Max takes a space detour to check out Marvel’s Star Wars: Dark Droids D-Squad #1. But is it worth the galactic credits?
I was very excited when I heard STAR WARS: DARK DROIDS was going to feature a brief Ajax Sigma (the self-aware droid who planned a revolution in the High Republic days) backstory in the first issue of the new limited comic, D-Squad. I am a huge fan of A.I. uprisings in general and getting into Ajax’s story seemed like it would be a real creative treat. Unfortunately, it was quite brief and unsatisfying.
The D-Squad story for the most part is ridiculous. We follow R2-D2 after he is jettisoned into space by the Scourge-possessed C-3PO. I never liked how Scourge spared Artoo, stating he was a “warrior”. I think it’s just lazy writing and a bad excuse to have R2 save the day later (probably). Artoo flies through space, crashing into asteroids, and pulls a WALL-E by using his fire extinguisher fluid as a propellant. It’s very cartoonish, and the fact that he finds a passing ship and all these classic droids so easily was just dumb. Yes, I know it was the will of the Force. But it’s just too serendipitous for my taste. Yes, please tell me the odds.
Anyway, the real meat and potatoes were so short and barely did anything I wanted them to do. Ajax’s flashback was practically nothing, and we didn’t get any dialogue from The High Republic Jedi who dealt with Ajax’s first uprising. Ajax is prepared to kill. But also has a “humane” side and just wants freedom and an identity. That’s awesome, but it’s mostly just Ajax talking and very little action. I did however like the bit of pareidolia when Ajax’s face was zeroed in on and the trick of the light made it look like he was smiling. Even though his head has no discernible mouth. It was a symbolically delicious effect and I really hope that they ramp up the rest of the A.I. stuff regarding him, in a more stimulating fashion.
The pieces are all there, but the execution is (so far), sloppy and disappointing.
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The Pit droid WAC-47, sees a holo of C-3PO, R2’s friend and remarks that he is handsome. Hmmm. This is quite odd as it doesn’t really seem that C-3PO could be considered “good looking” for a droid, as you really can’t tell aesthetically what that IS amongst mechanics. So, C-3PO is like the droid version of George Clooney (with the personality of Sheldon Cooper, yuck)? It amazes me how droids perceive organics and their fellow droids, and it begs the question. Can droids have sex with each other, based on this comment?
WAC-47 also makes reference to a Holonet News report on a rampaging 3PO unit on Gallios. This is quite fascinating, as I never know where I stand on what the Holonet is. This implies that the Holonet works like our Internet, as beings in different locations are receiving news within a very short amount of time. Yet, in other situations, the Holonet doesn’t seem to work like our internet and is more like radio or microfiche archives. Quite a mystery
R2 goes to Iego, and the planet appears to be pretty pedestrian with tons of sentients of all species converging on it like it was a city that many travelers could waylay in. Did Iego see an urbanization during the Empire? God forbid- did the Empire exterminate the angels on the planet’s many moons?!
Ajax references his photoreceptors but quickly corrects himself, calling them instead, his eyes. His desire to be like an organic (at least with freedoms like one) is very intriguing, and sometimes I wonder if he has some kind of “organic envy” and wants to be a living creature as opposed to a droid. He uses the term eyes because that is what organics have, and photoreceptors are just the mechanical proxy that droids have to emulate sight. It’s clear then, that his sense of self is certainly higher than that of, say a binary loadlifter but I must ask: Is Ajax sentient?
STAR WARS: DARK DROIDS D-SQUAD #1 is published by Marvel Comics and is available to buy now!
Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!