Star Wars Special: C-3PO #1 (Marvel)


CREDIT: Marvel

Rating: 3.5/5 – Threepio’s Missing Arm is Finally Explained!
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

It’s been a while since we first heard the news of Marvel telling the story of just how C-3PO lost his gold arm. Fans first noticed the red arm back before the Force Awakens came out and have been theorizing and speculating ever since. In September of last year Marvel announced that the story would be told by creators James Robinson and artist Tony Harris. During that September announcement the one-shot was scheduled for a December release, just after the Force Awakens hit theaters. December came and went and no one-shot was released, instead it was pushed back to February.

Then February came along and although we didn’t get the comic, we did get an explanation from artist Tony Harris that due to long delays on the approval process for the script, he hadn’t even started the book until Thanksgiving and that March would be the new release date. Well, that date was missed too and here we are in April finally finding out just how Threepio lost that arm. Although the concept of the story is strong, except for a few actually touching moments, I thought the story was a bit dull as I waited and waited for the payoff that turned out to be somewhat of a letdown for me.  Let’s first start with the art and what in my opinion may also have contributed to the book’s missed releases. I love Harris’ work on Starman and other DC projects, but in recent recently his output has been sparse with constant delays. His comic Chin Music (out via Image) and his Kickstarter campaign for Roundeye are two examples of Harris’ inability to meet deadlines.  Roundeye was announced and money collected from Kickstarter supporters over five years ago!

But we’re talking about this C-3PO special, not all the other books that Harris was late on. His work on this one-shot starring a bunch of droids missed the mark with me. Harris’ style just doesn’t work for me in  a book about robots.  Although there are some pretty pages and fantastic layouts, his heavy pencils and dark colors gave the book a look that felt, for me,  out of place for Star Wars.  James Robinson has the challenge of writing a book starring characters who talk with limited personality and sometimes even chirps and whistles. He’s able to overcome the challenge in a few places, but for a majority of the book the writing and dialogue read a I would expect a book about droids would read. Robinson also has the challenge of delivering on the mystery of the missing arm and because of the delays, speculation and theories had become bigger than the fairly mundane truth on display here.

The way C-3PO loses his arm didn’t live up to the hype for me, a case of my expectations not being satisfied by the reality of the story after so long a wait.  That said, Robinson was able to make the moments after, especially towards the end, meaningful and touching which ended the book on a high note. This comic still gets a recommendation for the simple fact that Star Wars fan will devour the smallest of details, especially since the Marvel Star Wars books are supposed to be canon in continuity with the films.  But I didn’t think the story we got was worth the wait.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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