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DROIDS: THE KALARBA ADVENTURES

A graphic novel by Tom Veitch (1995, Dark Horse Comics)
Book 1 of the Droids adventures
5 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

R2D2 and C3PO are sold to a family in the Kalarba system, where they foil the plans of an alien trying to bring ruin to that family.

 

 

4 stars

Read on October 9th, 1995  
    The graphic novel essentially documents the two droids' adventures as they belong to  the Pitareeze family, until they are made into deputies and take off to capture a criminal at the end of the book.

  In chapter one, the droids land on a space station on a transport with many other droids, including a supposedly deactivated IG88.  Of course, the assassin droid becomes active, and takes control of the ship, then leads everyone on a chase around the station before stealing another transport.  For some reason that I can't figure out, R2 helps the droid escape, and to steal the transport.  However, when things get tough, the two droids bail out in an escape pod, and IG88 leaves the system. 

  R2 and 3PO land in a lake where the Pitareeze family is having a picnic, and they volunteer to become part of the family.  Unfortunately, the young boy likes torturing the droids.  It's kind of funny to see 3PO hanging upside down from a tree, and I could just hear his whinny voice begging R2 to help him.

  The Pitareeze family is visited by a representative of Olag Greck, an alien who stole their starship designs, made poor replicas, and blamed accidents due to poor quality on the father in the family, which nearly ruined them.  This time, he wants to obtain a hyperspace converter Pitareeze has designed. 

  The father refuses, but the boy seems to want the money they are offering, because he takes what he thinks is the converter and brings it to the space station to Greck.  But Greck knows that the gadget is not the hyperspace converter.  I don't know if the boy thought that it actually was the device that Greck wanted, and he would get the money, or if he wanted to try and swindle Greck.  That part is not made clear until the end of the chapter.  But it doesn't matter, because Greck takes the boy hostage, and demands that his father pay a ransom with the converter. 

  The father comes to the station, but the boy and 3PO escape.  Greck takes the converter, which is a decoy, and the boy and 3PO rescue his father just in time.  Greck is ruined by this incident. 

  Later, pirates attack the Pitareeze yacht, and strand them somewhere.  But they take R2 and 3PO and the boy with them, because together, they make great pie!  The boy escapes, but is shot down near the cave that Greck is using as a hideout.  R2 and 3PO are caught trying to escape that night, and are challenged to a race.  If the droids lose, they will be disassembled.  R2 drives so crazily that they win, just as Greck approaches with the boy, a blaster in his back.  But the guy that R2 raced against had fallen off his speeder, and arrives late at the pirate's camp, and so is able to stop Greck again.  Greck, however, escapes, and the droids and the boy are returned back to their family, while the pirates get the stash Greck had hidden away in that cave.

  On the way to a rendezvous at a spaceport, C3PO is damaged, so he goes to a repair shop, where he is fixed up to look like the feared assassin droid C3PX.  He ends up scaring all sorts of people before realizing the mix-up.  He and R2 are captured by Greck, however, before he can get fixed again.  They are forced to fight in a gladiator arena, but when 3PO is damaged again, the real C3PX takes over.  R2 is forced to defend himself, and uses what looks like a giant hammer to destroy the assassin droid. 

  Greck's former associate hires R2 and 3PO to do a job for her.  She wants them to steal some crystals from a cave guarded by a rock monster.  It seems that the monster ignores droids, but that happens to be true only until the droids touch the crystal.  R2 barely escapes, but 3PO does not.  He discovers that the crystals are baby rock monsters.  R2 is dumped out an airlock after delivering the crystals, but is picked up by the Pitareeze family in orbit.  They all meet at the cave again, where the Pitareeze family tries to defend the rock monsters from the pirate attack.  It seems that they don't need protection, however, because they all fuse together to form a giant monster, which takes down the pirates' spaceship!  They all surrender before getting destroyed. 

  The Pitareeze boy buys a scrap droid and fixes it up.  It is a giant creature, but seems quite tame.  In the same city, two cute daycare droids are forced to create weapons for the scrap dealer, because he has taken their companion hostage.  When R2 discovers this, he convinces the new scrap-heap droid to intervene, and the droid scares off the scrap dealer, leaving the daycare droids alone for good.

    R2 is left outside to guard the family speeder while C3PO and the father conduct negotiations.  R2 gets stolen, however, but that ship is attacked by pirates.  Before the thieves can eject, R2 steals a lifepod back to the surface.  He arrives back just in time for 3PO and the father to see him guarding the speeder.  They note that they are glad he hasn't gotten himself into trouble!

  In the final chapter, the spaceport has to be evacuated because of a power core breach.  But the ships are not large enough to carry everybody out.  The droids are left behind.  They are recruited by a sheriff droid to help him maintain order, never mind that the port is about to blow up.  They discover what looks like a giant snake in the lower levels, and temporarily stun it. 

  But they discover that Greck is back, trying to take advantage of the situation by stealing cargo that was left behind.  He sets a giant battle droid against the sheriff droid, who gets "eaten" by the thing.  But R2 sends a bunch of remote zapper droids to attack the thing, and allows the sheriff to escape.  Meanwhile, 3PO and an alien try to stop the reactor core from blowing, but they are unsuccessful, however, they lure the giant snake into biting through the coolant pipes, which diverts the explosion away from the spaceport.  The explosion damages Greck's ship, but he gets away.  The spaceport is saved, however. 

  Later, R2 and 3PO say goodbye to the Pitareeze family, as they have been deputized and plan to bring Greck to justice.  They take off for the Corellian system.

  The stories started out nice and complex, like I enjoy.  After the first couple of chapters, however, they were getting simpler and simpler!  I believe the R2D2 story (guarding the speeder), and the daycare droid stories were written at a different time, and just included here for fun, but they were the simplest of the whole bunch. 

  It's nice to see the droids in action, though.  Even though R2 is reckless, and C3PO is a wimp, they are always heroes.  The whole thing was a lot of fun.

 
   

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