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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #21 Review

Comic Books

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #21 Review

Come watch Doctor Aphra dig herself into an even deeper hole than last issue!

There’s a Force ghost aboard the ship, the Rebel Alliance is after you and the Imperials want to break your mind or see you vaporized in battle. You should escape! Actually, wait… what’s that shiny artifact on the ground?

Marvel synopsis

“BROKEN INSIDE” CONTINUES! Doctor Aphra may be in Imperial prison, but she’s certainly not alone. Rumors have it that these bars are haunted, but this rogue archaeologist knows there’s something much more valuable going on. Meanwhile, Aphra’s got information – information that the Rebellion wants. But how far are they willing to go–and who are they willing to recruit – in order to get it?

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #21 Review

What’s the skinny?

We know Doctor Aphra is good at hacking computer systems and liberating long lost artifacts, but what this issue truly drives home is how truly spectacular she is at pissing people off. Last issue all she had to worry about was escaping her unique prison and avoiding the creepy Force ghost. Apparently that wasn’t enough for her.

Now Aphra’s got the Rebellion on her trail and they’ve sent a very angry bounty hunter to retrieve her and the unique information she possesses. Han Solo found out the hard way how tough Sana Starros can be, now it’s Aphra’s turn. Oh and did I mention there’s even more Imperials headed Aphra’s way? Here’s a hint, they aren’t anyone who’s already on board the U.S.S. Spooky.

What’s the catch?

Holy Easter Eggs, Batman! I thought for a moment that I might be irked by the amount of nods to the past found in this issue, but they all work as well placed storytelling devices. None of them feel like they were included just for the sake of being able to say “Oh, I know that reference!” and that makes this Star Wars nerd happy.

Is it good?

Si Spurrier manages to showcase the abundant aspects of Aphra’s personality traits between the pages of one issue and makes it look rather effortless. The doctor isn’t what I’d call a very nice person. I don’t think she necessarily means to do anyone lasting harm, but at the end of the day satisfying her curiosity and her desire for discovering the unknown is what matters most to her. Unfortunately for her and those around her, those desires often override good sense.

Aphra’s essentially a cat in human form; she’s curious to the extreme, cute, unwittingly causes trouble and can treat those around her with affection one minute or just as easily disdain the next. Well, except cats don’t get caught up in games of intrigue between the Rebel Alliance and Imperial Navy. I digress.

Kev Walker does a kickass job once again and is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists in the world of Star Wars comics. One of the panels that really stuck out to me was Aphra’s heart-to-heart conversation with Lopset, her fellow inmate. You could cut out the dialogue and still grasp a solid understanding of the conversation and that’s thanks to the characters’ facial expressions and the talented Mr. Walker.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #21 Review

I also want to give a shout out of Java Tartaglia, the artist who colored the issue. Holy crap did Java knock it out of the park. The above panel does a nice job highlighting Tartaglia’s work. You can see how the tone helps transition the characters from battle to sneaky escape attempt.

It occurred to me while finishing up this review that all three of the major stories in this arc are being led by women, two of whom are either confirmed to be bi-sexual or gay. It’s hard to tell with Aphra as we’ve seen her kiss another woman, but she also flirts rather relentlessly with Luke Skywalker and a few other men have seemingly caught her eye. Either way, it’s encouraging to see Disney build their post-Lucas Star Wars universe with diverse, interesting, and strong characters that don’t fit the cookie cutter mold of old.

I’d love to see Doctor Aphra as the first openly LGBTQ+ Star Wars character to make her way to the big screen. Not simply because of her sexual identity either, but due to the fact that she’s arguably the best new character to have been created under the Disney regime.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #21 Review
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #21
Is it good?
There's a lot of well placed Easter Eggs you'll recognize from past Star Wars films, animated TV and comics.
Another strong showing by Kev Walker. I love his style of overlaying in the moment panels over their backgrounds.
Si Spurrier continues to tell great stories and build upon three strong female characters in the Star Wars universe.
Doctor Aphra should be on TV, in films or both.

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