The War of the Bounty Hunters, the first full-fledged crossover event within the current Star Wars comics, was an interesting experiment for this new line of books. Structured like the cross-universe story arcs superhero titles have been engaging in for decades, it was still surprising to see the Star Wars line connect to closely into a single epic tale, giving readers plenty of reason to read some of the other titles not already in their pull box. While the entire event didn’t land as overly joyous in my first reading, the Doctor Aphra issues penned by Alyssa Wong gave the ostensible character bountiful room to participate in her own plot as the narrative was weaved into the larger universe-wide saga.
Collecting Doctor Aphra issues #11-15, this trade finds Aphra and Sana Starros aboard an abandoned ship, where they encounter Durge the bounty hunter, only to discover an invitation to secret auction by the Crimson Dawn. With different villains from across the galaxy meeting in one location, the pair sneak into the auction to see what Qi’ra has to offer: Han Solo enshrined in carbonite. When Aphra’s presence comes to the attention of Darth Vader, it all hits the fan as our heroes try to get out of yet another difficult predicament.
Like any good tie-in, these Aphra issues put the protagonist in the thick of the main crossover without derailing the character’s existing story. Frankly, even if one had no knowledge of the larger War of the Bounty Hunters storyline happening in other Star Wars books, this collection would still act fine as its own standalone tale. It’s tonally consistent with what you’ve come to expect from Wong’s take on the character, and the no-nonsense arc delivered in these pages was a breezy and fun adventure.
Most of the pencils are provided by Minkyu Jung, who brings a simple, tidy line to the character and her surroundings. It complements Wong’s script faultlessly, with a sense of fun and adventure coming from the focused blocking on each page. Federico Sabbatini fills in for issue #14, and unfortunately, it is a departure from the other issues. His work is highly animated, looking more like a manga adaptation of the book, but at least it keeps the cheery tenor. Additionally, the backgrounds become rather sparse at this point, making it seem like the book was under a time crunch to keep up with the pacing set by the other Star Wars titles.
I’ve gone on record as arguing Doctor Aphra is the best new character added to the Star Wars canon in some time, and this trade continues to support that conclusion. It’s a fun take on the Star Wars ethos, permitting room for a different type of rogue to find their place in a galaxy far, far away. Even if you stayed away from the larger War of the Bounty Hunters crossover, this is still a fun read.
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