Back Issues: "Star Wars: Jabba The Hutt" #1-4 ('95-'96)
- by Señor Editor, 19 July 2013
Star Wars! Who doesn't love it? And who isn't at least partially numb from the amount of 'Expanded Universe' material that can mostly be summed up as "Totally Unnecessary"? While plenty of character-specific Star Wars comics are pretty much "Boba Fett: He Didn't REALLY Die in The Sarlacc Pit, So Stop Saying He's a Chump" and "Darth Vader: Killing a Bunch of Random Jedi Nobody Knows or Gives a Crap About", it's nice to remember that there ARE some solo series that actually add something to the characters. And that's why I'll be talking about a mini series about Jabba The Hutt. Where he's negotiating a lot. And it rocks.
"Star Wars: Jabba The Hutt" is a mini series that came out in the mid '90s from Dark Horse comics, written by Jim Woodring and with art by Art (heh) Wetherell. It consists of four issues that are standalone stories, but happen one after another, during one long ''business trip'' of the disgusting Hutt crime lord and his men.
The first issue of the series, "The Gaar Suppoon Hit", shows Jabba visiting a crime lord (Gaar) on another planet for a business ceremony. What follows is an exchange of pleasantries that couldn't have been more dishonest, but they're an absolute pleasure to watch.
Then, the two mobsters start the negotiations. What follows is a series of double crosses, one worse than the ever. When the Gaar first tricks Jabba, the Hutt immediately retaliates, having planned ahead. The entire issue, the stakes get gradually higher and the negotiations get more and more deadly. This is a comic featuring two "men" mostly talking, but the writing makes it one of the most exciting comics you could hope for. Jabba is quite frankly brilliant here, and Woodring's writing makes him appear much more the deadly crime boss that Han Solo feared than Return of the Jedi managed, but he quite clearly is still the character we know. Seeing how he plans many, many moves ahead, makes the horrible slug mafioso really respectable and fascinating.
It's also really funny, the lengths Jabba goes to to make sure nobody will double cross or outsmart him, while never letting the facade of a ''respectable businessman'' drop.
When the negotiations of "The Gaar Suppoon Hit" finish, the second issue ("The Hunger of Princess Nampi") sees Jabba's ship intercepted on his way back to Tatooine, and the Hutt himself captured and put in prison by the even bigger, and even fatter Nampi.
By now, after seeing what a great character Jabba can be in "Gaar Suppoon Hit", Woodring and Wetherell managed to do what 50 or so issues of "Star Wars Legacy" (the series that brought us the horrid "character" of Cade Skywalker) couldn't: make us care about the protagonist and want to see him succeed. And that's quite a feat, considering it's Jabba we're talking about here; the fat, disgusting blob with snot dripping down his face all the time.
"The Dynasty Trap" is the third story and shows Jabba having to deal with the fallout from the Princess Nampi situation, and having to make one last stop before going back to his palace. He's got some extra goods to sell, but it seems his old business partner has gone insane and paranoid. He tries to force Jabba into killing a rival of his - a deed that Jabba (who is nothing if not a practical creature) has no business in doing, even if he has no special objections.
Jabba is nobody's thug, and the unhinged ex-partner throws him again into the jail. There, he is visited by several of the boss' heirs, who wish for Jabba to kill their crazy father so they can become the new rulers, freeing him in exchange.
It's another game of double crosses that Jabba ultimately ends up on top of, but it's a pleasure to read, and the issue offers something else we don't see much of: Jabba getting physical and hurting people. In many, many gross ways.
The last issue, "Betrayal" shows Jabba back on Tatooine and in his palace, and the art and designs, fittingly, look the most like what we've seen in Return of the Jedi.
Even on his home turf, Jabba still has to deal with backstabbers and usurpers, in this case: his right hand man, Bib Fortuna. I won't be spoiling the details, but it's just as much as a fun ride as the three previous issues, and the familiar setting of the palace, the faces of Jabba's horde etc, make it especially pleasing to look at. I assume it ends a short time before "Return of the Jedi", so it's a nice closer to the series.
All in all, the Jabba series does what all Expanded Universe comics ideally should do - take a character we've seen a limited amount of in the movies, explore what makes him work, and tell the best possible story there is to tell with him. Horrible, disgusting space gangsters have never been cooler.
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This series has been collected in "Jabba The Hutt: The Art of the Deal", and I strongly suggest you look for it!
Want more Star Wars articles? Check these out:
- Comics Review: "Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison" #1-3
- Comics Review: "Star Wars - Purge: The Tyrant's Fist" #1
- Star Wars Characters That Probably Won't Be Coming Back
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