If your eyes aren’t too terribly strained from the dozens of times you’ve no doubt viewed The Last Jedi trailer (which was fantastic, in my opinion), Marvel put out a great issue of Doctor Aphra this week. I haven’t been too crazy about the last few issues, but this issue reminded me why Aphra is one of my favorite new characters in the Star Wars Universe. SPOILERS AHEAD…
Since the series began, Aphra has been entangled with the Ordu Aspectu, whose convoluted history has them being an ancient adversary of the Jedi. The Ordu Aspectu consider the Jedi to be an oppressive force in the galaxy and they feel they were victims of Jedi conquest. In Aphra’s understanding, the Ordu Aspectu were no victims, but were stopped by the Jedi after their capture and torture of several Padawans to prolong their life. In the last issue, Darth Vader was introduced to the droid the consciousness of the last Ordu Aspectu inhabits. It’s going about as well as could be expected.
After faking her own death to escape the Sith Lord, Aphra is by no means calm when Vader shows up. He’s the last person she wants to see, and she’s only concerned with getting away at this point. Any shred of hope she had to pull off her auction of the crystal containing the Ordu Aspectu is gone. It’s full survival mode for Aphra in this issue. I’m not implying that she’s terrified, but Aphra is taking the wisecracks down a couple notches in favor of her skills with a blaster and smarts for tactical thinking.
Since Vader has also been accompanied by a platoon of stormtroopers that are lighting up the place with blasters, Aphra chooses a not quite human shield. Yes, Aphra gets herself a Hutt shield in Sutha the Hutt. Unfortunately, for Sutha and most of Aphra’s potential buyers, these stormtroopers are a pretty good shot.
Yonak, Rodian leader of the criminal organization Son-tuul Pride, meets an even worse fate than death. Upon his escape, he discovers Triple Zero and BeeTee have stowed away on his ship, and they are in “need” of a new crew member. It looks like Yonak is going to be at the mercy of the two most diabolical droids in the galaxy.
Vader is having no trouble taking down this mechanical manifestation of the Ordu Aspectu. One thing I forgot to mention earlier is the Ordu Aspectu is familiar with the Sith and refers to Vader as a fake Sith. So the Ordu Aspectu must have come after the war between the Sith and the Jedi, which is interesting, since the Ordu Aspectu’s goal was immortality. My apologies for the tangent I’m about to go on here, but I’m of the mind Supreme Leader Snoke is NOT Darth Plagueis, but I do think we are about due for a canonical introduction of that Sith Lord. It would be interesting to somehow connect his lineage to the Ordu Aspectu, as I’d love to learn more about their rise and fall, and it would be cool if they were somehow connected to the Sith. Just in case Pablo or any of the Story Group is reading, I think that’d make a great novel or comic. Oh yeah, and have James Luceno or Claudia Gray write it. Please and thank you. Okay, back to Aphra.
One thing Darth Vader sure has a knack for is taking out sentient beings who declare they only become more powerful once they are unbound from the physical world. While that’s certainly true for Obi-Wan Kenobi, it appears to be less so for the Ordu Aspectu, as the only ability it gains from disembodiment is the ability to hack computers. While that may not be “one-with-the-Force” level ability, it does give the Ordu Aspectu control of all the weapons onboard. The Ordu Aspectu also attempts to hack Vader’s suit.
Aphra is making her way towards her ship, slowly but surely. She’s not waiting for the droids or Black Krrsantan this time, either. Doctor Aphra is on her own and she seems to be doing just fine with that. I always thought her affiliations were a bit peculiar, so I’m hoping we get some more issues just focused on her adventures.
The Ordu Aspectu’s hacking abilities didn’t last long against Vader. Just like Death Stars, technological terrors are no match for the power of the Force. Vader rounds up the artifact and prepares to clean-up the rest of Aphra’s party. As we know from previous situations like this, the Dark Lord likes to leave behind no survivors. Before Vader goes and just as Aphra is about to depart, he senses her presence.
Here’s another one of my arguments for LESS Vader. After sensing Aphra’s presence, Vader pretty much lets her get away. Granted, he’s pretty pleased with himself over his acquisition of the Ordu Aspectu, but this leniency over someone who knows some pretty serious stuff about him doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It actually runs against everything we are accustomed to in a Sith Lord who is at the peak of his evil reign. Maybe it’s a minor complaint, but I will continue to lobby for less Darth Vader. When it comes to Sith Lords like him, less is more.
In a very Indiana Jones turn, Aphra returns the artifacts to a museum, as well as the Shadow Academy who approached her about the Ordu Aspectu artifact in an earlier issue. I hope this is the direction Doctor Aphra goes moving forward. It would be a lot of fun to see her exploring the galaxy in search of ancient artifacts. This would be a great way of expanding the Star Wars Universe, as well as making some Legends stories canonical. I’m relieved she seems to have found somewhat of a happy ending and can regroup before her next adventure.
While Aphra found her own happy ending, Black Krrsantan and the droids reached their own. Krrsantan has returned to the slavers who forced him to fight for his life and is about to give them a dose of their own medicine. Triple Zero and BeeTee are in the process of wiping out any criminal organizations that would compete with their new acquisition, the Son-tuul Pride. I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of them, though.
Vader returns to Coruscant to present the gift to Darth Sidious himself. The Emperor is pleased, but I don’t think he’s quite as excited as Vader thought he would be. As we know from the Lando series, Sheev Palpatine has quite the collection of Force artifacts. The Ordu Aspectu is just another ornament in his collection.
I like that the Ordu Aspectu are still out there. I hope we get more information about them, as well as what fate the Sith decide for them now that they are deep in their archive. There’s a lot of potential and I hope the Story Group has something in mind for a later date.
And of course, Doctor Aphra never gets to catch her breath for very long.
Writer Kieron Gillen tied this “Enormous Profit” arc up nicely! This issue certainly renewed my interest in the series. It’s not that I disliked the series as a whole, it just felt like it kept getting smaller in scale as the minutia of the auction clogged up the pages. I hope they go big in the next arc. A character as intelligent and fun as Doctor Aphra deserves a grand adventure, and judging by the next cover, she’s going to be reunited with an Imperial commander I thought disappeared far too soon.
8 OUT OF 10 STARS