“Sometimes what you need is a bad man who is on your side.” Imperial agent Jahan Cross follows his conscience in this week’s Star Wars comic release.
Agent Cross has made a bit of a mess for himself by following orders and trying to have his own way. Now, given a short window before being recalled, he’s off to do what he couldn’t do before, when a former lover was in the way: rescue the child Duke of Serenno before he can be offed in a power play sanctioned by the Empire. And for this rescue, he’s going to need some help, from someone still dealing with the wreckage that Cross created earlier. And then there’s Boba Fett. John Ostrander continues the spy thriller action in issue #4 of Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets (DarkHorse.com profile).
This issue has plenty of action. No longer carrying out Imperial orders, Cross recruits a likely ally, the Dooku family’s recently fired security chief, Tymon, but has to take his just due for having worked against her in springing Vex from the Serenno prison. Getting some intel from Cross’ father, the diplomat, they learn where young Bron Dooku is being held, and grab a bongo to the undersea hideout. Escape proves to be a little difficult.
Ostrander brilliantly meshes different elements of the Star Wars galaxy into this superspy storyline. In true James Bond fashion, there’s a high tech luxury undersea base, but it’s based on Gungan designs, which showcase both the tech and the aesthetics of the owners. And then there’s a big mini-sub pursuit, pulling in underwater droid designs from the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars micro-series episode on Mon Calamari. Balancing the suspense of the action sequences is some humor, with Cross having to deal with a submarine’s computer that keeps objecting to his every risky maneuver.
Artwise, we have Davidé Fabbri with the pencilling, and the inking by him and Christian Dalla Vecchia and colors by Wes Dzioba. Some great panels – there’s a fantastic two-page spread for the approach to Otoh Dooku, but I think the best panels might be the establishing panel of the bar at the beginning, and some of the action shots at the start of the submersible chase. Lord Borgin has a great cartoony shot as a hologram, showing off his menacing villain side, in a typical Bond villain reminding his subordinates the price of failure kinda way.
Overall, thumbs-up and good job with both the story and the artwork! Looking forward to the finale of this story arc. ‘Hard Targets’ is hard to put down!