Review – A Confluence of Corporate Interests and Imperial Dominance in Marvel’s Doctor Aphra #9


Even in the galaxy far, far away the insatiable appetites of capitalism and imperialism are still as real there as they are in our world. Doctor Aphra and Sana Starros continue to hunt a promised Nihil hyperdrive engine thought lost to the centuries between their time and the High Republic-era. The unique hyperdrive promises to transform transportation across the galaxy and two rival corporations claw their way through anything or anyone to get their hands on it. While corporate interests see how the Nihil technology will help their bottom line, the Empire and a dangerous group of marauders see another way to assert their dominance over the galaxy. And Doctor Aphra and Sana Starros are stuck in the middle. SPOILERS AHEAD….



General Vukorah and the Unbroken Clan are hot on the trail of Aphra and Sana. After tracking them to the planet Dol’har Hyde, the graveyard of a massive High Republic battle we’ve yet to see, the Unbroken Clan left Aphra and Sana buried in the rubble as they set course for a promising new lead. Lots of players in the galaxy are hot to get their hands on this Nihil technology so it will be interesting to see what makes it so rare. If you’re following the High Republic stories right now you know the Nihil are just getting started, which makes it awkward to know their legacy ends in ruins of a the hyperdrive that made them a powerhouse against the Republic and the Jedi.



It’s so nice to see these moments between Aphra and Sana, knowing their history. Though it’s unlikely romance will be rekindled there are other ways to heal from the emotional wounds they share. The symbolism of Aphra healing Sana physically comes through on this journey of them working together for a greater good. After Sana’s well to stand, they make their way back to the local watering hole where they first learned of the ruins. The Unbroken Clan killed everyone and the stark reality of the terror they will cause with a Nihil hyperdrive sets in. Sana emphasizes how important it is to stop them, rather than prioritizing the Tagge’s bidding to protect their finances from a rival corporation hoping to profit from the technology.



Meanwhile, Domina Tagge is put on notice the Empire will no longer be providing lucrative contracts to her family if the rival De’rruyet Industries harvest the Nihil technology first. We learn Domina is solely responsible for the prosperity of the Tagge family under the Imperial regime. When the Republic fell, most of her family freaked but she saw the promising financial prospects of war profiteering and the likely endless wars the Empire would fight to keep their hold on the galaxy. The Tagges have been providing the Empire with weapons and new technology since the beginning and any dip in that revenue stream is unacceptable to Domina.



Just Lucky and Ariole, who we discover is a former love, are cleaning up the lower levels of Canto Bight with their debt collecting duties. Rounding up those indebted to crime lord  Wen Delphis, it’s unclear how they fit into the hunt for Nihil technology. Sounds like Lucky and Ariole have been on a rollercoaster of a relationship and neither are looking to reunite in a romantic sense, this is just business and they work well together as far as that’s concerned. When they finally catch up with their mark, he issues an ominous warning: the end is near for the Sixth Kin, Delphis’ criminal organization. If I had to guess, they are likely close rivals of the Unbroken Clan. This will likely put Lucky and Ariole working against a common enemy with Sana and Aphra. Sounds good to me!



This is our first close look at Beol De’Rruyet, the mogul who claims to have Nihil technology. He’s as insufferable as you’d imagine a pompous industrialist only concerned with the bottom line would be. Shouting at interns who didn’t get his caf order right, making self-serving claims of grandeur, and basking in the limelight are things we can probably all roll are eyes at with real world comparisons. Aphra and Sana have arrived and disguised themselves as low-level interns. They quickly discover the truth behind the showmanship.



Aphra concludes the engine is a poorly designed fake. Whether De’Rruyet is hastily trying to raise capital for his corporation or genuinely believes it will work remains to be seen. Sana discovers a one-way ticket he purchased for Mon Cala, which she hints may be some sort of refuge for people on the run. Aphra realizes if De’Rruyet actually proceeds with a demonstration of this shoddy, faux Nihil engine it will cause a cataclysmic explosion. As they try to figure out a way to force a mass evacuation, De’Rruyet discovers they aren’t interns.



Aphra is great at improvising and pretends to be Imperial spies who report directly to the Emperor. She’s spent enough time amongst old Sheev and his apprentice to know this is a very believable cover. She warns him of the dire consequences of his demonstration. If loss of life doesn’t deter De’Rruyet than maybe the Emperor’s wrath will. Before De’Rruyet can process this turn of events, another interested party arrives for the demonstration.



General Vukorah isn’t interested in the details, just the engine. And she’s determined to fire it up. Perhaps Aphra and Sana can use this destructive force to rid themselves of the Unbroken Clan and do Domina Tagge’s bidding at the same time but it’s going to be tricky. And we will have to wait until the next issue to find out how they do it.


I love the plot threads writer Alyssa Wong joins together. I have a feeling Just Lucky and Ariole will be arriving at the party soon. This issue is setting up the final issue in this arc which also promises to move Aphra toward the “War of the Bounty Hunters” event we’ll be getting soon. The art by Minkyu Jung, Victor Olazaba, and Rachelle Rosenberg is great, bringing us close to those intimate moments and pulling back exactly when the scale of the story demands it. Doctor Aphra continues to delight me and this issue makes me even more excited for her journey beyond this time period of the original trilogy.


RATING: 7.5/10


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

Kyle Larson

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