So, as usual for my Star Wars reviews part one is reviewing this as a comic and part two is review this issue within its greater context within the Star Wars canon. As this is my first opportunity to review Doctor Aphra I’d like to start out by discussing the comic as a whole.
Personally, I think that Doctor Aphra is perhaps the best overall comic in the Star Wars line in terms of the combination of art and writing, with only Anakin and Obi Wan outdoing it for art and only Kanan surpassing it for writing. Given that both of those comics are complete, however, I would say that Doctor Aphra is far and away the best ongoing comic in the Star Wars line.
That being said, it’s not a stereotypical Star Wars comic, Aprha herself is sort of more criminal, space faring version of Indiana Jones, hunting for artifacts and dodging both bounty hunters and Imperials as struggles to both discover and live by a her own moral code (and, of course, earn as much profit as she can). She’s also one of a growing list of queer characters in Star Wars and I personally appreciate that the comic never plays her attraction to women for fanservice or “brownie points” (as so many comics, even now, tend to). Aprha isn’t perfect. She’s flawed. Frankly, she’s very flawed. But she’s not queer to be some sort of ideal who happens to be queer to show that we can be great people too, or to have some sort of erotic draw: it’s just part of who she is.
Doctor Aphra is technically a spin-off from the long running Darth Vader comics, where Aphra’s fun and engaging dialogue and lack of the usual uptight decorum that most Imperials wear as religiously than their uniforms made her a standout character who became so popular that she was given her own comic. In spite of that, the story in Doctor Aphra is mostly self-contained (though there is some crossover with the “Screaming Citadel” plotline which runs through the mainline Star Wars comic), and I think serves as an excellent introduction to the admittedly overwhelming world of canon Star Wars comics.
The covers for Aprha have also been particularly good. Star Wars comics in general have done a good job with narrative covers (which I love, I only wish the rest of Marvel comics would take a cue from them). Even by those standards, I would say this one is a standout, with her reflection in Vader’s helmet, with her expression perfect encapsulating the emotions she should presumably feel over their looming reunion.
For anyone who is considering getting into Star Wars comics, I would say Doctor Aphra, with its fun art and exceptional writing (in both plot and dialogue) is a great place to start.
Now, onto the fun stuff. As usual full warnings for the whole Star Wars canon, though I actually don’t think I’m dropping any spoilers this time. I’d been looking forward to this Aphra for a while now, given the actions of BeeTee and Triple-Zero in the last issue.
The outcome of that has given BeeTee and Triple-Zero’s plot the potential to be pretty interesting in terms of the universe itself. Periodically, in the comics or books usually (though AP5 in Rebels throws this vibe sometimes as well), we get some sort of hint that not all droids are content with serving humans. While I’ll admit I don’t usually consider any of the droids my favorite characters, I am always interested in any information we can get on the nature of droid sentience and will (particularly given the relatively stark view of such notions that we were given by the C3PO comic). I’m interested to see where this goes, or if we’ll follow up with them now that they’re essentially free agents (ie: basically droid serial killers).
The stage has also been set for a pretty epic lightsaber battle next issue between Rur (the alleged “Jedi Spirit” inhabiting a powerful droid body built by Aphra) and Darth Vader. And of course, with Aphra remaining behind to either save some artifacts because she can “still be a hero! And rich!,” leaving the potential for her to run into her old boss again. Definitely the Aphra plot is still one of the most compelling currently running in the canon, and this issue is not one to miss.
Rating: 5 Stars
Cover: 5 Stars
Art: 5 Stars
Dialogue: 5 Stars
Plot/Relevance: 5 Stars
(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Kev Walker (CA) Karmome Shirahama