If you saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which of course you did), you’re probably at least a little bit curious about why C-3PO currently has a red arm — which kind of makes him look like one of those cars with a door that’s painted a different color than the body. This week, Marvel presents a one shot comic by James Robinson (writer) and Tony Harris (art) that provides the backstory about how he got it.
Is it good?
Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1 (Marvel Comics)
- I’m starting to understand why C-3PO is only good in small doses.
- This whole thing where C-3PO has to translate everyone’s whirs and beeps for the reader is going to get old pretty fast.
- …and now we have some destructive action to help relieve this issue a bit.
- Spice Spiders. Be still my EU loving heart.
- Huh. A reference to the prequels that is actually pretty cool. Well done, Mr. Robinson.
Is It Good?
I began reading this book last night, got a few pages in, and put it down. I’m not sure if it was C-3PO’s annoying dialogue, his exposition via constant translation, or the fact that I just don’t normally dig droid-centered tales, but I could already tell that I wasn’t going to like this story. Even the art by Tony Harris, whose work I normally love, wasn’t grabbing me.
This morning, I dug back in from the beginning… and still hated the first few pages. But then, something unexpected happened. James Robinson actually made me care about perhaps my least favorite character in the Star Wars universe. It definitely helped that we got spice spiders (!) and some other cool monster action via Harris’ hand. But what really won me over were the interactions between C-3PO and the captured First Order droid. This could have easily been a cliché/trope-riddled narrative about whether robots have emotions, but Robinson deftly adds some nice touches (like the prequel call back I mentioned earlier) to make it feel much more personal—not just to this particular story, but to the Star Wars mythos as a whole.
There were a few times that C-3PO’s voice didn’t quite feel like it should. I imagine that writing for such a concrete-thinking character is difficult, but it can be done— Kieron Gillen does it every month with Triple Zero in Marvel’s Darth Vader series. But that small cheat in voice allows C-3PO and his captive/adversary/comrade to have some great dialogue and character moments.
The ending is also surprisingly poignant. I hadn’t considered that the reason for C-3PO’s red arm would be something so touching and sentimental. Add in some good actions sequences, and you’ve got yourself a comic that even person who doesn’t like droid-centered stories (like me) can enjoy.
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