Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets #4

Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets #4 (of 5)

Writer: John Ostrander
Penciller: Davidé Fabbri
Inker: Christian Dalla Vecchia and Davidé Fabbri
Colorist: Wes Dzioba
Letterist: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Stéphane Roux

Hard Targets #4 keeps pace with more quality artwork and storytelling. In this issue Ostrander gives readers a taste of Bond ala Thunderball. We also get to see Fett coming back into play, though the details are still sketchy. One thing that is certain: Jahan has a plan.

When we last saw Jahan Cross, he had exactly 32 hours to pull off a victory from a no win situation. First order of business: Candra Tymon. As introduced earlier, Candra is the young Count Dooku’s head of security. Or at least she was. When Jahan approaches her for his master plan, things go a little awry. After a little brawling, she and Jahan come to an understanding, and it’s little moments like these that add humor to the story and keep Agent of the Empire interesting.

From there, the story dives, quite literally, into some James Bond action. Jahan and Candra have to go underwater to infiltrate a city just like those used by the Gungans. This ultimately leads to underwater chase scenes and combat with submersibles. Meanwhile the notorious Boba Fett is hired by Vex, the former Bothan Spynet operative. How does Fett fit into all of this? The answer is exactly clear, but the pieces are starting to come together. Keep in mind this whole arc started with Jahan and Fett fighting it out on Carannia, the capital of Serenno. According to the narration, that scene was set in the future, one we haven’t quite caught up to yet. However, issue number four closes that gap and sets everything up to link together. We know Jahan has a plan, but the question is: can he pull it off?

One thing Ostrander nails in this issue is keeping the story fun. There’s a good mix of action to keep up the excitement. Yet there’s also a healthy dose of dialog and story development which keeps the characters interesting and series intriguing. Each issue fleshes out the characters more and more as they are continually explored. The arc itself is nicely layered and keeps the reader guessing on where things are going and how things are going to turn out. My favorite line in this issue was from Jahan: “Sometimes what you need is a bad man who is on your side.” For Vex and the young Count Dooku, Jahan is the bad man they need on their side. And yet that line can equally apply to Boba Fett, a bad man Jahan needs on his side. But reaching even further, the line applies to the Empire and their desire to have the corrupt Rodas Borgin on their side. With that one line, Ostrander sums up the issue and the crux of the story. Within all those layers, a bad man will triumph, but will Jahan be the victor?

Davidé Fabbri, Christian Dalla Vecchia, and Wes Dzioba continue to knock out some solid artwork that goes perfectly with the story. The colors are rich and luscious. The style of the pencils and inks flows with the action. Even the lettering by Michael Heisler stands out with a few emphasized sound effects here and there.

I give Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets #4 a five out of five metal bikinis. With only one more issue to go in this arc, I look forward to seeing how things turn out. As a bonus, it’s nice knowing that Boba Fett will be waiting us.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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