My favorite new comic continues today and uhhh yeah. It’s not looking great for Team Aphra. (It’ll be fine! It’s only issue #4 of an ongoing series, after all.)
Surprisingly, while Aphra continues to be awesome, she wasn’t my favorite part of this issue. That honor goes instead to our antagonist. Despite debuting so recently, Captain Tolvan is already turning out to be a lovely surprise and seems to be a character who’ll be sticking around for a little while. She’s good but she’s not perfect and, were this her story, she’d be working through a personal redemption arc. On a related note, it seems that Marvel’s previous references to events in Rogue One weren’t throwaway lines and I sincerely hope we get more of this.
I mentioned this during the last review but I sincerely love that this is first and foremost the story of a rogue archaeologist that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe. It gives the book such a distinct feel from any other Star Wars stories we’ve gotten in recent memory. There are familiar locations and characters of course but it all just feels so fresh. I’m almost as invested in finding the Ordu Aspectu as Papa Aphra is. (Side Note: Does anyone else think of Wesley the Rogue Demon Hunter from Buffy the Vampire Slayer every time they read the opening scroll? No? Just Me? Okay never mind.)
Actually, I take back what I said earlier. My favorite part of the issue is a panel of the murderbots a few pages in because it made me laugh so damn hard. I won’t spoil it for you but I promise you’ll know it when you see it.
Doctor Aphra continues to get a “hell yeah!” from me and I would really like Issue #5 in my hands already, please and thank you.
Doctor Aphra #4: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Pencils, Marc Deering/Inks Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Usually, I prefer to start these off a little differently but I’ve got such crazy news that I think you all deserve to know right away. Are you sitting? You might want to sit down for this. Okay. Ready? Star Wars has now given us TWO ranking female Imperial officers within the same month. T W O. Captain Tolvan, let me be the first to say that it is very nice to meet you and that I hope you don’t end this book blown up, shot, or otherwise dead.
You know what I love about Star Wars almost as much as I love this book? That sweet, sweet brand synergy. I adore the shout out to the events of Rogue One and I especially love that it’s tied in because a character was literally too obsessed with his own project to notice that a city and entire planet got blown up. Never change, Papa Aphra. (Except no wait, your daughter would probably prefer that you did.) (Also, you need a name.)
Doctor Aphra #3 has the distinction of being very funny without being filled to the brim with jokes. BeeTee and Triple Zero have their entertaining exchanges as usual but there’s just something hilarious about watching Black Krrsantan go up against the Empire even if it doesn’t do the scout troopers’ reputation any favors. A lot of the credit for this goes to the art by Kev Walker so kudos on that front.
It delights me (though hardly surprises me) that this book is following up on the promise of its first issue. It feels both very Star Wars-y and very distinctly Aphra. We’re getting that archaeological story so many of us have hoped for that’s showing us other parts of the galaxy. It’s just so neat and so fun and… okay seriously, why are people not reading this book? All Star Wars fans should be.
Doctor Aphra #3: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Artist, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
You just knew when Aphra’s dad showed up that it wasn’t going to be for fun and games. They hardly seem to be a warm and fuzzy family, Boop or no Boop. It turns out that questionable ethics run in the family as Aphra’s Dad has decided to leak to the archaeology board that she cheated on her doctorate entirely because he wants her to help him find the Ordu Aspectu. What happened to them? Well… let’s just say that everyone has their own theory and it’s going to take them to a very unexpected moon.
Doctor Aphra #2 follows up on the fun and adventure of the first issue but this time with more family problems! (Honestly, who doesn’t have family drama in the galaxy far, far away?) This book is definitely a tonal shift from Darth Vader which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just taking a little getting used to especially since we’re finally seeing Aphra deal with her own problems as opposed to Vader’s. Seeing a female character be the star of her own story entirely on her own merits (and not because of who she’s related to) is incredibly refreshing as is seeing a smaller scale story that doesn’t have galactic ramifications.
This is hardly news but Kieron Gillen definitely knows how to end a comic on a cliffhanger that’s going to leave you incredibly anxious for the next issue. Can we have Issue #3 yet? No? On the art front, I’m getting more and more used to seeing our cast drawn by Kev Walker instead of Salvador Larroca. His style is incredibly expressive which works quite well for the arguments between father and daughter.
So how is Doctor Aphra holding up? Pretty darn good so far. You should definitely be reading it!
Doctor Aphra #2: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Artist, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
It’s finally here! Dr. Aphra #1! Okay, so we’ve only been waiting for a month and a half but it’s felt like forever. No longer in Darth Vader’s service, Aphra, her two murderdroids, and Black Krrsantan are back to their usual thing: finding and selling ancient artifacts for a profit with a side of violence. Except there’s one problem: her doctorate’s been revoked and now she can’t sells her loot for the usual high prices.
Dr. Aphra #1 is our first real chance (outside of her introduction in Darth Vader #3) to really get to see Aphra going after what Aphra wants. I love that this book immediately reminds us that she’s not one of those rogues with a heart of gold. She straight up kills a man and isn’t particularly torn up about it. (Hey, he had a thing that she wanted!) I’m glad that it’s Kieron Gillen still at the writing helm because that means we’re getting the definitive Aphra and Aphra backstory just as he always imagined her. I don’t think I’d trust anyone else to write her quite yet even though we still run the risk of her, you know, dying. Because it’s Gillen.
On the art front, Kev Walker takes over for this new book but we do get a taste of Salvador Larroca via the short story at the end. Adding a little something extra has been Marvel’s MO for first issues. It’s a nice nod to their previous collaboration and while I dig Larroca’s work, it’s nice to get a distinctly different style for this book. Thus far, I’m definitely a fan of Walker’s more comic booky style.
There weren’t a ton of surprises in this first issue. They mostly cover what we’ve already learned in interviews and solicits but it does very nicely introduce Team Aphra to new readers. In other words, it’s very much a first issue but I’m honestly so glad to be reading about her again that it could’ve been 22 pages of nothing but Aphra ordering drinks in a cantina and I would’ve been content. That said, I can’t emphasize enough how excited I am to see where this book goes. After all, we can’t have a Dr. Aphra book if Aphra doesn’t have a doctorate… right?
In case it wasn’t clear yet… yeah. Dr. Aphra #1 gets my whole hearted endorsement. Go snag yourself a copy.
Dr. Aphra #1: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Artist, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Editor/Jordan White, Assistant Editor: Heather Antos