REVIEW: Marvel's Star Wars: Dark Droids #1
Star Wars: Dark Droids #1 has the daunting task of setting up Star Wars' next big comic crossover event, the possession of droids and cyborgs by an entity known as the Scourge for readers familiar with Marvel's multiple original trilogy-era Star Wars series and new readers. Charles Soule's writing, Luke Ross' artwork, Alex Sinclair's coloring, and Travis Lanham's lettering all create a strong introduction to the Scourge and set this new threat apart from previous enemies the Star Wars galaxy has faced.
At the beginning of Star Wars: Dark Droids #1, readers learn that after the Spark Eternal, a dark side AI created by the Ascendant cult to destroy the Sith, was expelled from Doctor Aphra, it bonded with ancient technology aboard Amaxine Station to become the Scourge, an entity capable of possessing droids and cyborgs to replicate itself into a hive mind bent on destruction. Charles Soule provides enough background on the Spark Eternal for new readers to understand its former quest and its motivations in its new form as the Scourge.
Soule also shows the scale of the Scourge's threat to the entire galaxy, especially since the Scourge manages to kill an entire Star Destroyer within a brief amount of time. He also makes sure to emphasize that the droids being possessed are the Scourge's victims, too, and their possession is without their consent. Soule also sets up a faction of droids, the Second Revelation, as possible heroes against the Scourge. When familiar faces begin to be taken over by the end of the issue, Soule creates a strong cliffhanger to catapult the series forward.
Luke Ross's artwork establishes an atmosphere of horror throughout Star Wars: Dark Droids#1. He uses shadows to represent how the Scourge can be hiding anywhere in the galaxy. Throughout the issue, Ross intersperses glimpses from the eyes of the possessed droids, providing a voyeuristic quality to their looming threat. He captures the expressions of terror on the Scourge's organic victims' faces as they are killed by their former allies. Ross also increases the horror with what he chooses not to show. For the more violent deaths, Ross only shows bloodstains on a droid's hands or the whirring of a medical droid's saw, leaving the reader to imagine the carnage.
Travis Lanham's lettering shines in Star Wars: Dark Droids #1. His choice of a different font for the Scourge sets it apart from the rest of the characters, making its internal scheming clear from the outset. Alex Sinclair's colors also play an important role. Using the color red would be an obvious choice for the color of the Scourge's possession. When the Spark Eternal possessed beings in the past, the color used was red since it was a dark side artifact. For its new form, the Scourge, Sinclair uses a light violet to indicate possession. When the reader sees from the possessed droids' point of view, the world also becomes tinted with shades of violet. These lettering and color choices help set the Scourge apart from its previous form as the Spark Eternal and from other Star Wars villains.
Overall, Star Wars: Dark Droids #1 is an excellent start to Star Wars' latest event. Soule, Ross, Sinclair, and Lanham create a strong horror atmosphere to represent the Scourge's new threat. As the event continues, the Empire and the Rebellion are equally under attack as the Scourge continues to spread throughout the galaxy.