Comic Review: Doctor Aphra #40

Published: December 11, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer: SIMON SPURRIER
Penciler: Caspar Wijngaard
Cover Artist: Ashley Witter

The synopsis;

A ROGUE’S END! All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, so must all evil things. And probably also all things somewhere-in-the-middle-it’s-complicated. Renegade archaeologist DOCTOR APHRA has been outrunning fate far longer than anyone dared hope. But her time is finally up. DARTH VADER stalks her through the shadows of an ancient temple, and this time? Only one of them will be leaving in one piece.

The review;

It’s finally here, the last issue to this incredible run. Yes, it has had its downs (a few of them), but the last few arcs have been what Doctor Aphra was always about. To see this initial run end is sad in a lot of ways, particularly as we say goodbye to Simon Spurrier, who has done such a great  job with the character. At times, I have often wondered how long this series could carry on for, before Spurrier showed just how much this character had left to give. Well here we are, at the end…

…Which is how Doctor Aphra would start her ending too! Where to begin? This is a very emotionally charged issue and the use of it told through a monologue seems so right, with Aphra saying goodbye to her father, Vulaada and Tolvan. It’s her way of summing up this whole series as well as keeping everyone else out of the way. What we are then left with is a stripped down Aphra, an Aphra that has four components: Aphra, Vader, Beetee and Triple Zero. Exactly how this all started back in Darth Vader. Poetic no? But this way everyone is ‘involved’ but we have a return to the beginning. Her words, her actions, they all feel very Aphra.

I think it’s important to have the droids in this issue, as they have formed such a fundamental part of what Doctor Aphra is all about. To see them take on Vader was tremendous, although I actually cried out when Vader took them out. As this was the last issue, I genuinely thought Spurrier had let them go, to keep a clear path for the future writers. Thankfully, they are still there, as along with Aphra, these characters have become very big fan favourites (I’m not sure if that says more about the characters or us as fans).

Vader is also of course here, and he shines through, as at the end of the day, it has always been him and Aphra. The device he is placed in is very intriguing and part of me wants to know a lot more, but it also allowed Spurrier to start comparing Aphra and Vader. The similarities have always been there, but Spurrier starts to delve a bit. Whereas Vader is alone because everything was ripped from him (from his point of view), Aphra is sacrificing everything to be alone, to keep them safe. She is able to do what Vader could not. Coupled with the montage panel from Wijngaard, this becomes a very poignant scene and one that I loved.

Although it’s difficult to focus on just one part of the story as this is the end of a forty-issue run, I do want to look a bit more superficially at one aspect; the planet. Initially, I thought they were on Hoth, thinking how could this be? And then found out we were on Tython. This was a surprise, to have a planet from the old Dawn of the Jedi series make a comeback, although a welcome one. Again, with the device added in, I kind of would have liked to explore this planet more, let Aphra explore the planet more so we could see more of it. Maybe one day.

This issue was always going to be emotional and Spurrier does not disappoint. To be able to include everyone, but only focus on the four, original key players is an amazing achievement and I’m so glad Spurrier did it that way. Although the relationship between Tolvan and Aphra has been incredible, I did want to see just the core set at this pivotal moment. This issue did everything it needed to do. It tied everything together nicely whilst allowing future writers enough freedom to take what they need for future series. Along with the artwork, this issue is the best goodbye that Doctor Aphra could ask for.

On a wider scale, this series has had some of the most incredible rollercoaster rides in a series. It has never taken itself too seriously but has come month after month, providing us with tales of Aphra and her antics. Not only that, but it has provided one of the most realistic, captivating love stories in the entire Star Wars universe, which is no easy feat. Yes, it has had its ups and downs, particularly at the start when trying to find itself, but in recent arcs, it has always been able to push itself and go in a direction no one could have expected. Spurrier has done himself proud with this series. Although we know this is not the end of Aphra, I still will miss Spurrier’s entertaining and enthralling writing. But as they say, when one door closes, another opens. Thank you, Spurrier, for your incredible work, I hope to see you very soon in that galaxy far, far away….

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.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk

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.