After months of waiting, we finally get to catch up with Doctor Aphra’s adventures in a galaxy far, far away!
One of the fun things about this book is that Aphra’s reputation has somewhat changed since we last saw her. Anyone who goes against the Empire puts a target on their back, regardless of their intentions. After making an enemy of Darth Vader, people seem to think that Aphra herself has gone soft. She quickly proves them wrong when she shows that she’s still the survivor she’s always been.
The book does a pretty great job of reintroducing Aphra and her cohorts through dialogue and narration. The exposition never feels too obvious or awkward. In fact, it feels like a natural extension of the story for Aphra to explain why it’s so hard to get work these days.
Much like The Mandalorian, the new Doctor Aphra series appears to be exploring the difficult side of living during and after a revolution. The Empire took a huge blow when the first Death Star was destroyed, but it also impacted the Galaxy’s economy. It’s harder for even a brilliant mind like Aphra’s to figure out how to make ends meet. It’ll be fun seeing how she makes her way in this uncertain time.
Alyssa Wong perfectly nails Aphra’s demeanor. Her devil-may-care attitude in the opening action sequence is a lot of fun, but it nicely balances the undercurrent of concern for the future that she displays through the rest of the book. It’s clear that Aphra is putting on a strong face for the crowd.
Wong’s script also includes callbacks to adventures we haven’t seen, which is one of my favorite things in genre fiction. There are so many suggestions of a larger universe and more to explore in Aphra’s past, which I genuinely hope we get to see in future issues.
Marika Cresta delivers some wonderful facial expressions for the characters, particularly Aphra herself, who feels sassier than ever. We get the sense that she’s always so close to keeping her mouth shut, but just can’t help herself. Action sequences are likewise full of energy, complete with speed lines that sell the urgency of any given situation. This is particularly evident in the crew’s quick escape at the beginning of the issue.
On the downside, we are introduced to a lot of new faces in this issue, some of whom only get cursory introductions. The result is that it may be hard for new readers to get a handle on things and that returning fans will only really know what to make of Aphra herself. Even return crew member Black Krrsantan feels like he’s barely there.
Then again, this issue does a lot of heavy lifting in establishing a new status quo for the Galaxy and introducing Aphra’s newest job. We also get to see quite a bit of an intriguing set of new villains. It’s understandable that some character development would have to wait for another time.