Running Down The Countdown In Marvel's Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #27 - Star Wars News Net | Star Wars News Net
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Running Down The Countdown In Marvel’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #27

If the cold weather, short days, and no Star Wars movie this December has got you down the always fun Doctor Aphra should perk up those fandom spirits. The doctor is still tethered to psycho-droid Triple Zero as they try to stay alive for the amusement of Cornelius Evazan, who has forced the duo to become inseparable; otherwise, an explosive charge implanted in each of their bodies will detonate. If that wasn’t already a crazy enough situation, they are about to get an unexpected visitor. SPOILERS AHEAD….

 

 

Nokk and Winloss are back! If you forgot about them, they are two trophy hunters we met in Doctor Aphra Annual #2I hoped we’d catch up with them again and here they are. Their history with Aphra doesn’t go back too far – though she did deceive them into a pretty crazy scenario to kill a giant creature she was hiding in while retrieving a hidden treasure. I linked to our review above if you’d like to learn more about these two or reacquaint yourself on their history with Aphra. They are making their way dubiously to meet a new client of claimed ‘royal’ lineage. Winloss is just excited for a good job, while Nokk has her guard up.

 

 

Don’t get too excited (like I did). This isn’t Leia Organa, it’s just Evazan using his shape-shifter mask to try and wow Winloss with the prospect of getting in good with royalty. Nokk sees right through this, mentioning the smell of beer and a male voice that would indicate it’s not Leia. Evazan never comes clean, but as soon as Nokk and Winloss see that hunting down Triple Zero would get them a chance at taking down Aphra, they are in. It should be noted that they aren’t interested in killing Triple Zero and actually object to the contract when first presented with it. However, they are ready to kill Aphra and spare Triple Zero, only to disable him and bring him to Evazan. Aphra sure does have an effect on people.

 

 

While Triple Zero makes threats to Cornelius, Aphra is working on a way to disarm the explosive devices that bind the two of them. They have less than ten-hours to figure it out. I know the “countdown” plot device is not new, but I’m a huge sucker for a ticking clock during an action story like this. I love the element of suspense it adds, though the people in the crosshairs of the hourglass usually escape with their lives. In the previous issue, they’d encountered a cyberneticist that could disarm them until Triple Zero dispatched him. Luckily, Aphra caught the name of his mentor, Professor Prexo, and he’s capable of disarming the explosive. The only problem is he’s on the other side of the Milvayne, the city they are stuck in.

 

 

We get a pretty dark glimpse into the swift, totalitarian justice system of a government that might even be considered rigid by Imperial standards. Aphra and Triple Zero overlook a trial where a group of people are found guilty, sentenced to death, and then tossed off the ledge of a high building immediately. Triple Zero seems to admire their brutal justice, until he sees it carried out against a group of droids who are found guilty of being defective. Weakness and deficiency are capital crimes in Milvayne. It’s interesting to get a glimpse of a world that was probably thrilled when Emperor Palpatine took control of the galaxy so their own oppressive tactics could be emboldened. Disturbing stuff.

 

 

Things get dicey when Aphra and Triple Zero try to hitch a ride on public transportation. A group of drones assesses Triple Zero as weak and defective, so it’s down the drain for him. Since he and Aphra have to remain in the same proximity, Aphra snatches a blaster from the driver of said public transportation and leaps off the ledge Triple Zero was just tossed from. Her fall abruptly ends in the net of a trapper, filled with droid remains and garbage. The trapper is a young woman who wants to sell Triple Zero for water and proposes to Aphra that she will trade the doctor to cannibals. Under the surface of Milvayne, it’s a dark world.

 

 

Meet Vulaada Klam and her trusty steed, Gurtyl. Klam’s been living in this underworld, scraping by with trading junk for food and water (sound familiar?). Aphra learns through a pair of heat sensitive goggles that there are millions of people scraping by under the bright lights of the metropolis above. Aphra makes a secret deal with Klam that if she can get her and Triple Zero to the other side of the city to Professor Prexo, she’ll let Klam trade Triple Zero. As they start to mount Gurtyl for their ride, Triple Zero lets Aphra know he heard the exchange and points out Aphra’s malleable morality to survive will either cost Triple Zero his life or keep Klam hungry. Basically, the psychotic droid puts a mirror of morality in front of Aphra.

 

I’ve waxed many a paragraph about Aphra’s evolving morality. It’s been very push-and-pull, especially right now, as she’s about to use a hungry, poverty-stricken child to save herself. I don’t have any rationalization for that, other than it’s a rough galaxy, and Aphra’s in a desperate situation. This set-up seems pretty grim on the winding journey I proposed Aphra would make that would eventually land her in the corner of the Rebel Alliance. I still believe that Aphra will find her way and be a huge part of the Rebellion, but I don’t think it’s going to be a pretty journey. This moment is a good example.

 

 

We learn a bit more about how Klam came to Milvayne. Interestingly, her parents were fleeing her home planet once the Rebellion took control of it. She comes from a very law and order family, so naturally, they viewed Milvayne as the embodiment of a perfect home. As you can see, minor transgressions cost her parents their lives. Klam was thrown off the same ledge they were, but she landed in the net she used to catch Aphra with and has been surviving in the underworld ever since. I dunno, I could see Klam and Aphra making quite a team, but I’ll wait and see what happens. I really don’t know how I’m going to be able to forgive Aphra if she betrays this kid.

 

 

Apparently, no one dies in Doctor Aphra, because not only has Tam Posla been resurrected – he’s been resurrected by the Force fungus, hookspores, also believed to be destroyed in the Accresker Jail finale. The hookspores have possessed Tam, but I’m sure there’s some essence of the being who wants badly to avenge his partner and has unfinished business with Cornelius Evazan. The worst part is…

 

 

…BeeTee survived! Just when I thought we were almost done with these droids, they are both back at the forefront of this story. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I hate these stupid droids!

 

I felt this was a solid issue of Doctor AphraAphra issues can get kind of scattered sometimes because there is so much going on, but I felt like writer Simon Spurrier kept the story focused. I’m very happy that Winloss and N0kk will be joining the hunt for Aphra. The art by Emilio Laiso and Rachelle Rosenberg was great and served a nice contrast to the flashy first issue with this setting of the underworld on Milvayne. This arc is off to a promising start and, as usual, each issue of Doctor Aphra is a lot of fun. I still have faith in this character to do the right thing, but I don’t doubt the journey will have its casualties along the way. Doctor Aphra remains one of my favorite characters and I’m happy this series continues to impress and surprise me.

 

RATING: 7.5/10

 

 

 

Kyle Larson lives in Portland, Oregon. When he’s not running trails, he’s reading and writing.

 

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