WORST AMONG EQUALS: PART TWO! Rogue archaeologist DOCTOR APHRA has ten hours to cross a hostile megacity before the bomb implanted in her throat blows up. No big deal, right? And even if there ARE, say, insane cops and bounty hunters on her tail—she’s got a partner to help her! (Unfortunately that would be TRIPLE ZERO: the astonishingly unpleasant murder droid who yearns to see her dead)
Part two of Worst Among Equals, opens with Winloss and Nokk meeting (seemingly) Princess Leia about hunting down Triple Zero. The two hunters are unconvinced until they see that Doctor Aphra is with the droid. With Leia wanting Aphra dead, the two agree to the bounty. Once they leave, Evazan removes his disguise to show it was him, not Leia, making the bounty.
Back on Milvayne, Aphra explains that with the person who could remove the bomb dead, they need an alternative plan. She has found the man’s mentor, a man she believes will also be able to remove the bombs. The only issue is that he is the other side of the metro mass and they have less than ten hours before the bombs detonate. She begs Triple-Zero to try things her way, without any killing.
On a transport station, Aphra bribes the driver to allow them to travel without any ID. The female driver agrees but says that the droid needs to go with the luggage. Not liking this, Triple-Zero threatens the woman, who calls security. They throw Triple-Zero off the side of the platform, down a long drop. This causes Aphra’s bomb to activate. With only seconds, Aphra steals the driver’s blaster and plunges after Triple-Zero. She is caught by a net that has also caught the droid. He is swiftly encased in the mouth of a gargantuan beast called a gurtyl. The beast is being ridden by a teenage girl, who lets the droid go when threatened by Aphra and her blaster.
The girl is called Vulaada Klam and she agrees to use her gurtyl to transport Aphra and Triple-Zero to where they need to go. Before they can go too far, they encounter Tam Posla. He has been infected by the hookspores and is seeking justice. Using Triple-Zero’s transponder signature, he has been able to track them. Triple-Zero claims he only shared his code with one other. This is when Tam reveals Beetee and tells the little droid to destroy the scum…
Last issue I said that I feel now, after several quality issues, I can relax a bit more and enjoy the ride that is Doctor Aphra. I wasn’t wrong. This storyline continues to go from strength to strength and shows just what this series is made of.
I have had many an issue with the annuals that Marvel have released, yet the one I have most enjoyed is the second Doctor Aphra annual. When reading it, I loved the characters of Winloss and Nokk. It was a very different relationship to what we have seen in Star Wars before, but it worked. I thought at the time of reading the annual that we were unlikely to see them again, yet in the opening pages of this comic they have resurfaced. I couldn’t be happier! Although we only see them briefly, their appearance promises a much bigger role for them in future issues.
And that is just the beginning of the links to the rest of the Star Wars universe. What Doctor Aphra has started to do of late, is link all the pieces of previous storylines, of different areas (whether it be film, TV series or other comics). It helps to create a sense of grandness to the galaxy. We get to (sort of) see Leia. Tam Posla returns with the hookspores (which is insanely cool) and Beetee is back! It was a very bold move to kill the droid off in the previous story arc. I had mixed feelings on it as the series needed to make a bold statement and yet the little droid is just so likeable. Bringing him back is the right move, particularly with him squaring up against Triple-Zero.
What really worked in this issue was the relationship between Triple-Zero and Aphra. It’s the part that I always thought would help the series get back to its roots. It is interesting to see the two try to reach a common goal and have such different methods. Added to this, you then have Triple-Zero moaning at Aphra for her questionable moral choices, even though it is his actions that have caused her to make those choices in the first place. It is almost a chicken and the egg scenario.
The artwork last issue seemed to be much better than previous arcs, yet in this comic Laiso really outdoes himself. The panels are clear and really help to provide the motion and movement of the story, which there is a lot of. It’s great to see these characters getting the art they deserve.
Once was a time when I would complain about Doctor Aphra. The writing wasn’t good enough or the art sloppy. Yet issue after issue there is now a quality consistency that makes the whole series enjoyable. Threads are weaved together beautifully and provide fans with amazing moments utilising the characters we love. Some careful thought has gone into where the series is heading and how to bring out the very best from it. I can’t wait till next month, with the standoff between the two murderous droids…
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.