“UNSPEAKABLE REBEL SUPERWEAPON” PART IV. It’s time for DOCTOR APHRA to do what she does best: honor her commitments, help people in need, do the right thing. Hahaha, nope, the people she’s swindling won’t buy that either. Unlucky for them, she’s always two steps ahead. Unlucky for her, the steps lead directly to Coruscant, and into the arms of an old enemy…
In my last review (and several more I’m sure), I’ve said how Spurrier makes you feel like you’ve been on a rollercoaster of a ride with every issue he does. This month is no exception! There are so many moments here that are just gorgeous, so many moments that you feel that you’ve read an entire story arc (not just one issue) and so many moments that you wonder where on earth is this heading next!
Let’s begin with my favourite part of this comic, in fact my favourite part of the entire Doctor Aphra series; Tolvan. I have been saying for months how I can’t wait to see Tolvan and Aphra back together. And just as I should expect from Spurrier, as soon as she’s back, she’s gone. But what beautiful moments. At no point do you actually know what this character is going to do. We always want to believe that love will win out, but this is someone in love with Aphra. And when we do finally know she will help Aphra, there is just that wait to see what they will say to each other, will they have that ‘moment’. Spurrier handles it effortlessly, and even with masks on, I was hoping they’d embrace! I will say this now, there is no better relationship in the comics than that of Aphra and Tolvan. It is so well written. It always keeps you guessing and is such a believable relationship (if you can call it that). I’m really hoping I don’t have to wait too long to see Tolvan reappear.
The mystery that is Voor keeps deepening. The first half of the comic was based around Tolvan, the second half belongs to Voor. Even knowing who she is, there is still a lot to be said about her. Her goal revealed at the end makes me very intrigued, but her whole performance in this issue was wonderful, if not raising a lot of questions. It seems a great way for Spurrier to deal with Vader, to have him as a threat but to also to remove Aphra from his grasp. The whole angle of propaganda is well thought out and original. To bring something new every time to Doctor Aphra every story arc is an impressive feat. Will Voor survive this arc? Probably not, yet part of me really hopes she does.
With a romantic interest and an intriguing villain, one has to ask what more could you get out of an issue? Well humour for a start, as well as more flashbacks. These seem to have taken a bit more of a back seat this issue, yet I like how Aphra has been influenced by the Imperials, that some of the things she says, she has learnt from them. It explains why she is reasonably comfortable around the Imperials and has very few moral dilemmas about working for them.
The artwork in this issue is again just right for me. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but I dare anyone not to find the Gallery of Peace intriguing. As I looked around, I had to pause, wondering what Darth Kraytt’s helmet was doing there or a certain heirloom of Hera’s. There is a great deal of attention to detail and I found myself starting at that panel for some time, trying to remember what each item was. It’s very cleverly done.
What can I say, Aphra continues to go from strength to strength? For your money, you feel you are getting a huge amount of story. And not just any old story, but well written, well drawn, with a storyline that keeps drawing you back again and again. The fleeting glimpses of Tolvan are infuriating (and I say that with love). Spurrier is able to be the ultimate tease, creating Star Wars’ version of Ross and Rachael. I hope he doesn’t leave us waiting too long, as a single issue of Doctor Aphra feels like you’ve watched an entire movie without pausing for breath…
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.