“WORST AMONG EQUALS” PART 5: PUBLIC RELATIONS DISASTER!
DOCTOR APHRA’s race across an alien city continues, pursued by innumerable enemies – not least the EMPIRE’S villainous propaganda division. But with the timer ticking down on the bomb in her throat, the truest horror might come from some unscheduled soul-searching. Could it be that her psychotic droid companion TRIPLE-ZERO is the closest thing she has (or deserves) to a true soulmate?
Aphra wakes on Milvayne, after the explosive ending of the last issue. She finds that Captain Okma, of Imperial Propaganda, giving her a way out: tell the viewers of Milvayne that she believes in the law and the Imperials will destroy Triple Zero, deactivate the bombs and she gets to live. In true Aphra fashion, she instead activates a seismic pulse, which she installed in Triple Zero when she was repairing him.
The blast knocks her out for three hours, after which, she awakes to find that Triple Zero has mutilated the Imperials. Aphra also finds that she can’t use her legs as a result of the pulse. The droid was able to torture some information out of Okma, which he shows her: Tolvan, alive, turned Rebel. The audience, who are still watching, get to see Tolvan’s face, making Aphra realise that the woman she loves will be forever hunted by the Empire. She begins to cry and realises that Triple Zero was right; the two of them are the same.
Aphra then gives the droid his memories back, as she doesn’t want to owe him anything. Before Triple Zero has had time to process the memories, Winloss and Nokk show up, ready for blood. However, even with blasters pointed at Aphra, they realise that Aphra is pathetic and any revenge can’t be as bad as what Aphra is doing to herself.
Triple Zero processes his memories, to find his creator. What he finds is that he was a reject, an accident, a fluke. Not very happy, Triple Zero goes off for a walk, leaving Aphra (who still can’t use her legs) and the distance between the bombs expanding…
Last week was an incredible issue, the epitome of Doctor Aphra. This issue is very different and I think Spurrier makes a very sensible decision to not try and top the previous comic, but instead calm things down. The word used in the comic is an ‘intermission’ and I think that perfectly sums up what this issue is.
How Spurrier is able to keep things new and fresh always surprises me but he always finds a way. In this issue there are little descriptions for each character, very tongue in cheek. I found these utterly hilarious and in keeping with Doctor Aphra. They are very well written and remind me of Tom Hodge’s Trainspotting piece that he did for Celebration Europe.
Also in the first few panels, the art of Laiso draws you in. The grand panels that cover an entire page are used quite a bit in this issue, to full effect. At the start of the comic they got my attention and then the care and detail for the panel when Triple Zero gets his memory back is incredible. It’s a feast for the eyes that takes a lot of time to devour.
This issue looks again at the emotions of our two main characters: Triple Zero and Aphra. It is Aphra who finally admits that the two are alike. Yet it’s the emotions of Triple Zero that, for me, are the real driving force of this story arc. He finally gets his memory back and is disappointed. As Aphra points out, his feelings are perfectly human. And that’s where this all seems to be leading. Triple Zero, droid though he is, acts very human in a lot of ways. How far this will be taken, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m really enjoying the development of this droid. He’s far more than I think even he knows and I have a feeling Spurrier has something profound to deliver in future issues.
We also see Spurrier laying the ground work for the next issue or story arcs, with the revelation to Aphra that Tolvan is alive. Whether she actually has turned Rebel, I can’t decide, but it adds another dimension that is ripe for exploiting in future issues. I think Aphra has needed a break from the romantic drama, but I like that it hasn’t been forgotten as this was one of the most ‘real’ relationships in Star Wars comics. The will they, won’t they played out almost like a series of Friends! To know that it will soon resume (or at least I’m hoping it will!) pleases me greatly.
This has been a great issue but a very different issue. There has been little action and yet an awful lot of character development. We see Triple Zero’s past as well as Tolvan returning. It might be a completely different pace to what the rest of the story arc has been, but I also think it was needed. We needed some down time with these characters to really allow them to develop and I’m glad Spurrier has let them. The next issue promises to accelerate again and I can’t wait to see how this arc will end. I have been thinking recently that this series must surely be coming to an end, yet with such good writing and the art being vastly improved from previous issues, I’m not sure if an end is even in sight anymore…
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.