Comic Review: Doctor Aphra #34

Published: July 17, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer:SIMON SPURRIER
Penciler: Wilton Santos, Cris Bolson and Andrea Broccardo
Cover Artist: Ashley Witter

The synopsis;

UNSPEAKABLE REBEL SUPERWEAPON CONTINUES! Hiding out on the world where she grew up, everyone’s favourite scoundreless, DOCTOR APHRA, takes a trip down memory.
NB: Turns out memory lane is a hellhole covered in the agonizing thermal landmines of emotional honesty and family dysfunction.
NB (2): Also bounty hunters. Lots and lots of bounty hunters.

The review;

Two issues in, and ‘Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon’ has been just the change of pace that this series needed. Having set the foundations for this arc, Spurrier starts to ramp things up very quickly.

The first thing I just couldn’t get over in this issue, was the artwork. I mentioned in issue one that the art was very different to the last few story arcs, yet worked well. Here, I kept been reminded of the old Marvel series, particularly when it came to the space battle with the Ark Angel. For me, this is really helping to set the tone for this story, where we are firmly in Original Trilogy terrain. Having the sense that this story could have easily been written in the eighties, wipes away all the baggage that other series sometimes bring with them. Its simplicity and it works well.

The flashbacks in this issue were superb. Aphra’s mum being a hypocrite explains a lot of why Aphra is the way she is. She says that her mum was terrified by how much she loved her, exactly how I think Aphra feels for Tolvan. Aphra and Tolvan have always struggled because of how Aphra acts. Yet knowing how her mum was, you can see the similarities. I wonder if any of this will get relayed back to Tolvan? And on that note, it’s infuriating not to see Tolvan more in this issue, which was my one minor complaint of the last issue. Yet, the next issue promises quite a showdown with the pair, which I’m very excited about!

Although I have always thought that the relationship between Aphra and Tolvan is one of the best in Star Wars, the developing relationship between Aphra and Vulaada is also superb. We get to see how the child becomes the parent, trying to pass on life lessons better than her mother did. It seems like she is trying to help this child to not make the same mistakes she has, yet by having her with her, she is doing just that.  And I suppose this is what Doctor Aphra really comes down to: relationships. Aphra is a single woman who interacts with a vast community of characters. This series always seems to write very compelling relationships, whether it be between lovers, friends or parents. The reaction to Krrsantan was superb and again, it’s the ensuing ‘friendship’ that helps makes this series so compelling.

Aphra finally finds out who Voor is, and I can’t wait to see what effect that is going to have on the story. In some ways, I do wish we’d been left a little more in the dark as to who this mystery woman was. That said, I’m very glad that Aphra’s assumption that it was Vader after her was squashed quite quickly, particularly as we (the reader) know who is behind the hunt for Aphra.

The rest of the issue feels like true Aphra style. There are lots of different parts at work, all trying to meet at the same end point (which never happens!). It promises that the rest of the issues are going to be rather action packs, with more Wookiee finally added!

It should seem clear from this review that there is a lot in this issue. Iit is crammed full of flashbacks, character interaction, space battles and action. I finished reading this issue feeling like I’d read an entire arc. Spurrier is doing this more and more often, leaving you with a feeling that you’ve been on one hell of a ride. He is clearly gearing up for the remaining issues, setting lots of groundwork that promises to deliver, in true Aphra fashion, one grand, and explosive ending…

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.