Jordan’s Review of Marvel’s ‘Star Wars: Doctor Aphra’ #1
Marvel rolled out another brand-new ongoing series this week, with Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, writer Kieron Gillen’s sequel/spin-off to his highly acclaimed Darth Vader series. In this series, Aphra, a rogue archeologist who had previously been under the employee of the Sith Lord since issue #3 of Darth Vader, takes center stage after faking her own death in the final issue of the series. Read on for my review of issue #1 of the doctor’s very own series. Spoilers ahead…
Doctor Aphra is a character that has been somewhat devisive among fans of the Darth Vader comic. I happen to be in the camp that finds her character likeable and entertaining, as I felt she added much needed levity to what would otherwise have been a very dark and serious story. I always thought that her easy-going approach to life, her incessant vocalizations, and her cocky attitude really brought balance to the series, as these traits were juxtaposed with the opposing traits of the dark lord himself.
If you enjoyed Dr. Aphra in Darth Vader, then you’ll probably enjoy her in this series as well, and I would say that the opposite is also true. The refreshing thing about this first issue though, is that although the character is the same one we’ve all grown to love (or hate), we leave this issue knowing way more about her than we ever did before, as we learn a great deal about her history and her life before her encounter with Darth Vader.
I feel like I learned more about Aphra in this one issue alone than I did in the entire series of Darth Vader and that can only mean promising things about the future of the series. One thing I know many fans will be excited about, is definitely the supporting cast of this comic book. Yeah, it’s about Aphra, but it really has the potential to get into “team-book” territory as Aphra finds herself surrounded by fan-favorite characters Triple-Zero and Beetee (two murderous droids that are very much the antithesis of Threepio and Artoo) and the Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan, who all made their debut in Darth Vader as well.
In this first issue, Aphra obtains a valuable artifact that she attempts to sell in order to settle her debt with an organization that had previously fronted her some money, only to find out that her doctorate had been revoked. Without her credentials, she is unable to sell the artifact, which is virtually worthless on the black market. Down and out, and unable to pay off her lenders, she soon discovers that the person who brought her doctorate into question is actually her own father!
This revelation is where the issue ends, followed by a short prelude that shows Aphra in her school days, revealing the not-so-honest way that she obtained her doctorate in the first place. There are a lot of positive things about this issue, and the series definitely has some promise. Gillen has shown himself to be a good writer over the years and to his credit this is a well-written series debut. The new art direction is also nice as Kev Walker invokes a more playful and relaxed tone than what Larroca brought to the Vader series.
So far, the tone of this series seems to match its intent, with just the right amount of humor and snappy dialogue paired with light action and solid character development. If I had to describe this issue in one word it would be simply this: fun. I had a lot of fun reading this issue. If you like to see Aphra’s droids being their usual murderous selves, or if you just want to see who would win in a Wookiee/Gigoran fight, than you should at least give this first issue a go.
The best thing about this series is that it is very different from any other Star Wars material currently being produced. There are a lot of options for fans out there right now, especially in the comic world – but if you’re looking for something fun and light-hearted that doesn’t necessarily impact the larger story in any significant ways, this may be the book for you.
Another positive thing about Aphra is that she is not connected to any other Star Wars stories at the moment, so Gillen could take the character virtually anywhere he wants to go. Do we really need this series? Not really. Is it a must read? I wouldn’t say that. Did it offer up any revelations that completely change the way I view Star Wars moving forward? Not at all. Will I be picking up issue #2? Most definitely.
A solid debut to a brand-new ongoing series that offers readers a lot of fun while showing promise of things to come, I give Doctor Aphra #1 a 4 out of 5.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go feed the Sarlaac…
Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he’s not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.