“BROKEN INSIDE” CONTINUES! Doctor Aphra may be in Imperial prison, but she’s certainly not alone. Rumours have it that these bars are haunted, but this rogue archaeologist knows there’s something much more valuable going on. Meanwhile, Aphra’s got information – information that the Rebellion wants. But how far are they willing to go – and who are they willing to recruit – in order to get it?
Part two of The Catastrophe Con picks right up after issue one, with Sana receiving a message. At the end of the last comic, it was assumed this was Aphra; it is in fact General Hera Syndulla looking to hire Sana for a job. The job in question is capturing Aphra so the Rebels don’t have to pay the ransom price Aphra had set for the Imperial intelligence from the last story arc. Sana quickly agrees.
The story returns to Aphra on-board Accresker Jail. It is here that we see Aphra making her one call to Tolvan. In true Aphra fashion, she blackmails Tolvan into coming to get her. With the call ended, Aphra once again sees a mysterious woman lurking around but before she can investigate further, she helps her new found friend Lopset, who has mysteriously had something randomly fall on him. He tells Aphra it is all down to ghosts! Aphra explains that she doesn’t actually care, as a ghost will not help them. She continues, revealing that she has realised that Lopset is actually a changeling.
Twelve hours later, Tolvan arrives at the prison and heads straight for Aphra’s cell. Through implants she has installed in her arm, Tolvan is able to communicate with Aphra through the prison cell shielding while acting like she is yelling at the prisoner. She tells Aphra that she has missed her.
A further twelve hours later, Sana has found the jail. She explains to Hera the pain that Aphra caused to her when they were together. The story does not linger here and quickly shifts back to Aphra and Lopset, who are in a fire fight. Thanks to Tolvan, Aphra is able to override Dek-Nil’s restraining bolt and the three quickly escape the fight to find Tolvan waiting for them in a TIE fighter. Before they can get on-board, Aphra spots the mysterious ghost, who Aphra now thinks is her mother. Following the ghost, she finds an old Jedi ship. Not one to miss an ancient ship that could possibly contain hundreds of artefacts, Aphra ignores Tolvan and goes in search of treasure…
In my last review, I said I was cautiously optimistic with the direction of this new storyline. Aphra can be very hit and miss, yet this issue moved in exactly the direction I thought, although with a few surprises along the way.
I love when a new episode, film or comic suddenly makes you re-evaluate what you have seen before, and this comic is no different. At the end of the last issue, I had really hoped that Aphra had called Tolvan, only to be disappointed (with some clever writing by Spurrier) to find that she had called Sana. This assumption of the reader (and I had to go back to issue 20 to double check it had been my assumption) is quickly corrected, where we see that it is Hera who has contacted Sana. Starting the issue like this was a welcome surprise. Not only do we have assumptions corrected, but we also see links back to the previous story arc, links that I imagine many readers (myself included) had forgotten when reading the start of this newest arc.
I’m very glad Tolvan returned quickly to this story. The relationship between her and Aphra is what has really improved this series in the last few issues, and the tension between the two keeps drawing me back to read more. How the two interact with each other is excellent as is the humour. I can’t wait for Sana to enter into the middle of it all! The only concern I had with Tolvan, was the art. Now I’m not saying that the art in Aphra is the best Marvel has to offer, yet there were certain panels where Tolvan didn’t look right.
My favourite part of this issue was the mysterious woman, and how it is played out as a ghost story. I wouldn’t have believed the concept would work in Star Wars, but here it does and I wish it could continue. Almost as good, was Aphra’s reaction to the ghost with, “who cares?”
With ties forming between the Original, Prequel and Rebels films/series, with humour that is well placed and several story threads that are compelling, I do believe Aphra has firmly found its footing. The love triangle that is surely going to play out in the upcoming issues would, by itself, be enough to hold the reader’s attention and yet the subplot of the ghost story is equally tantalising. Not only does this look like it may provide background on Aphra, but if the preview for issue twenty-two is anything to go by, the reason for the ‘ghost’ is equally exciting. I don’t feel I need to be cautious in my optimism for the next issue, I think it’s set to be amazing! If you want to know when to start reading Doctor Aphra, the answer is now!
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.