08th May2020

‘Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Alyssa Wong | Art by Marika Cresta | Published by Marvel Comics

Star Wars has always fared well in comic book form, even more so than you would expect from the natural overlap between comics and science fiction movies. If there’s something that comic book fans love it’s continuity, world building, and mythology, and Star Wars has all those in spades. George Lucas created a story with the original Star Wars movie where he referenced a lot but actually showed very little, leaving literally a Galaxy to explore and tell stories with for everyone that came after. Dark Horse especially did a great job developing a Star Wars universe of books, most of which were top reads, and Disney, when they bought Star Wars, swept them all out of continuity so they could essentially start over with new Marvel books.

Doctor Aphra is another of those books in the grand tradition of filling in missing bits of the mythology. This issue kick starts a second run for the character, which takes place continuity wise between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, while the first 4o issue run took place between Star Wars and Empire. If you are not familiar with Dr. Aphra, imagine a female Indiana Jones, and the Empire as the Nazis. She’s a darker character than Luke, but has most in common, naturally I suppose, with Han Solo. Her companions include droids Triple-Zero and Bee-Tee One. If Disney+ hadn’t made The Mandalorian first, this would have made a great episodic show.

So, the Battle of Hoth has ended and the Empire are in control of the rebel base there. As the Empire mop things up, a motley crew of renegades are also there trying to grab what they can. Dr. Aphra and gang kill some Ice Troopers, fight amongst themselves, steal some stuff, and make a quick getaway from an AT-AT. It seems the past year has been pretty tough on Aphra and her crew, as Darth Vader and the Empire have put a bounty on her head, and no one is looking to hire her or deal with her. Shady business deals only are the order of the day. Luckily for the good Dr., a deal has pretty much landed at her feet. A young grad student is looking to find some mythical artifacts, the Rings of Vaale, which supposedly grant the wearer eternal life. More importantly, they’d be worth a fortune. The only complication? Aphra knows the person she has to meet with, Dr. Eustacia Okka, not someone who wants to see her again.

Which is true at first, but when some thugs attack Okka, on the orders of Ronen Tagge, Aphra and crew are there to help stop them. Tagge belongs to a very wealthy family who own entire planets, and he’s been leaning on Okka to find these rings too. One blaster fight later, an uneasy alliance is former, a sort of Fellowship of the Rings. Ahem. Student Detta gets her thesis, Okka gets recognition for finding such mythical artifacts, and Aphra gets the cash. Game on. First stop, a planet called Dianth, a supposedly cursed and dangerous planet few visit or return from. That’ll be fun then. If that’s not bad enough, spoilt very very very rich kid Tagge is pretty put out at losing Okka and at the new involvement of Aphra. He obviously has no intention to leave the way open for them. Did I mention he’s very rich, and very sadistic….this should be good.

This was a decent enough first issue, without hitting it out of the park. A lot of setup, which you expect, and a degree of exposition, which you also expect. Perhaps not quite enough Aphra, she got lost a little amongst the many coming and going supporting characters, but overall a lighthearted dip in Star Wars mythology. The art grew on me, a little bland perhaps if I’m being harsh, but nice and clean layouts that were easy to follow, and blended with the script well.

A promising start for a fun character, one that has a lot of scope for fun and mayhem in the future.

***½  3.5/5

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 is out now from Marvel Comics.

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