Comic Review: Doctor Aphra #37

Published: October 2, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer: SIMON SPURRIER
Penciler: Caspar Wijngaard
Cover Artist: Ashley Witter

The synopsis;

A ROGUE’S END PART 1: A BRAND-NEW ARC STARTS HERE! After all she’s been through, professional disaster-zone DOCTOR APHRA is right back where she started: working for DARTH VADER. What villainous use has the dark lord found for her, to make him spare the life of his most annoying foe…? And how long does she have to try and slither out of harm’s way before he decides to finish what he started years ago…?

The review;

It hasn’t been that long a break since the last story arc finished, yet here we are back with Aphra. A rush perhaps, to have this series end. If like me, you’ve kept up with the comic news, there is an odd one shot in December that could be the concluding part for Aphra. I’m hoping not. Aphra is a fan favourite and every time I think this series is done, it comes back, renewed with energy and taking the reader down a path I could never have expected. Even so, the cover for this issue is enough to whet the appetite…

The focal point of this issue for me, is where Aphra is, which is with a group of archaeologists that are being used by the Empire to try and locate the Rebels. It’s an interesting idea; the Rebels stayed at Yavin so maybe they will inhabit more ancient structures. Initially, I wasn’t too fond of this, would Vader really go to that sort of extreme? Yet the more I thought about it, the more I realised that would actually make the most sense. Vader is obsessed, that is what we’re told in the opening crawl of The Empire Strikes Back. When more conventional methods had dried up, would Vader (and the Empire) not be so desperate to use any means at their disposal? It comes at the whole problem from a different, unique angle. I also love that Aphra is straight on the mark, telling them all it’s a stupid idea. Desperation makes people believe silly things, so I suppose the Empire can be forgiven for making such a silly assumption. This, and the fact that Aphra has seen the Rebels and knows they are no small force. See what I mean, the more you think about it, the more the whole idea surprisingly works!

To see Veers appear in this issue was great, I like the character (even with the small amount of screen time he had). The way he is brought in was very Vader, and I like that it was said in a tongue-in-cheek way. The character works brilliantly, staying the determined, clear-headed officer we see in the film. I’m hoping as he is the direct line manager for Aphra, that we get to see much more of him.

It has to be said, Marvel are utilising Vader brilliantly at the moment. He is in a lot of the publications that are being released at the minute, and every single one seems to know now, that Vader needs to be used sparingly. Aphra is no different. We get fleeting glimpses of the dark lord and he barely ever says a word. It is what makes him do scary to us as the viewer and to Aphra as a character. We don’t know what he is thinking, particularly about Aphra. Why is she still alive? My only critcism is that I don’t think Aphra would be crazy enough to mention Skywalker out loud, but this is me being very nit-picky.

The ending? No didn’t see that coming! Is this the start of tying up all the loose ends that the series has left until now?

The artwork is again different to the last, and I really liked the last arcs work. However, Wijngaard does a good job of moving you through the panels. His artwork isn’t over detailed, which makes following the story very easy and relaxed. For this story it works well, and future action scenes should be a joy to follow.

A Rogue’s End… could it be? Is it really time for us to say goodbye to Aphra? I said in my last review, it is very difficult to predict where Spurrier is going to go with a story, you never know. Yet the more we seem to be heading towards The Empire Strikes Back, same as the main title series, the more I keep thinking this is it. The appearance of her father shows that certain loose ends are being tied up. If it is then I hope this last arc does Doctor Aphra justice, and going from this first issue, it should do. To have Aphra and Vader back together is wonderful; it’s how this all began and only seems right that it’s where it should end. Where the story will go now that her father is back in the picture is anyone’s guess, but I can’t wait to see the next issue…

Availability;

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