Written by Keron Gillen & Simon Spurrier
Art by Emilio Laiso
Cover by Ashley Witter
Doctor Aphra’s antics are causing mayhem once again…But is she really the one calling the shots?
Doctor Aphra #14 marks the beginning of the new comic arc titled Remastered. When we left our space archaeologist, her merry band of misfits went their separate ways: Triple Zero and BT-1 started their new murderous, criminal empire, Black Krrsantan went on to exact revenge on his former captors and gladiator trainers, and Aphra was enjoying her profit and much needed holiday – that is, until her past deeds caught up with her. Eternal Rur was defeated by Vader and ended up in one of Palpatine’s Sith galleries.
When this issue opens, we visit the Imperial forces on Someilk in the Outer Rim where Magna Tolvan, now demoted to lieutenant after her entanglement with Aphra, suffers through snarky comments from her new superior who finds plenty enjoyment in her misfortune. In another example of new Star Wars synergy, we learn that Magna’s mentor was inspector Thanoth who went toe to toe with Vader, but sacrificed himself for the greater good of the Empire (last seen in 20th issue of the original Darth Vader run).
Her reminiscence is cut short by an attack on the base and, lo and behold, Aphra is leading the charge. Magna reacts quickly, but her new position and her commander’s obvious inexperience do not allow her to take control over the situation.
While trying to steal the ship and help her colleagues, Magna is caught by Aphra who was left as the lookout. While flirting with her, Aphra learns about Magna’s situation and admits that she doesn’t always recognize the mess her escapades cause to other people.
Aphra is contacted by her people and once again spares Magna’s life after admitting that the only reason she didn’t do it before was because she wanted to chat. As Aphra and her people, lead by a character wearing the same cyborg construct as Lobot, are leaving, the archaeologist expresses her surprise that they left the Imperial troops alive. The cyborg – named Rexa – detonates the explosives killing everyone in the installation anyway.
Aphra is shocked and protests that their only goal was to extract Clone War era data, but the cyborg informs her that she just wasn’t aware of all the parameters of the mission. As their ship leaves, we see that Magna is the sole survivor. And she is not happy.
On Son-tuul, Rexa asks Aphra if she wants to lodge a complaint. Aphra confirms and is faced with the leader of the group. It is clear that Aphra didn’t sign on for mass murder, but she doesn’t have any choice – the leader is Triple Zero.
Doctor Aphra has swindled her way across the galaxy, happily cheating and stealing along the way. She even got away from Darth Vader himself, though, in the end he was more interested in pleasing his master than in chasing her. But, now, her past has caught up with her in a major way through the evil she set on the world herself. Not only is she in the clutches of the murder-bots, but she has a very determined Imperial officer on her trail. I have always liked Aphra, her resilience, moxie and dubious morality, but previous few issues started to stretch the credibility. Now, Gillen and his co-writer have decided to take her down a few pegs, because seeing the character build itself up from the bottom is far more interesting than seeing her win all the time. I could feel her dread and that was exciting.
At the same time, although they demoted her, the writers started building up the character of Magna Tolvan who in the past played pretty much as any other Imperial – she was an insufficient foil for Aphra. But, this time, she was shown to be a capable officer, someone who keeps her cool in the face of adversity, and having space Sherlock as your mentor isn’t too shabby either. I wonder what they will do with her in the future: will she be a secondary antagonist to Aphra or will she have to join forces with the unfortunate archaeologist?
We know that the Empire has tolerated the criminal underworld in cases when it benefited them. But, I can see the murder-bots eventually becoming too big for their metal britches and the Empire (and Vader) having to stomp them out. However the situation turns out, you can count on it to be bloody.
If you haven’t checked out Doctor Aphra yet or if you have fallen off, I think this is the good issue to start/return with as it promises an exciting story and character development ahead. It’s a set-up issue, but still entertaining, with decent character beats, some action and an unexpected turn. I really like Laiso’s art and the coloring by Rachelle Rosenberg makes it more dynamic. The design of the new characters is cool; their faces are expressive without being photo-realistic and he conveys their emotional states well through their body language.
Overall, this is a very promising start of the new arc. Hopefully, it will deliver a good story.
Until then, Doctor Aphra #14 gets 7/10 stars.
Doctor Aphra #15
• Rogue archaeologist Doctor Aphra may be in over her head…
• …but at least she’s not alone!
• Er…let’s hope they’re friendly!