Comic Review: Star Wars Droids – Unplugged

When the first news from Marvel Comics came out about an issue dedicated to the beloved androids that roam the Star Wars universe, the childish fan in me took a step back and waited with excited anticipation. On June 28, 2017, Star Wars Droids – Unplugged hit the shelves and the gadget world from a galaxy far far away came to life with our favorite artificial intelligence characters and new story lines began.

Or did it?

Written AND drawn by the talented Chris Eliopoulos (Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, Pet Avengers, Cow Boy), the artwork in this book is brought to life with color work from Jordie Bellaire (Pretty Deadly, The Massive). Though the style is a little different from what readers may be accustomed to from Marvel Comics, this is still an entertaining comic that is sure to make a lot of fans happy.

Unlike the April 2016 Marvel Comic issue Star Wars Special: C-3PO which helps explain the droid’s arm dis-coloration as mentioned by C-3PO himself in the 2015 Star Wars film The Force Awakens, this latest droid endeavor follows three separate, stand-alone stories that may or may not be part of the Star Wars canon.

Probe Droid Problem follows the unique relationship between one of Darth Maul’s three DRK-1 probe droids and an unknown robot trapped under a boulder on the planet Tatooine. The trapped robot grabs onto the DRK-1 just before it speeds away and is pulled to safety. Beholden to the probe, the freed droid follows the probe with implied annoyance and eventually repays the favor.

In Droid Dilemma, R2-D2 is directed by Luke Skywalker to prepare his X-Wing Fighter ship for flight. The popular droid goes through a maze of obstacles including numerous other droids as he tries to get to the hanger.

The third installment SaBBotage is a love story. The loveable BB-8 stops at nothing as it continuously sabotages the X-Wing Fighter of pilot Theo Meltsa with the intentions of bringing him together with tech officer Peet Deretalia.

Star Wars Droids – Unplugged is like “reading” a foreign film without the aid of subtitles. The main difference being that you don’t get the same expressive facial contortions on paper that we rely on to help define character emotions on the screen. Granted you wouldn’t get this type of communication from androids on film either, but some kind of translation would be helpful. Even the cryptic one-sided dialog of C-3PO gives the readers something to work with in deciphering the blips and bleeps, but his appearance in this issue is sparse.

Like his writing, Chris Eliopoulos’ artwork is crisp and easy to associate with the Star Wars universe. But the artist’s style has a definitive deviation from the other work coming out of Marvel over the past couple years. With much broader strokes and darker lines, this comic has an aged feel that is more representative of graphics from decades earlier. Even the images of Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker have a cartoonish look rather than the accurate depictions readers would associate with Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. This doesn’t take away from the storyline, but it may be a distraction and turn some loyal fans away.

Star Wars Droids – Unplugged has a noticeable style change from the other series out of Marvel Comics, but it does remain loyal to the franchise’s overall theme. It remains to be seen if fans will warm up to these modifications.

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