One of the hottest new Star Wars characters is getting her own book this week complete with brand new sidekicks! Can she capture our hearts like Han, Luke, and Leia once did, or is this a galactic dud?
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? You can find out in our preview along with images!
Why does this book matter?
Kieron Gillen wrote a fantastic Darth Vader series which sneakily introduced supporting characters like BT-1 and 0-0-0 while making us fall in love with Aphra. She’s a character that understands and even loves the dark and sometimes dirty history in the Star Wars universe and, as an archaeologist, offers a character who can reveal hidden secrets you know we’ll all want more of. Giving the character her own series was a no-brainer!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Don’t worry, there’s a lot of our favorite robots in this one.
This issue opens with a harrowing escape not unlike something you’d see in the opening of an Indiana Jones film. Plus, there’s an ancient artifact involved in the escape! That’s one of the most compelling aspects of this series as it reveals a vast and detailed archaeological world in the Star Wars universe, which makes sense given how everything seems ancient anyway. The backup in the issue further explores this aspect of Aphra’s life in a fun and compelling flashback story. The events in this story correspond well to the first part too, as they shed light on Aphra’s more questionable and immoral actions.
The general plot of the main story establishes new threats for Aphra to navigate, as well as the very complicated nature of owing people money. I was getting some quasi-Han Solo vibes from this section based on a very similar lifestyle and the addition of a certain Wookiee to her crew; a crew that also contains our (new) favorite droids, who get a few moments to shine in all their evil glory, which Gillen seems to be setting up for an interesting character dynamic between they and Aphra.
The art in the main story is by Kev Walker and it’s quite good at depicting technology, ships and alien life. Just look at the sick hat on that dude below. I would liken some of his art to John Romita Jr.’s pencils as there’s a good sense of depth with his work. BT-1 in particular looks fantastic with a very shiny and cool looking robot body (Antonio Fabela kills it with the colors here as well). Aphra has a somewhat cartoony look to her, which makes her more likeable. It certainly also makes her murdering folks a bit jarring!
It can’t be perfect can it?
Speaking of which, Aphra’s immoral nature is a bit of a shock, but it probably shouldn’t be. That said, Walker draws her that at times makes her look like an eleven year old kid. It makes it a bit harder to take her seriously.
The main story in this issue doesn’t do quite enough to feel fresh or even necessary to tell. Part of me can’t shake the feeling this is too similar to Han Solo. Not enough is done in this portion to sell Aphra’s story either, as she simply needs money and can’t get it. It’s hard to judge at such an early juncture – especially since the backup does well to establish more of her backstory – but I’m still waiting for the general hook to set in. It doesn’t help the main threat in this issue appears to have been squashed already taking any looming stakes off the table.
He’s a man of many hats…maybe.
Is It Good?
Doctor Aphra is an intriguing series as it sheds light on a side to the Star Wars universe you didn’t even know existed. This first issue doesn’t do enough to establish why it needs to exist, but it’s still early yet. An excellent backup story helps to flesh out Aphra, which is probably why you’re going to read this anyway!