Today saw the release of issue #4 in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars: Dark Droids miniseries event, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.
Dark Droids #4 begins with a meeting between Imperial officers and Grand Vizier Mas Amedda on Coruscant. Amedda warns the top brass about the Scourge virus spreading to droids throughout the galaxy, while outside in the hallway we see stormtroopers destroying a GNK power droid out of an abundance of caution. Elsewhere on the Scourge One flagship, the Scourge has a Jedi Council-like meeting with… himself? Well, a number of different versions of himself, to discuss the troubles it’s encountering in occupying beings around the galaxy. As we’ve seen, the Empire is beginning to cull its herd of droids to prevent further spread of the virus, and the A.I. is still confronted by roadblocks in moving from “the metal” of droids into “the meat” of organic beings.
The intermediate step between those two are cyborgs (or “hybroids,” as they’re called here), of which the Scourge has already taken over the characters of Lobot, Magna Tolvan, and Beilert Valance, from the individual Star Wars, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, and Star Wars: Bounty Hunters comic book titles, respectively. These three hybroids arrive on the communications planet of Epikonia to further spread the Scourge virus through discs presented as a “patch” for Imperial droids to– rather ironically– prevent the spread of the Scourge virus. I wasn’t clear on why exactly these discs make it easier to transmit the Scourge A.I. than the previous method of small drill-like droids, but writer Charles Soule has several characters insist that it does, and I suppose I’ll take their words for it. Then at the Colony of the Second Revelation, the droid-liberation priest Ajax Sigma is having a crisis of faith, and is then approached by R2-D2 and the more outwardly violent members of the “D-Squad” (see that Dark Droids spinoff comic for more) about combating the Scourge, an offer which Ajax can’t help but accept.
Another thing I’m confused about here is when Ajax Sigma would have previously encountered Luke Skywalker. This moment keeps getting referenced in Dark Droids, but I cannot for the life of me remember it happening. I guess I gotta read back through all this stuff, but according to Wookieepedia, Ajax’s appearances have mostly been limited to Dark Droids and last year’s Star Wars: Revelations one-shot, which was all told through Darth Vader’s flash-forward visions of the future. Regardless, the Ajax / D-Squad team up makes me pretty excited for the final month of Dark Droids and its tie-ins. But there’s also the matter of the Scourge’s conflict within itself, now that its personality has evidently been split into five unique beings, each representing a different aspect of the A.I. That offers us the dramatic destruction of the one called “The Elder” near the end of this issue, as the Scourge watches his seed continue to spread through those discs. I can’t see the jump to organics happening with any measure of success in the upcoming final chapter, so the big question remaining is how Soule and extremely talented artist Luke Ross will wrap things up, and I absolutely have enough faith in them both at this point to be convinced they’ll do it in a supremely entertaining way.
Star Wars: Dark Droids #4 is available now wherever comic books are sold.