Doctor Aphra #22: Echoes
After spending her entire life trying to find the rarest of artifacts, Aphra finds herself the victim of one. As the Spark Eternal controls her actions, Aphra had to watch as her hijacked body attacked her closest friend. Now it shows her things she would have rather forgotten for good.
As Doctor Aphra’s torture continues, the Spark Eternal pulls out all the tricks to intimidate and agonize its host. This artifact was created to give a possessor the powers of a Sith. In reality it is an ancient entity that delights in antagonizing its user. That makes sense in a weird way. That is kind of what its like to be a Sith. The power of the Dark Side gives a user great Force talent, but takes a toll on the body and soul. That is very much like being tortured. However, it is not physical pain in which the Spark Eternal bestows on Doctor Aphra, but painful memories. It shows her times when she has double crossed allies as well as times when she had no control. In a nutshell, the Spark Eternal eats away at a person’s fear and pain until they are nothing. But if it could truly read Aphra’s mind, it would know that she is never going to stop fighting.
A neat aspect of this issue is that it involves the moments before Just Lucky was betrayed by Aphra. Ever since he originally showed up in this series Just Lucky has been pretty hostile toward Aphra, yet the backstory went unsaid. Similarly the Ascendants have remained a mystery, known only to have created technology to mimic Sith. Answers to both these unspoken questions are addressed directly. This is a delightful break to this story arc in a couple ways. The issue can’t just be the Spark Eternal baiting and teasing Aphra. The memory flashbacks are a good device for allowing a little action into the chapter. This isn’t that different than the previous formula that did the same thing, but with Lucky in the present. This flashback shows a happier adventurous Lucky. That is quite a different version of the beat down and sullen present version, and much more pleasant to read about. Knowing Aphra will eventually be the catalyst in making him that way makes it almost heartbreaking. Aside from that side story, the background of the Ascendants adds even more color and action to the chapter.
The impact on the overall storyline doesn’t further the current plot all that much until the very end. In fact it almost halts the arc entirely for this chapter. The last issue ended with Sana trying to pull together a team to rescue Aphra. Instead of continuing directly, this issue simply shows what’s happening to Aphra at the Spark Eternal’s hands. That does not mean it doesn’t add to the larger story of Aphra’s journey by filling in a few holes in her past with Lucky and giving readers a window into the things she is most sorrowful for. The issue does eventually steer into a new direction and gives the audience a clue into where the series is going. The art is light and complicated at the same time. It has an almost animated feature look during the memories, favoring a pastel color scheme. The dark mirror of the Spark Eternal’s version of Aphra vs the real thing is the real star of this issue. They both looked tattered at times as well at spry and ready to fight, but clearly different from each other. Aphra is determined where the Spark is mischievous. The separate art styles gives this chapter some variety by portraying a harsh reality for the present and a dreamy aspect to the memories.
The Spark Eternal has beaten Doctor Aphra down and found her deepest secrets, but Aphra always has a plan brewing. Meanwhile her friends assemble to assist her.
Doctor Aphra #22: Aphra’s Own Worst Enemy
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 6/106/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10