Comic Review: Doctor Aphra #29

Published: February 27, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer: SIMON SPURRIER
Penciler: Emilio Laiso
Cover Artist: Ashley Witter

The Synopsis;

“WORST AMONG EQUALS” PART 4 Rogue archaeologist DOCTOR APHRA continues her race against time – and total bodily explosion – with only professional murder droid TRIPLE-ZERO for company. Facing firing squads, harpoon-flinging reptiles and – worst of all – really bad traffic, they have no idea they’re being watched by the deadliest Imperial threat of all: The Coalition for Progress! Face the unmitigated terror of the EMPIRE’S public relations division…

The Story;

Part four of ‘Worst Among Equals’ opens on an Imperial propaganda ship, with a mysterious, hooded lady speaking to Imperial officers. They are monitoring the populace of the planet Milvayne, to see how they are reacting to the issue of Doctor Aphra and Triple Zero.

Down on the planet, Aphra and Triple Zero (who has no legs and is on Aphra’s back) are faced against Tam Posla and the local enforcement, who have the two on the edge of a pathway. To help distract them, Aphra mentions that Tam is not actually an officer anymore, that he was fired. Realising this, the law enforcement turn their weapons onto Tam, resulting in chaos, chaos that allows Aphra and Triple Zero to run. We then see (and continue to see through the issue) the reactions of the populace as they watch, as well as the mysterious Imperial lady.

Noticing a repair rig, the two set down so Aphra can reattach the droid’s legs. Once done, Triple Zero saves Aphra from a flying spear that was thrown by Nokk. The two then start to travel through the city traffic, high in the air. Triple Zero quickly becomes distracted by Beetee, who is nearby. The astromech is a trap, and Aphra and Triple Zero soon find themselves captured by the bounty hunters, Nokk and Winloss.

Back on the Imperial ship, the lady is not happy with the dissent that is infecting the populace, particularly as the planet is supposed to be an example to others. The ship fires its rail gun on the planet, causing the transport with Aphra and Triple-Zero to start falling to the planet’s surface.

The Review;

There are times when I am reading a comic and I just know I’m in the middle of an incredible story. This is that sort of comic. It is a rollercoaster of an issue that never lets up and has so many different aspects to it, I’m not even sure where to begin!

The start of the issue introduces us to an Imperial propaganda ship. The design is well thought out, a modified Imperial assault carrier. These ships were seen most prevalent in Star Wars Rebels, and the modified design works really well. We then see insight into how the Empire controls a lot of the worlds under its control. I don’t think we’ve really seen this before, at least not in the new canon and it adds a fascinating aspect to the machinations of the Empire. The ship has “Lobot’esque” characters on board, who help to monitor what is happening on the planet below. Again, I like how this incorporates something we already know, with something new. It connects the galaxy and expands it at the same time.

We are also introduced to a new Imperial, or at least who I’m presuming is an Imperial, the mysterious, hooded lady. My first thought when I saw her, was of the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back. The way she acts within the issue also has an Emperor vibe, which works very well. The whole mystery of who she is adds another layer to this story; I really hope we see more of her in future issues.

My favourite aspect of this issue was the audience. Spurrier has done an incredible job to be able to set this issue out as he has. To have the reactions of the planet follow us through adds another dimension to the story. Their reactions become our reactions. This is then thrown up against the wonderful counter point of Triple Zero, who brings such wonderful humour to the issue, that I don’t think I’ve laughed so much with a comic before. It all blends together so perfectly. I don’t think in another series it would work, but with Doctor Aphra it’s a match made in heaven.

Triple Zero still steals the show for me. His humorous (although to him very serious) comments are written with such perfect skill. Not only that, but the emotional side that he criticises Aphra for, is shown yet again. Beetee is his weak point, and it shows that Triple Zero is more than just a murderous machine, yet he can’t see it. I feel that this is being shown so much that this will have a big impact on the finale of the story.

This issue starts slow and quickly works up to a speed that doesn’t let you stop. This has got to be one of the best issues of Doctor Aphra that I’ve read. So much is covered that you feel that you’ve been on a cinematic adventure. The art is incredible and brings you along for the wonderful ride that Spurrier has scripted. There is mystery, there is humour and there is lots of action. From a series that was very inconsistent, to this, is an incredible change and Spurrier and Laiso should be commended for their incredible work. You can see the two have cracked the secret for what makes this series work and I can’t wait for the next comic to show up.

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.