In Review: Star Wars: Droids Unplugged #1

Must-read, must-own stories for Star Wars fans of every age.

The covers: BB-8, a DRK-1 probe droid, and R2-D2 are being looked down at as they stand (okay, the probe is hovering) upon a yellow, sandy surface. The perspective on this cover mirrors how their owners must see them. This was created by artist Chris Eliopoulos and colorist Jordie Bellaire. This is great cover that shows the main characters of the three stories within this issue. The Variant cover was created by artist Mike Allred and colorist Laura Allred. This cover has the same three droids, joined by several others (21-B, Death Star droid, power droid, TC-17, several KX-series security droids, IG-88, Probot, R5-D4, a battle droid, K-3PO, and a droideka), all floating in space. The details are insanely good, the colors good, and a really cool collection of droids. This was the cover I chose to include with this review, though I purchased the Regular cover because I’m a huge fan of Eliopoulos’s artwork. Overall grade: Both A

The stories: All three stories are written by Chris Eliopoulos and all have been previously published in other books: “Probe Droid Problems” was published in Darth Maul #1, “Droid Dilemma” in Star Wars #25, and “SaBBotage” in Poe Dameron #1. I’m a rabid enough Star Wars fan to have purchased every Marvel comic when they regained the license to publish George Lucas’s creations, so I already have these stories. However, I purchased this book because I love these tales. I’ve been saying for a while that Eliopoulos should have his own monthly Star Wars title as his writing shows the humor and heart of the Star Wars universe that the other titles often don’t have. “Probe Droid Problems” is set on Tatooine during the events of The Phantom Menace. This ten page tale follows what happened to one of the DRK-1 probe droids that Darth Maul released onto the desert world. “Droid Dilemma” follows Artoo-Detoo’s quest to get Luke’s X-wing ready for deployment and he encounters every possible obstacle to get to the ship. “SaBBotage” is the sweetest story of the three as BB-8 helps pilot Theo Meltsa who pines for Peet Deretalia. I stated I’ve read these stories before, but this last one continues to give me the warm fuzzies when I’m done reading it. All of these stories are funny, cute, sweet, and fit completely into the Star Wars universe. Reading this collection has me screaming louder for Eliopoulos to get his own series. Overall grade: A+

The art: Not only is he the writer of these stories, but Chris Eliopoulos is also the artist and letterer of these tales. His style is utterly enchanting. Who would’ve thought that a Sith probe droid could be cute, but the way in which Eliopoulos brings this character to life leaves one wondering why it was never made into a plush doll. In addition to the probe droid, there’s a new droid in this tale and it’s as cute as button. A jawa makes a cameo, striking a classic pose from Episode IV and it looks great. “Droid Dilemma” begins with Luke and Leia, and both emote well, especially Luke who cops a bit of an attitude that would make a Corellian proud. The characters that hinder Artoo’s progress look like their film counterparts and I smiled every time a familiar looking droid appeared. The emotion that the astromech droid radiates as he makes his way to his goal is fantastic, with the final panel being a heartbreaker. The final tale is the eight pager “SaBBotage” and continues to be one of the sweetest stories I’ve read in a comic. Is it drowning in love? No. If anything there’s a lot of frustration as Theo continues to find new things wrong with his fighter. BB-8’s character is so well written, even young readers will know what he’s up to before Theo can comprehend what’s going on. To be able to get emotion out of characters who have no faces, let alone static faces, is quite the feat. The lettering in this book is also stellar. The three lead characters don’t speak, but utter sounds and they are big and full of life. Artoo has the greatest variety of sounds, with some earning an exclamation to show their urgency. My favorite of this iconic character is his BWAAA! BB-8’s speech is the one to look at. In the Poe Dameron comics he’s got a familiar looking font that readers now recognize as belonging to him, but in this story he’s got dialogue balloons that have the letters in his sound show where his emphasis is. Seeing this tale again, I find myself preferring this form of speech. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Assisting Eliopoulos in his ventures are Jordie Bellaire the colorist. Her work is as exemplary as his. I really like how she uses blues and violets to create the night. If she had gone with blacks for the evening, much of the art would have been lost. I really like that the droids’ sounds have their own colors, that way when each “speaks” a reader knows who is making the noise. There’s a huge explosion in this story that has plenty of punch because of the strong colors it emits. The rising sun gives the sky a pink hue and it makes the ending all the sweeter. With all the obstacles that Artoo encounters, Bellaire gets a wide range of colors to use. I really liked the different colors used for the power droids and how Artoo employed two different colors for his sounds, with reds used to show his high anxiety level. Pink returns for BB-8’s story, albeit fleetingly and very small, but it’s large enough and bright enough to make an impression in the reader’s mind. I also liked the bit of red that began to appear on Theo’s face, with this color cementing for the reader the pilot’s emotions. Bellaire is completing these tales wonderfully. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Must-read, must-own stories for Star Wars fans of every age. These stories bring humor and joy into the Star Wars Universe without the threats that challenge the human characters. There needs to be more tales like this published. I’ll say it again and again until it happens: Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire need to have their own monthly Star Wars title. Your turn, Marvel! Overall grade: A+

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Star-Wars-Droids-Unplugged-2017-1/digital-comic/503505?ref=c2l0ZS9hamF4U2xpZGVyL2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC9nd1JmdVYx

To see both covers go to my Instragram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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