Part of the deluge of new additions to the original Star Wars Expanded Universe that accompanied The Phantom Menace, this six-issue miniseries is an interesting one; along with The Bounty Hunter Wars and Death, Lies, and Treachery, it's one of the relatively few stories to feature Boba Fett as the main character before much had been established about the Mandalorians and, more importantly, it takes place prior to the expansion of Fett's backstory in Attack of the Clones. As such, Enemy Of The Empire is about Boba Fett being awesome without all of the Proud Warrior Race Guy baggage that's come to be associated with the Mandalorians in the Star Wars EU.
Boba Fett is hired by Darth Vader to locate and execute an Imperial deserter named Abal Karda, who shot dead his commanding officer and absconded. However, it soon becomes clear that the Dark Lord's interest does not lie with Karda, but in the plain, kneebshide casket that the Colonel took with him when he went on the run; Fett is to return this mysterious box unopened or suffer consequences. Just in case, Vader secretly dispatches a the assassin Nevo and his gang of thugs to shadow Fett, kill him and take the casket when he finds it.
Following Karda's trail, Fett comes across soldiers who served under Karda during the hellish Icarii campaign, a war that Karda decisively won when he unleashed a biological weapon that rendered the enemy extinct and captured their Queen, a precog, who he later decapitated personally.
The clues left behind by Karda lead Fett to the desolate, volcanic world of Maryx Minor, where he ambushes and kills Nevo's team and tracks Karda to a hermitage where he has claimed sanctuary, the home of the Ancient Order of Pessimists. After killing Karda, Fett confirms his suspicion that the casket contains the severed head of Selestrine, which was kept alive by Karda so he could use her precognitive powers to advance his own career. Instead, she avenged the genocide of her people by manipulating him into engineering his own destruction.
Surviving a pitched battle with Darth Vader that costs him possession of the casket, Fett escapes to hunt another day.
Tropes featured in this miniseries include:
- The Chessmaster: While this is typically Emperor Palpatine's defining characteristic, this story shows that Darth Vader is just as good at playing his minions off against one another.
- Colonel Badass: Abal Karda in the backstory, though by the time we see him he's gone completely off the deep end.
- Cool vs. Awesome: Boba Fett versus Darth Vader!
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Nevo and his gang find themselves on the receiving end of one when they run into Boba Fett on Maryx Minor.
- During their fight, Vader admits Fett is a worthy opponent, as they seem fairly well matched. He then proceeds to utilize the Force, completely outclassing Fett once he does.
- Deadpan Snarker: Darth Vader of all people makes sarcastic jibes at the expense of the assassin Nevo and his crew.Nevo: Just some excessive zeal, sir. That's all. Can't hold that against us.
Vader: It seems we can. Your execution is scheduled for tomorrow.
- Death Seeker: Selestrine is keen to escape her wretched existence and join the rest of her species. In the final issue of the miniseries, Vader obliges her.
- The Eeyore The hermits are sompessimistic that's a simple order to bring a man a meal leads to the courier worrying about tripping and stabbing himself with the silverware.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Wookieepedia suggests that the Icarii are intended to be a Star Wars counterpart to the Zulu.
- Fat Bastard The rotund General Nim was despised by his own soldiers for flippantly wasting their lives in Hunan wave attacks and also committed genocide against a species which had been trying to mind its own business.
- He Knows Too Much: Deciding that the Pessimists saw too much during his fight with Boba Fett, Vader destroys their hermitage via orbital bombardment.
- Implacable Man: Fett himself, at least as far as Karda is concerned. In the backstory, the Icarii warriors certainly qualified.They say you had to kill an Icarii seven times, an' even that might not be enough.
- Last of His Kind: Selestrine's severed head is the last remnant of the Icarii race, which fuels her Death Seeker tendencies.
- The Neidermeyer: General Nim.
- Nonindicative Title: The full title is technically Boba Fett: Enemy of the Empire, which has lead many to assume that it's about "Boba Fett, the Enemy of the Empire". "Boba Fett and the Enemy of the Empire" is probably a better representation of the storyline. Then again, considering that it ends with a fight between Fett and Vader, it's arguably a very indicative title.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Part of what made the Icarii so dangerous was their ability to keep fighting after suffering grievous wounds; even their severed limbs would keep striking out once they were cut off. This information is what tips Fett off to the true contents of Karda's casket.
- Only in It for the Money: Selestrine informs Vader that while everyone else involved in the story was interested in how they could use her prophetic talents for their own ends, Fett was only interested in how much he could get from selling the casket.
- Parody Religion: The Ancient Order of Pessimists. Their final fate is annihilation by orbital bombardment when the High Hermit commits heresy by proclaiming his intent to look on the bright side in the future.
- Precognition: The ability that makes the severed head of Selestrine so valuable.
- Prophecy Twist: Karda is informed that his hated superior, General Nim, will meet an untimely end which will result in his own promotion. This foretelling does indeed come true, but not as he would have liked; Karda kills Nim when he tries to take the casket, resulting in his promotion to Enemy of the Empire.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran Karla and Nim men are drunk and freaked out at the very mention of Selestrines people after the long bloody campaign against an army that could price their tactical movements and fight with missing limbs.
- The Snack Is More Interesting Vader has to threaten Nevis team to get them to abandon their lunch and get straight to the mission.
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: The series is really one big Excuse Plot to give Vader and Fett an excuse to fight each other (and was basically advertised as such back when it first came out). Fett technically wins, but forfeits the fight when he realizes that killing Vader would make him the most wanted man in the galaxy.
- Villainous Breakdown: Abal Karda seems to be undergoing a long, drawn-out one throughout the series. Almost every time he appears he's locked himself in his cell, ranting and raving and shooting anyone who looks at him the wrong way.
- Villain Protagonist: Boba Fett is a cold blooded self interested killer in this story who is well aware of the empire state genocidal tendencies and still works for them.
- Yank the Dog's Chain The pessimistic High Hermitnis overjoyed that so many of them survived in the middle of a fight with some f the galaxy's deadliest killers and is reevaluating his whole life. Then Vader reorder some the area bombed.
- You Can't Fight Fate: "Your days are numbered, thirty-and-one." Selestrine tortures Karda with the knowledge that Boba Fett is coming for him and will kill him, no matter what he tries to do.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Vader plans to pull this on both Fett and Nevo's crew.