Comic Review: ‘Doctor Aphra’ #14

Published: November 15, 2017
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler: Emilio Laiso
Cover Artist: Ashley Witter

The Synopsis:

Doctor Aphra’s antics are causing mayhem once again… But is she really the one calling the shots?

The Story:

Part one of the ‘Remastered’ storyline finds Magna Tolvan in the Outer Rim on a planet called Someilk. When Captain Punfor arrives to relieve Tolvan, we find that she has been demoted to Lieutenant because of the previous storylines in Doctor Aphra. Punfor makes fun of Tolvan before she leaves and goes outside onto the landing pad for the Imperial base. While questioning what is happening to her, a drop pod crashes onto the base, expelling several troops who begin firing on the Imperials. Before she can fire on the intruders, Tolvan comes face to face with Doctor Aphra. Having to take cover, Tolvan can do nothing but head to a nearby gunship in an attempt to provide cover for the troops in the base. On reaching the cockpit, Tolvan finds the barrel of a blaster pointed at her, held by Aphra. Aphra explains that her team are here to slice some information and then they’ll be gone. After complementing her appearance, Aphra learns that Tolvan has been demoted.

Getting a signal from her team, Aphra stuns Tolvan and takes the gunship. She picks up her team, pleased that so few of the Imperials seem to have been killed. However, soon after, the drop ship is detonated, causing the base to explode. Aphra is not happy with the surprise explosion. Having been stunned on the landing pad, Tolvan survives and filled with anger.

The team and Aphra, land on Son-Tuul, where Aphra is very vocal about her displeasure. A voice asks her if she wants to reconsider an offer that has been made. Aphra says she doesn’t before calling the voice ‘master’. The ‘master’ turns out to be Triple Zero…

The Review:

With this being my first review of Doctor Aphra, I feel I should set-up how I feel about the character and the series. As a character I thought Doctor Aphra was a great addition in the Darth Vader series and was distraught at the thought that we may lose the character once that series had ended. I was very relieved to hear that she would be getting her own series. And then the series came out, and I couldn’t help but be somewhat disappointed with it. It just didn’t seem to work for me. But as with any comic series, there are new story arcs around every corner and a chance to improve.

This first issue certainly does that for me. One of the major differences in this issue, and the reason I think it worked, was due to the fact that for most of the issue Aphra is not the main character. In Darth Vader, Aphra worked as a secondary character, and having her not the main focus for most of the issue seems to have harkened back to that. Much in the way that A New Hope is Luke’s story but told from the droid’s perspective, this issue is mainly told from Tolvan’s view as opposed to Aphra. It helps to keep Aphra a bit more of a mystery and make the reader wonder what is going on.

The setting of the Imperial base was very reminiscent of the communications base in The Clone Wars episode, Rookies. It was great to see that the Empire has maintained the bases from The Clone Wars era. Another nod was the character Rexa, who has a Lobot style implant in her head. These nods to the wider universe is very welcome and helps to show some consistency between the Trilogies and the TV shows.

The final reveal of Triple Zero was also very exciting and I’m sure there’s a lot more backstory coming in future issues. The one advantage this series has over the rest of the Marvel catalogue, is the fate of these characters is undecided. They are not in any film that will reveal whether they live or not. This creates huge suspense for the reader and makes you a lot more worried for the characters.

I said at the start that I hadn’t been a fan of this series so far, yet this issue has reawakened my intrigue. The artwork isn’t the best, although certainly not the worst. And the writing? Well so far I would have said it’s not much to celebrate, but this issue gives me pause. With a subtle shift, the writers maybe back on track with the Doctor Aphra many readers fell in love with in the Darth Vader series. Added to that, we also have ‘Master Triple Zero’! Things are almost certainly looking up for this series and I can’t wait to see where this story arc will take us.

Availability:

Doctor Aphra is an ongoing series available from Marvel. This issue is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.

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Mark 'Spooked Hippie' Alders
Mark’s day job is a primary school teacher, where in his classroom you will find life size cut outs of Darth Vader and Chewbacca, trying his best to educate the youth of today in the ways of the force.