Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: Star Wars Special: C-P3O #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: James Robinson
ART: Tony Harris
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Tony Harris
VARIANT COVERS:  Tony Harris; Reilly Brown; John Tyler Christopher; Dave Dorman; Todd Nauck
36pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (June 2016)

Rated “T+”

“The Phantom Limb”

In the recent Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we discovered that C-3PO, the goldenrod protocol droid, now had a red left arm.  We were told that there was a story behind the red arm, and recently, Marvel Comics told it to us in the one-shot comic book, Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1.

C-3PO #1 (“The Phantom Limb”) is written by James Robinson; drawn and colored by Tony Harris, and lettered by Joe Caramagna.  The story is set before the events depicted in The Force Awakens.  C-3PO and five other droids are stranded on a planet, and one of the droids, Omri, is a prisoner.  He knows the location of Admiral Ackbar, who is being held prisoner by the First Order.  The droids must travel across a vast and perilous 87-kilometer landscape to a homing beacon that can help get them off this dangerous world.  The problem is that even droids can have interests contrary to programming.

Either Marvel or Dark Horse Comics have been publishing Star Wars comic books for four decades (with about a five or six year gap when neither did).  I have probably read Star Wars comic books for about half that time, and in that span, Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1 is at the bottom of the heap.

I am reluctant to use the word “worst” in conjunction with Star Wars.  After all, Star Wars is practically a religion or at least a faith for me.  The Star Wars films and, to a lesser extent, the spin-off stories have hugely affected me personally and professionally.  If that were not the case, I would call Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1 the worst Star Wars comic book that I have ever read.

That shocks me.  I have enjoyed comics previously written by James Robinson, and I have seen some nice, even beautiful artwork produced by Tony Harris, including the cover for this very comic book.  [I have not read DC Comics' 1990s iteration of Starman that was produced by the team of Robinson and Harris.]  Here, however, Robinson offers a mundane yarn that is not worth telling (or selling).  Harris' art is a combination of muddy composition and water-logged coloring.  The graphical storytelling is murky; actually, it is the dialogue (stiff as it is) that really lets the reader understand the action.

The resolution offers a heartfelt moment, and an appearance by lovable Episode 7 droid, BB-8, washes away a little of the bitter aftertaste of “The Phantom Limb.”  I have to say that rather than buy this comic book, one should simply search the Internet for the story behind C-3PO's red arm.  Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1 is definitely not worth the $4.99 cover price.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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