CUE THE IMPERIAL MARCH! After a lifetime of betrayals, all DOCTOR APHRA’s mynocks are finally coming home to roost. Murder-droids, Force-active spores, heartbroken lovers and vengeful lawmen — but they’re all eclipsed by the tall, dark shadow that now falls across her. HE IS HERE.
The final part of The Catastrophe Con opens on Accresker Jail, with Darth Vader cutting down all the prisoners that stand in his way. Cut between the scenes of Vader, are Tolvan and Aphra, arguing over Aphra’s decision to have her mind wiped. The montage finishes, with Vader blowing Bee-Tee-One up and Tolvan telling Aphra to wipe her mind instead because she loves her. Without too much protesting, Aphra starts using the Bor to wipe Tolvan’s memory as Vader begins to approach.
Eleven minutes later, Aphra watches (from a hidden camera) as Vader finds Tolvan. Before much is said, Aphra is interrupted by Lopset and Posla, the latter declaring that Aphra is under arrest. Before Posla can take Aphra into custody, Triple-Zero shows up and kills him. Lopset runs off, leaving Aphra with the murderous droid. Taking little notice of him, Aphra returns her attention to Tolvan, who tells Vader that she killed Aphra. Aphra admits to Triple-Zero that she altered Tolvan’s memories so she could get away. Triple-Zero, amused by this, drags Aphra away.
Vader returns to his shuttle with Tolvan. Before they can leave, Vader senses the force-imprinted hookspores and sets off to investigate. Just as he leaves, Sana shows up with the Rebels, destroying his shuttle. Almost immediately, Vader throws his lightsaber, cutting an x-wing in two. As Sana is ordered to disengage, the hookspores find Vader and try to destroy him. Vader simply snuffs them out with the force. Not wanting to leave any survivors, Vader orders the prison to be disengaged from the tractor beam and continue its fall.
The Rebels land and Sana retrieves Tolvan from the rubble of Vader’s shuttle. We then return to Triple-Zero (still dragging Aphra), who finds that his craft has been made immobile. Lopset finds the pair and tells them they can travel on Posla’s ship. He then informs Triple-Zero that he saw Bee-Tee destroyed. Before we can here the droid’s response, Lopset shoots Triple-Zero and stuns Aphra. The Rebels and Lopset all fly away from the jail, just as it begins its descent to the planet.
Eight hours later, Aphra wakes up to find Lopset repairing Triple-Zero. He explains to Aphra that he isn’t Lopset but is actually Doctor Evazan in disguise. He continues, informing Aphra that he has taken out his proximity bomb and placed it into the droid, meaning that it and Aphra need to stay within twenty meters of each other. Evazan then leaves the room with Pondo as Aphra waits for Triple-Zero to reboot…
I wasn’t wrong last week when I predicted that this could be the most explosive issue of Doctor Aphra. It was! This issue is the culmination of a lot of ground work by Spurrier and it really does pay off. Although it has been complicated to explain the plot above, the flow and pace of the comic are excellent, juggling every character (and there are a lot) to make sure they have enough time, that their stories are concluded, all in one issue. It is not an easy task, yet somehow Spurrier pulls it off flawlessly. Because of this, the issue feels far longer than it actually is, there is just so much packed in it.
With so many great moments and memorable characters, you would think it would be difficult to have one stand out. However, Vader steals the show. From the very first panel, we see a Vader that we have heard a lot about but seen very little of. The Vader that can walk into a room and kill everyone and everything without pause. We caught a wonderful glimpse of this in Rogue One and this representation of him feels like a continuation of that Vader. It shows the legend. We also get to see him cut an x-wing in half with his lightsaber! I mean, who hasn’t thought once or twice if this was actually possible. Nothing stands in his way and although you could argue that Bee-Tee needed a better death, I was actually really pleased to see that he was no real threat to Vader and Vader could just destroy him within seconds. That’s what Vader should be able to do. That’s what Vader’s reputation is built on. To have had such a long absence of Vader in this series, it seems only right that he comes back with full force. There is a reason Aphra is terrified of him.
Aphra. With so many threads to have to deal with, it almost felt like Aphra was thrown to the back of the pile. The love story between her and Tolvan was a slight let down for me, but with so many different story threads, something had to give and I don’t think for a second that their tale is over. Where Spurrier has been able to take his time with these two characters, this comic did not allow for such a luxury.
This entire story arc has been a joy to read. Doctor Aphra has always been very hit and miss for me, yet there has been a depth and a careful weaving of characters in The Catastrophe Con that has breathed new life into the series. It is a fine line to walk when you have so many great characters vying for attention, yet somehow Spurrier has been able to do and created a very cinematic story with it. To be able to conclude all the threads in this story and set up the next arc is incredible. The twist with Lopset was very entertaining. Using him to modify Triple-Zero leads to, hopefully, a very interesting story to come. With Triple-Zero and Aphra not been able to separate or kill each other, the dynamics of their relationship dramatically change and I think for the better. The two will be on an even playing field and I for one cannot wait to see where it leads. Spurrier has been able to lift Doctor Aphra to a new level and there is no reason for it not to stay up there.
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.