Thursday, June 6, 2013

Star Wars Rediscovered: Droids Review

"Congratulations Olag. Another droid turned into a killer!"

Welcome to Star Wars Rediscovered and my review of Star Wars: Droids. Read on after the jump to find out what I thought about this mechanical series. This review is taken from the collected omnibus Droids.

Star Wars: Droids

Writer: Dan Thorsland, Ryder Windham 
Pencils: Bill Hughes, Ian Gibson
Inker: Andy Mushynsky
Letterer: Bill Spicer 
Colorist: Pamela Rambo, Lea Hernandez
Cover Artist: Cam Kennedy, Kilian Plunkett 

Cover Art

I really like the cover art to this collected series, the angle from which we are looking from immediately draws my eye to the gun the alien is pointing at C3P0 and the bad situation both him and R2D2 seem to be in. I love the grittiness of the artwork, Plunkett does a great job. R2D2 looks like he has been through the wars with various marks and stains upon his body work. There is a great view of the night sky with the ships flying overhead. I only hope that the interior artwork is as good.


Issue #1

This first issue deals with tension between a man called Baron Pitafreeeze and his former associate Olag. The Baron created a prototype drive unit which Olag needed to steal to please his mysterious robed boss.The droids are guardians to a child called Nak and are dragged into this situation when Nek attempts to steal what he thinks is the drive unit and sell it to Olag in the hopes that the money will set him up for life. Olag promptly kidnaps him for stealing the wrong thing and threatens to sell him to slavers if the Baron does not trade the drive unit. Nak and the droids manage to escape but not before the Baron closes the plant down as he thinks he is ruined and goes to trade with Olag. Nak is injured in the journey back down but is cared for by C3P0 and thanks to one of the Baron's assistants they manage to travel back to Olag's ship. The droids and Nak save the day by giving the Baron a ship to escape on and it is only after they have left that the Baron realises that he has been fooled as the item he has been given turns out to be a food hydrator and not the drive he needed. The issue ends with Nak realising that he wants friends that want to be with him and not forced to and so he takes the restraining bolts off the droids which gives them the
option of leaving, which R2D2 apparently does as he suggests adventuring to C3P0. This issue felt like it was aimed at the younger market and could have just as easily have been an episode of an animated series.

Issue #2

The second issue starts with the droids on a ship owned by Nak's father, it is promptly invaded by pirates who impressed by the droid's and Nak's culinary skills kidnap them and the ship and leave everyone else stranded on a lifeboat. Nak promptly tries to escape on a speeder but is shot down by a pirate. He survives but is then taken in by Olag who is trying to rebuild his fortune due to the events of the first issue. He plans to attack the pirates and steal the ship they have stolen. Meanwhile we find out that the pirates were in the past in fact chefs until they they were betrayed by Olag and due to their ruined reputation turned to piracy to get by. We get a fun little race between one of the pirates and the droids which thanks to R2D2 they win and R2 is elected captain due to the former captain refusing to honour their victory. Olag's surprise attack is foiled by a massive pirate creeping up behind him and attacking him. The issue ends with the pirates randomly deciding to not be pirates anymore and with Nak letting them know about Olag's treasure. This ending felt quite forced but then if it is aimed for children then a light happy ending would be needed.

Issue #3

This issue deals with a case of mistaken identity, C3P0 is damaged and when repaired is made to look like an infamous assassin droid. Both him and R2D2 are forced to fight in an arena by a mysterious figure who turns out to be Olag again but the real assassin droid turns up thanks to Nak and saves C3P0 by sacrificing himself. This is probably my favourite story in this collection so far because it shows that with the right programming even C3P0 could turn into a feared assassin droid. It was also nice to see more shades of grey in this story, as the assassin droid could easily have just been the bad guy who had to be destroyed but in fact he turned out to be a victim of his programming at the hands of Olag. 

Issue #4

The plot of this issue is about Olag's former associate Jace from issue 1 she wants to steal some precious crystals from a planet that is guarded by stone guardians and hires the droids from Nak's parents as they assume that the guardian's will not notice the droids, this turns out to be incorrect and both C3P0 and R2D2 are left stranded. They are rescued by the Baron and Nak and we find out that the stone guardians use the crystals to animate themselves. Our good guys decide to defend them against Jace and her minions and successfully fend them off. The issue ends with the revelation that the adult stone guardian is in fact the planet itself. I quite enjoyed this issue, it was a fun little adventure where we found out that the monsters were in fact Jace and her minions and not the stone guardians. 

issue #5

This penultimate issue dealt with two mysterious antique babysitter droids whose third companion had disappeared. We find out that a junk dealer who had sold a massive broken droid to Nak had forced the two babysitter droids to help him create unlinceced blasters. He had destroyed the third droid as punishment for their protesting. R2D2 was the hero of this issue as he sensed something was wrong with the situation and so followed the droids home and confronted the junk dealer by shocking him with his weapon. C3P0 and Nak who had repaired his massive droid followed R2D2 and resolved the situation by simply getting the massive droid to pick the junk dealer up by his collar. The story ends with the junk dealer arrested and the third babysitter droid reactivated by Nak giving them his massive junk droid so that they could put the former destroyed droids data core into it. This was a nice fun story and it was nice for R2D2 to take the primary heroic role. 

Issue #6

This final issue starts with a fun little story where R2D2 is kidnapped by spice pirates and taken to their ship, however thanks to the pirates being attacked by an even larger ship allows R2D2 to escape on a life pod and travel back to Hosk. It is if he was guarding the landspeeder all along when C3P0 and the
Baron return. We then get into the main story when alarms sound all around the planet, it turns out that our favourite villain Olag has stolen precious ash ore and then sabotages the reactor to destroy the planet along with any evidence. This is prevented thanks to our droids and a police droid who destroy Olag's massive droid attacker and a creature called Mistress Trillka who manages to force the explosion upwards saving the planet and damaging Olag's ship. This final issue ends with R2D2 and C3P0 agreeing to become the police droid's deputy's and leaving Hosk to chase after Olag.

Interior Art

I quite liked the interior art within this series, it was colourful, clear and had nice bold lines. In my mind it almost looks like you are watching stills from an animated series, I think all of these stories would work well as a cartoon. As pleasant as the art was nothing in particular ever amazed me, although being the sucker for splash pages as I am the following stood out for me. The first page of this collection is a great splash page of C3P0 hanging by a rope from a tree with Nak laughing at him. I think this is a good representation of the level of humour and predicaments that the droids get themselves into. One of my favourite pages in this entire collection is Hughes and Gibson's image of the combined stone guardian, it is just fantastic and I love being able to see where each individual stone creature joins with the other. There is a great panel in the final issue where we see Olag's wrecking droid in all it's enormity for the first time, it's jaws look fearsome and I love the sense of tension in this scene.

Conclusion & Rating

To conclude I did quite enjoy this series, even though I could tell right away that it is aimed at the younger market I did enjoy all of the plots that all wrapped up nicely at the end. I did get a bit annoyed at either seeing or having reference to the villain Olag in each story though, I understand that it was a way to link the droids adventures but it would have been nice to have them on an adventure that wasn't linked to the annoying alien. If you are looking for a Star Wars series for your child who loves the droids then you could do worse than giving this one a shot. 

Rating: 7/10 - Death Star

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