If you thought you’d spent enough quality time on Yavin 4, well you’re not done yet. Marvel’s Doctor Aphra series continues the fascinating, impromptu archaeological dig Aphra and her father set out on. If you’ve been holding out on Aphra, I suggest you jump in now, because the story is really getting going. If you’re hungry for every corner of canon, the third issue of Doctor Aphra will continue to satisfy. SPOILERS AHEAD…
Doctor Aphra and her father have arrived on Yavin 4 in search of the elder’s obsession, the Ordu Aspectu. I’m not going to backtrack and explain to you who the Ordu Aspectu are. If you missed the last issue and are dying to know what happened before this one, I encourage you to try to get your hands on it, or read my review of it. Aphra’s father reveals just how obsessed he’s been with uncovering the mysteries of the Ordu Aspectu when he doesn’t realize why the Empire has set up shop on Yavin 4. The longer the conversation goes on, the more we realize exactly how narrow the bandwidth is on papa Aphra’s attention span. There’s a nice little Rogue One shoutout, as well.
Writer Kieron Gillen is doing a nice job of slowly reintroducing morality to Aphra. Up until the end of the Vader series, Aphra was a pretty aloof character. There was certainly no doubt about who she would ally with, especially after her appearance in the “Rebel Jail” arc of Star Wars. That said, I’m really starting to like the character and am happy to see her bouncing back from misguided admiration of a Sith Lord. I don’t mean to make Aphra’s interest in Vader sound ga-ga, or like she was some silly school girl. That could not be further from the truth. Doctor Aphra is very intelligent, capable, and deadly. It’s pretty obvious to me how she survived the dissolution of her tenure with Darth Vader and the Empire, not to mention faking her own death. As you hear Aphra talk about the Death Star and the havoc it inflicted on so many, you get the sense she’d much rather be somewhere in the middle.
Well, hello there, latest Imperial commander we are going to love to hate. Meet Captain Tolvan, who is one of the more unique looking officers we’ve met. We don’t get to see a lot of her in this issue, so we’ll all have to hold our breaths on the story behind that very cybernetic looking armor covering her neck, and I’m assuming, the rest of her body. Again, we don’t see much of Tolvan in this issue, but you’ll learn she is an officer that does not mind getting her hands dirty. Oh yeah, and her eyes are gray. Not grayish, gray. So there’s that, too.
Tolvan detects Aphra’s presence and sends a patrol of speeders to investigate. While the Empire may have speeders and blasters, they don’t have Black Krrsantan. The Wookie provides a distraction, luring in the patrols and taking them out with little problem. Not only does he take these out, he manages to get Captain Tolvan and the bulk of her guards to come after him. Black Krrsantan is my least favorite character in Doctor Aphra, but I’m glad he is serving the story well here. I know that I’m known throughout the galaxy for my Wookie bashing, so I’m trying to look at the glass half-full when it comes to our friend Black Krrsantan.
As Black Krrsantan draws the bucket heads away, Triple Zero and BeeTee manage to make their way into the abandoned Rebel base. I thought it was cool to get a look at a very important location in Star Wars history a while after it had been abandoned. I would love to hear that story about the Rebels rushing to get off Yavin 4 before the Imperial Fleet arrives. They make their way through the Massassi Temple, to find a good point for the Aphras to enter.
Well, the Empire has more than bucket heads. Things aren’t looking so good for Black Krrsantan. I bet he gets out of it though. This Wookie seems to be along for the ride. I hope they don’t kill him, I’m just starting warm up to this fuzzball. Murderous fuzzball, I guess.
The Aphras get into the temple and arrive in this chamber. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve been pouring over my recently arrived Star Wars Galactic Maps, but this sure looks like a star chart. Father Aprha has some crystals that are to be placed in the corresponding indentations. Each of the crystals is shaped like a temple, so they have to match up. I know, I know…so that makes this a map of Yavin 4, but I still think some sort of star map is going to come into play.
Well, that sure is a hell of a last page. Looks like father Aphra got the crystals to work. Am I the only one that is getting a major Indiana Jones vibe from this. That’s not a complaint or criticism, rather a nice way of introducing this mysterious event on Yavin 4. This is where the issue ends and we are left wondering what questions will be answered in the next issue, as this one leaves us with a few.
I continue to be pleased with Kieron Gillen’s writing. He’s doing a great job of giving us just enough information, while at the same time raising the intrigue. I’m very excited to see how this ends, mostly because I’m enjoying the ride so much. We are going to be given more insight into the ancient Jedi, as well as learn about an order steeped in the dark side. Not much of that is touched on in this issue, but my guess is the Aphra’s woke something up. We shall see.