There are some secrets even an archaeologist isn’t prepared to unearth… Your Major Spoilers review of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 from Marvel Comics awaits!
STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #1
Writer: Alyssa Wong
Artist: Marika Cresta
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 4, 2020
Previously in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: With the Rebel Alliance back on the run after their defeat at the Battle of Hoth, it’s never been a more dangerous time for outlaws, scoundrels and the errant rogue archaeologist to make their way in the galaxy. But after a string of bad luck and near escapes, Doctor Aphra is back on the job! She’s been keeping a low profile, jobs are scarce and credits scarcer. But the promise of the score of a lifetime is a chance too good for her to pass up…
BRAINS, SKILLS AND A FLEXIBLE MORAL COMPASS
We open on Hoth, apparently not long after the events of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, as a group of snow-troopers clears out Echo Base, looking for contraband and any hints of where the Rebel Alliance might have gone. When the transport shows up to take away the stolen booty, everything seems normal, until the pilot makes an unexpected shortcut… into an ambush! She reveals herself to be Doctor Aphra, now on the Empire’s hit-list, who makes short work of a few lackeys. Of course, the matter of a betrayal in her own ranks is a bit more troublesome. Of course, neither problem compares to the AT-AT bearing down on their position with laser-turrets firing full-on. Fortunately, she kept a sniper in reserve and really only needed one thing: A rare fossil that no one else realized was genuine, much less valuable. Aphra gets her payday, but as she’s celebrating, a woman shows up looking for help in writing her doctoral dissertation on the legndary Rings of Vaale. They’re incredibly valuable, possibly mythical and also, desperately sought by an ultra-rich jerk named Ronen Tagge, who likes to be the last person to touch priceless artifacts… and knows how to guarantee that he is.
MIGHT BE A LITTLE… CURSED?
This issue is skillful in the way it slowly assembles our cast, with Aphra bringing her Wookiee pal Black Krrsantan and the boy called Just Lucky, roping one of her former classmates, a fangirl named Detta who may or may not be playing them all and a super-cute droid. Aphra even doubts that there’s any “magic” or “curses” in the world, guaranteeing that the Rings are, in fact, cursed. But the best part of the story for me is the introduction of Tagge, who is equal parts smug, controlling and awful, and who gets the last word in this issue in an ominous fashion. The art is really good as well, especially in the use of body positioning and body language to express characters’ emotions, such as Aphra’s disbelief or Detta’s maybe-manipulations. It even avoids the usual pitfalls of a ‘Star Wars’ title, the name-dropping and over-explanation that has brought down so many good books. (“As you know, the Crimelord Xizor of planet Dathomir once stole Han Solo’s carbonite-frozen body…”)
BOTTOM LINE: A PRETTY SOLID ‘HEIST MOVIE’ SETUP
In short, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 uses the character’s background to great effect, setting up a classic heist story with an interesting cast of charcters, a truly despicable villain and some really lovely art, making for a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars overall. I’ve always said I want to see non-Skywalker, non-Jedi stories in the galaxy far, far away, and this book seems like the start of a good one.
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STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #1