A Bumpy Road In Marvel’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #15
Well, back to the world of Star Wars comics. This week we rejoin Doctor Aphra who is getting into all sorts of trouble. Aphra is still stuck working under the awful Triple Zero. By holding the specter of Darth Vader over Aphra, Triple Zero is getting her to do the dirty work. And Aphra’s hands are getting dirty. SPOILERS AHEAD….
Well, it looks like Lieutenant Tolvan has herself a crush on none other than Doctor Aphra. There was some light flirting in the previous issue, but I’d say this dream of Tolvan’s that opens the issue confirms she’s got some warm feelings underneath her cold, Imperial uniform. Tolvan, who we last saw stunned by Aphra’s blaster, awakens in a cell and we learn she is about to be executed because the doctor bested her at the Imperial facility on Someilk.
While Triple Zero is in the midst of torturing someone, he contacts Aphra via the Rexa’s Lobot-Tech gear, just to check in on the deadly mission he’s sent her on she knows nothing about. In case you’re just tuning in to Doctor Aphra, Triple Zero has taken over the criminal organization Son-Tuul Pride and has brought the good doctor back into the fold. Triple Zero is sending her to their ship to start the journey and it’s pretty clear there’s no love lost between these characters. Personally, I’m ready for these droids to be dismantled. Triple Zero even says how unbelievable it is to have droid running a criminal organization. My hope is that Aphra dispatches with Triple Zero as soon as she gets a chance.
Here’s where the issue takes it’s Mission: Impossible turn. The above frame is a collection of mercenaries Triple Zero hired to assist Aphra in this “secret” mission. It’s a nice collection of new characters and we get a brief introduction to each one. You can tell artist Emilio Laiso had fun with this. I thought the artwork on this issue was great and this was one of my favorites.
It seems like a solid team. I mean, if I were going to hire a bunch of mercenaries to go on a mission, all of the above would be a nice crew to have. There’s a catch, though. The ship can’t accommodate that much weight, so Aphra has to pick someone to leave behind. Just as Triple Zero chimes in to let her know he’s been listening to every word she says through the Lobot-Tech, and that she better make her choice. Stormtroopers have tracked Aphra’s stolen ship and quickly surround it.
Meanwhile, in another corner of the galaxy, Lieutenant Tolvan is about to face a firing squad. The Empire has a pretty rigid “three-strikes and you’re out” policy for it’s lower officers. Since Tolvan’s demotion, she’s managed to rack up three, the third relating to Aphra’s intrusion in the previous issue. Even as she’s backed up against a wall, preparing for death, she critiques the Stormtroopers. I think Tolvan is a great character so far and it should be a lot of fun to watch her chase Aphra around the galaxy. Her Aphra crush aside, I think she really does want to take down the doctor. I’m looking forward to learning more of her story. She’s had a rough time with the Empire, since she was on Eadu and responsible for it’s security during the Rebel attack we witnessed in Rogue One, which started the spin-out of her career. Also, keep in mind she doesn’t actually know who Aphra is, since Aphra gave her a decoy name in previous issue.
Just in the nick of time, an Imperial messenger shows up, announcing that Tolvan’s mentor, the late Inspector Thanoth had given her a promotion before he was killed by Vader. Because of the attack on Scarif, a lot of Imperial data was scattered, and that’s why her promotion was just delivered. It spares Tolvan’s life because the rank of Inspectorate allows an officer four demerits, so in a way, she still has one life left. Tolvan quickly turns the table on her executioner and sends him to his third demerit.
Aphra made her choice: Viscount Rabael Dir Glorio, an Alderaanian royal heir who was so eager to avenge his own planet he jumped out of the ship and took out all the Stormtroopers himself. I’m actually kind of bummed she picked him. It would have been interesting to learn a little bit more about his Alderaanian royal ties (claims to be 26th in line to the throne), but I wouldn’t exactly see he and Aphra jiving. After they leave him to all the Imperial reinforcements arriving, Aphra and her team make their way to Skako Minor, home world of the Techno Union.
The mission is slightly explained. They are on Skako Minor to retrieve something from Wat Tambor’s workshop that Triple Zero wants. It’s interesting to see what the Skakoan’s look like without their gear on. The air is toxic to everyone else, but they trudge along through the planet. As they walk, the Skakoan laments on what could have been of the Clone Wars if the Separatists had listened to the late Wat Tambor. He’s convinced the Separatists would have won and there would be no Empire. I wonder if anyone ever figured out Darth Sidious played both sides. That would be an interesting story, the lone person that discovers Palpatine pulled the strings of the entire war.
The Skakoan, despite his anti-Imperial sentiments, sold out Aphra and company to the Empire.
Well, that’s nothing Doctor Aphra’s exploding Lothcat won’t fix! Yes, Doctor Aphra introduces us to a seemingly artificial Lothcat at the beginning of the issue. I see it served it’s purpose.
Back to Tolvan, she has decided to go looking for more information on who Aphra is. She describes the archaeologist in great detail, but when the Imperial database tracks down the file, she finds the file restricted by an unusual directive she’s never heard of. She opens the late Inspector Thanoth’s files and searches for the directive, only to find a video log stating the person he’s investigating is the only one who has the authority to use such a directive to classify information. Tolvan sees the entry and was recorded right before his death and then she goes to see who he was assigned to at the time of his death.
Well, it looks like Tolvan has some difficult choices to make. Does she keep digging to find out more, risking her own life? Remember, the only reason Vader killed Thanoth was to eliminate loose-ends. Also, this tells Tolvan that Aphra is somehow affiliated with Vader. Should she dive down that rabbit hole?
I enjoyed this issue. I think this arc is off to a great start. I love the caper/Mission: Impossible feel they’ve given Aphra. It should be interesting to see how the team dynamic changes. Writers Kieron Gillen and Is Spurrier did a good job of juggling the story, locations, and characters. The artwork by Emilio Laiso and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg is solid, as well. In the past, I haven’t been crazy about Doctor Aphra art, but this was very good. I’m happy that this series has bounced back from the tedious arc before this one.