Comic Review – R2-D2 and Friends Strike Back Against the Scourge in “Star Wars: Dark Droids – D-Squad” #1

Today saw the release of the debut issue of Marvel’s new comic-book miniseries Star Wars: Dark Droids: D-Squad, which is a spinoff of the main Dark Droids crossover title. Below are my brief recap and thoughts on this issue.

In the pages of Dark Droids, our old protocol droid friend C-3PO (now possessed by the Scourge virus) ejected his long-time counterpart R2-D2 out the airlock of the Rebel Alliance’s flagship Home One. Now, as Dark Droids – D-Squad #1 begins, Artoo finds himself floating through the void of space. And thanks to artist Salva Espin (X-Men ‘92: House of XCII) and colorist Israel Silva (Marvel Unleashed), we get a few hilarious pages of the poor astromech droid floating around and trying to figure out which of his many built-in tools can actually help him in this dire situation, considering his communications array has been severed. Eventually he propels himself toward an astromech field, where he finds a transport ship and reunites with WAC-7, a clumsy but courageous pit droid character from one of the most infamous arcs of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. The two droids escape the asteroids and travel to Iego, where they encounter Chopper (from Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: Ahsoka) and attempt to enlist him into their cause: breaking Threepio out of his spell. But they’ll have to find him first, and Chopper says there have been reports of a murderous protocol droid on the planet Gallios. WAC-7 mistakes the blue hologram image of Triple-Zero for C-3PO, but Artoo doesn’t seem to notice or care, simply hijacking a different transport– and its reluctant RX-series pilot– by himself.

Naturally, Artoo arrives on Gallios to find the locals running terrified from Triple-Zero (last seen in the pages of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra and the Hidden Empire crossover), and that gives us the cliffhanger ending for this premiere issue. But wait, there’s more! We also get “The Book of Ajax”– a retelling of events from the self-aware droid Ajax Sigma’s life, from his own point of view. Ajax is one of the more intriguing elements of the Dark Droids saga, so it was very interesting to get a different perspective on where he’s coming from– and to meet ASP-9, a follower of his who wishes to take a decidedly more proactive approach toward achieving droid independence. There’s also a fateful meeting between Ajax and Luke Skywalker that I don’t think has happened yet elsewhere in other media, so that must be coming up soon in the pages of the main Star Wars title, or perhaps in the Dark Droids miniseries itself. But all told, I think writer Marc Guggenheim (Star Wars: Han Solo & Chewbacca) has done an excellent job of picking up both Artoo and Ajax’s stories from where Charles Soule left them. Artoo’s story in particular is a little more light-hearted than we’ve seen so far in Dark Droids, but I do think this crossover epic needed some comic relief, so I understand the reasons why D-Squad was created. I bet Clone Wars fans are at the very least amused to see WAC-7 again, and I’m looking forward to finding out how Artoo partners with the other recognizable droids (like the famous bounty hunters IG-88 and 4-LOM) featured on the cover of this issue over the next few months.

Star Wars: Dark Droids – D-Squad #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.