star Wars’ universe version of Wolverine, two tremendously popular characters who built their following on the basis of a cool image, a mysterious past, and a tough guy mindset, whose popularity grew to the point that they came to dominate their respective franchises while everything that made them intriguing in the first place suffered for their ubiquity. That said, good stories can still be told featuring both characters, and with this issue, Jason Aaron and John Cassaday set out to prove it with Boba Fett.
While Han reluctantly joins Leia on a scouting mission for a new Rebel base, Luke returns to Tatooine, hoping to find some guidance for furthering his Jedi training from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s home. Unbeknownst to Luke, Boba Fett is also on Tatooine, having been tasked by Darth Vader with tracking down the identity of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star. It’s a clever use of Fett, tying him to one of the most pivotal narrative moments of the saga which never actually gets covered in the films (Vader learning his son A. exists & B. blew up the Death Star), a way to make the character important without shoehorning him too obnoxiously into events he otherwise has no business being involved in. Furthermore, putting Luke in conflict with Fett is still relatively novel as most of the previous Expanded Universe stories tended to lean heavily on the Boba Fett/Han Solo rivalry above all else.
Cassaday, in his penultimate issue as the series’ artist, seems back on point, and does a particularly evocative job of depicting Fett’s rampage across Tatooine as well as some familiar faces when he storms into the Mos Eisley cantina looking for information about Luke. Aaron writes some of the series’ best and most humorous Han/Leia banter yet during their mission, while keeping a number of subplots simmering (the hunt for a Rebel base, the mysterious figure trying to track down Han, Luke’s quest for knowledge of the Jedi). Combined with an effective use of Boba Fett, a character very difficult to handle well, the end result is an issue that is the series’ strongest yet.
Previously, the story of Darth Vader learning that Luke destroyed the Death Star was told in Dark Horse’s Vader Quest limited series (since branded a non-canonical Legend), in which Vader led the investigation himself and learned the information from a one-off character created for that series. As much as Boba Fett getting retroactively tied into more and more things in the Star Wars can be tiring, this instance works because Vader learning about Luke is a big enough deal that it deserves to have a significant character involved in it, but it also doesn’t change anything that was presented in the films.
One of the aliens in the cantina resembles Jabba the Hutt as he appeared in issue #2 of Marvel’s original adaptation of Star Wars (and thus was hugely off model from the character as he appeared later in Return of the Jedi), a nice little visual Easter Egg by Cassaday.
The character from whom Boba Fett learns Luke’s identity is aware that Luke was friends with Biggs and was called Wormie, suggesting he could be either Tank or Fixer, two of Luke’s peers from the Anchorhead deleted scene cut from A New Hope (but which often made it into adaptations of the story in other media because it was cut so late in the production of the film). Ni ether one is visually all that distinct (or appeared for very long) so it’s hard to say for sure though.
While Vader’s quest for Luke’s identity has really only been delved into once before this story, the notion of the Rebels searching for a new base post-A New Hope is a familiar story beat, appearing everywhere from Dark Horse’s most recent series set between New Hope and Empire and the Rogue Squadron video games.
There’s something visually engaging about the site of Luke wearing a weathered, tan robe like his uncle wore over his more formal Rebellion attire.
At this point in his development as a warrior/hero, Luke really is no match for Boba Fett, so it’ll be interesting to see how Aaron resolves the cliffhanger without making Fett look like a chump.