The latest string of Star Wars short stories — three within the ‘Aliens’ collection, and this short story by Deilah S. Dawson — focus on a handful of supporting characters that are set to appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While their roles in the film remain a mystery, the saga’s masterminds have skillfully revived a tradition established in the early days of the former Expanded Universe (now known as Legends): filling in the gaps with mountains of backstory that make even the slightest background character into someone interesting and real.
In The Perfect Weapon, bounty hunter Bazine Netal takes center stage with an incredible heist and a sense of wit as sharp as any weapon. At first, Bazine seems to fit within the same sleeve as the legendary Asajj Ventress, a former Sith acolyte turned bounty hunter whose tragic, beautiful story started in The Clone Wars and continued in the pages of Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple (released this past summer). But Bazine is different — despite her own fiery pride, the assassin takes on her missions with a constant physical reminder of what happens when one does indeed get too cocky.
Netal’s adventure opens the character up in an honest manner, and she’s given time to show off who she is in order reveal secrets to the reader that one might not have guessed when they first saw her in the trailer for The Force Awakens.
Dawson, known for artfully crafted dark romances and the supernatural, does an incredible job of fleshing out a complicated woman within less than sixty pages of story. Bazine’s vulnerability does not reduce her to a doe-eyed inner child so that readers are forced to feel sympathy for. Her rough upbringing is looked at through the honest, no-nonsense lens of Bazine herself.
Bazine Netal is an extremely enjoyable new addition to the canon, and almost every bit of her outward appearance is explained. From the caps that cover her skull to the massive heels that seem so deceptively difficult to run in (for Bazine, that’s the point — but there’s a lot more to it than just the element of surprise), every part of her is a believable and refreshing definition of this new character.
For a one-shot adventure, the story packs a punch without desperately trying to make too many direct connections to The Force Awakens. From start to finish, this is Bazine’s story, so it rarely points and grins at the seventh installment to the blockbuster saga; instead, we’re given more of what the new expanded canon is in a most direct sense — a look at that galaxy far, far away at certain points in it’s history that focus on the many people, creatures and droids that make it so massive.
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