In the bowels of an abandoned Rebel base, the Great Massassi Temple on Yavin 4, the Aphras have stumbled upon the location to an ancient citadel in connection to the mysterious Ordu Aspectu. But with the Imperials having now occupied the area in the wake of the Rebel exodus, can Aphra and crew make it off of the jungle moon alive?
Of all of the Marvel series currently in print, Doctor Aphra continues to be my favorite. I have been a big fan of Kieron Gillen since his work in the X-Men franchise and his current ongoing series with Image comics, The Wicked + The Divine, is a breath of fresh air in an industry largely controlled by spandex-clad super beings. As a follow up to his stellar run on Darth Vader, Gillen continues to impress with his ability to tell great stories in the Darth Vader spin-off Doctor Aphra.
Issue #4 of Doctor Aphra graces your local comic shop with its presence this week and for those who have become enthralled by this surprisingly intriguing story, the most recent issue in the series does not disappoint.
Having been blackmailed by her own father into helping him track down the source of his life’s work on an ancient mysterious order connected to the Force (the Ordu Aspectu), the Aphras – along with the murderous droids Beetee and Triple Zero and Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan – have unlocked an ancient secret in the depths of the Great Temple – the location of the long-forgotten Citadel of Rur.
Hot on their tails is Imperial Captain Tolvan and her regiment of troops, suspecting Aphra and crew to be a group of Rebels who have returned to secure something left behind during their hasty evacuation. Tolvan was sent to the jungle moon as a form of punishment for her failure to maintain proper security on Eadu when the Rebels attacked the facility prior to their assault on Scarif to secure the Death Star plans.
Hell-bent on securing her own redemption as an Imperial officer, Tolvan dispatches a squadron of stormtroopers and an AT-AT to put an end to the Rebel insurgents. But when Black Krrsantan arrives on the Ark Angel to rescue the team, Tolvan loses her quarry to the sanctuary of hyperspace. Determined to not allow this hiccup to be yet another mark against her record, she prepares her shuttle for launch.
As Aphra and company exit hyperspace, they arrive in what appears to be an asteroid field. Ahead of them is a particularly monstrous meteor with a Citadel built upon its desolate crags. Entering the Citadel, it finally hits them that this place is the real deal – as evidenced by the skeletal remains of what appear to be ancient Jedi amongst the ruins.
Who were the Ordu Aspectu? What is their connection to the Jedi? To the Sith? In the aftermath of another great issue in what has been a fantastic series so far – I am more excited than ever for the next one. As this story arc wraps in the next couple of issues, I fully expect that some answers are forthcoming sooner rather than later.
While Kev Walker’s more cartoony artwork is not my favorite among the artists involved with Marvel’s Star Wars, his style compliments the frantic pace of the story and the rebellious demeanor of its main character quite well. This comic is just a fun ride, and I feel like any complaints would be nitpicking at this juncture. There wasn’t a great deal of character development here as this issue was more action-oriented, but we were given a nice glimpse into the motivations behind the antagonist which more than made up for that.
The promise of digging even deeper into ancient lore of the Star Wars universe continues to entice. As long as Gillen can deliver on the promises he has made so far, it will all be well worth it in the end. I strongly recommend jumping on board with this series or at least checking out the collected trade paperback when it comes out in July. If you are eager to jump in, you can pick up the first four printed issues in your local comic shop or digitally at Comixology.