Doctor Aphra #2 Fortune and Fate: Part 2
Having finally escaped the Empire’s service, Aphra is free to go back to a life of tomb raiding for money with her old pal, the wookiee Black Krrsantan and a happy go lucky new sniper sidekick named just that, Just Lucky. Soon enough she is hired by a young student named Detta Yao who wants Aphra to find a legendary artifact so she can write her dissertation on the discovery. The only other person needed to find the artifacts is someone from Aphra’s past, as is the powerful enemy who also wants the artifact.
Aphra has teamed up with a lot of motley crews over her career, bounty hunters, assassins, killer droids, a Sith lord, Rebels, and the Empire. It seems strange to see her adventuring with a crew of fellow archeologists for once. Although looking for strange ancient weapons and other arcane bits of antiquity has always been central to Aphra stories, it really takes center stage in this issue. An ancient necropolis, mysterious tombs, traps, and puzzles all meet the gang of adventures looking for treasures of legend. It is really nice to have a Doctor Aphra story feel like Indiana Jones for once. Aphra is very much a twisted anti-heroic parallel dimension mirror version of Indy, so this feels very appropriate. Despite all the eerie and mystical mood in the issue, not all that much happens. Most of the issue is flashbacks of Aphra at University and her backstory involving Professor Okka, a former classmate and paramour. Flashbacks of Aphra’s past entanglements with series villain Ronen Tagge fill a few pages too. All in all, this issue was merely meant to transition from one part of the story to the next. This feels just right after the first issue, which started off with James Bond level action. Leaving Aphra in a tight spot at the end of this issue, also assures a good bit of action in the next installment.
There is a very different tone in this one. It’s not all Aphra MacGyvering her way out of tough situation, and being chased by explosions, and consistently backstabbing or abandoning her friends. She seems to have purpose. She seems to be in her element, and uncharacteristically without causing chaos and destruction wherever she goes. It could be possible that she is maturing. However, it all does seem like a set up for everything to come crashing down around her. Aphra will undoubtedly bein the catalyst in her own downfall and inevitable rise again.
Doctor Aphra is arguably the Star Wars character outside the films that has had the most stories written about her. She is an unusual keystone that holds the whole comic world of Star Wars together. This issue continues to accomplish that in a few notable ways. First, it should be known that this issue was originally meant to come out a couple moths prior to this. That being said, the timing of the actual release matches up with the release of Audible’s Doctor Aphra audio drama. The audio drama is a full cast retelling of Aphra’s early adventures with Darth Vader as well as her basic history which was periodically told in various comics over the past four or five years. Because of how things ended up, the audio drama actually came out the day before this issue. The two directly reference each other. If they hade come out months apart, those connection might have not have been made so easily. That’s not the only Star Wars connections to outside media in this issue either. The droid, TA-41B is the same type of tomb exploring droid Cal Kestis had in the Jedi: Fallen Order video game. There is a couple offhand references to the Knights of the High Republic, Star War’s next multi-series comic/novel crossover event. Even the villain, Ronen Tagge is from the very rich Imperial Tagge family, who were in some of the earliest issues of the old Marvel comics. Keen Star Wars fans will also recognize the name from the original Star Wars film. General Tagge was the Imperial officer whom Darth Vader Force chokes during the briefing scene.
This second entry into a new series for Aphra comes with little action, but a lot of important character and story set up. Those kind of slow but informative episodes really pay off in the long game. Aphra continues to seem in great hands with the new group working on it, an all female team for once. With this issue ending with a cliffhanger, Aphra fans are sure to get more action and adventure as this series continues to roll out
Doctor Aphra #2: You Call This Archeology?
Writing - 8/10
Storyline - 8/10
Art - 7/10
Color - 7/10
Cover Art - 8/10
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