Comic Review: Doctor Aphra #39

Published: November 27, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Penciler: Caspar Wijngaard
Colourist: Lee Loughridge
Cover Artist: Ashley Witter

The synopsis;

A ROGUE’S END PART 3: SOME LIKE IT HOTH…DOCTOR APHRA has so far failed to seize the secret location of the NEW REBEL BASE… but that hasn’t stopped the rebels seizing HER…After all the bad blood and countless betrayals, does any love linger between Aphra and her new captor, Rebel Captain MAGNA TOLVAN? But with DARTH VADER himself keeping tabs on her progress, will Aphra see in Tolvan one last, seducible opportunity to sell-out the future of the galaxy, and save her own skin?

The review;

I feel that every review I am doing at the moment has the word penultimate in it! I suppose it’s no surprise that I’m having to use it again for Doctor Aphra, for her penultimate issue. Last issue was all about bringing characters back, placing them in their starting positions for the big finale. This issue, I’m looking forward to seeing how Spurrier moves them about ready for the grand exit…

This is the issue I’ve been waiting for, for what feels like forever. I’ve often said, and I still stand by it, that the relationship (…well…however you’d define ‘it’) between Tolvan and Aphra is one of the most genuine, believable romances that has appeared in Star Wars. It never feels forced or placed there for its own sake. It always has had that Ross/Rachael feel to the whole thing and every time I think they’ve found their way back to each other, they drift apart. It has been a long time since they have been back together, and this is there issue. The emotions from Tolvan are wonderful, she is out for blood, Aphra’s blood. She’s had enough of her. She goes so far to say what we are all thinking, that how Aphra has treated her is awful and yet, in the end, she can’t help how she feels. Even though she knows she’ll get hurt, she can’t deny her feelings. It’s a vicious circle I’m sure most of us can relate to and Spurrier is able to write it so beautifully. To have the two connected is a very interesting development, that goes beyond the romance and is actually a physical thing. It is this that convinces Tolvan of how Aphra feels about her but will also be her greatest weakness (if Aphra by herself wasn’t enough). Part of me wants these two to finally settle down, but with another series on the horizon, that’s not going to happen, at least anytime soon. We’ve seen the same thing happen again and again with this pair, yet even with the repetition, I still enjoy reading about this pair, about how they almost sort things out, only to have Aphra mess it up (again).

The jokes in this issue are superb. The humour that comes from Triple Zero and Aphra show an understanding of the stereotypes in Star Wars and are used tremendously. Doctor Aphra has always taken the humorous approach to itself and the franchise and I think it’s important that it still remains at the end of this series.

Loose ends start to get tidied up, with Aphra’s dad finding Vulaada. It works well, although I wonder if that’s the end of the pair for this arc, or if they’ll find a way to return in the last issue. That maybe a nicely tided loose end, but the ending isn’t! Aphra knows the location of the Rebel base. Does she tell Vader? I don’t think so, surely that would need to be explicitly done as Vader learns the location in The Empire Strikes Back, doesn’t he? This is Spurrier, and everything is never what it seems. It leaves a huge question for next issue to answer.

I have really enjoyed the styles of artwork in the last few arcs, yet when you go back to how something was, you often remember how great it was. Tolvan looks wonderful, the emotion that Wijngaard portrays on this character really helps you to feel every torn emotion she is going through. I also thought the way that Aphra was drawn really added a ‘Ripley’-esque style to the character which worked so well, particularly with Tolvan.

It would be the penultimate issue when I get the issue I want, good things always come if you wait long enough. This is a beautiful issue, full of real-life romance that most of us can relate to. It does make me wonder if Tolvan will appear in the new series, I hope so! The emotional charge of this issue is excellent, and it shows just how moving this love story has been between the two characters and the baggage that they carry. There is now only one remaining until we say a temporary goodbye to our doctor, I wonder what could possibly go wrong this time…


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.