Doctor Aphra #14 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Aphra’s new job with new allies begins in Doctor Aphra #14.

This article contains plot details for Doctor Aphra #14.

Doctor Aphra #14 Cover

Doctor Aphra #14

Writers: Kieron Gillen & Si Spurrier | Artist: Emilio Laiso | Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg| Cover Artist: Ashley Wittier | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Assistant Editor: Heather Antos | Editor: Jordan D. White

It’s a Small Galaxy After All…

Doctor Aphra #14 starts the next chapter of the most infamous rogue archaeologist in all of Star Wars. In the prior issue, Aphra completed her quest for “The Enormouse Profit.” Doctor Aphra now arrives at an Imperial facility on Someilk, a planet in the Outer Rim. Stationed there is an old foe of Aphra’s, the disgraced Imperial officer Magna Tolvan. The galaxy proves it is a small place after all when they cross paths as Aphra’s team, which infiltrated the facility on a mission to pull data. Their reunion is short lived however, and Aphra’s commanding officer destroys the facility during their getaway. Furious, Aphra confronts her “new” boss upon their return to their base of operations on Son-tuul. Doctor Aphra #14 is an intriguing tale full of small details the set the scene for the “Remastered” story arc.

Sympathy for the Imperial

Readers last saw Captain Tolvan in Doctor Aphra #6. After suffering defeat at the hands of Aphra and her father, she found herself marooned. Since then the Empire demoted her to Lieutenant and stationed her on an isolated station in the Outer Rim. Suggesting she resents her situation and desires some measure of revenge against Aphra is an understatement. However, her present situation provides some intriguing history, and considering she is likely to feature in Doctor Aphra for the considerable future, it is welcome.

First, Tolvan served with Inspector Thanoth. Like Aphra and Tolvan, Thanoth is the creation of Kieron Gillen. Grand General Tagge assigned Thanoth as Vader’s aide in the first volume of Darth Vader stories. At the time, Thanoth investigated the theft of Imperial funds, a theft that Darth Vader himself orchestrated. However, once Thanoth put together the clues, he surrendered himself to Vader for the greater good of the Empire. Thanoth was something of a Sherlock Holmes type of character. The reader might presume that Tolvan acquired some of his investigative skills is he served as her mentor.

Tolvan is the victim of envy. Her new superior officer, Captain Punfor, demonstrates inferior ability at every opportunity. Tolvan attended the academy with him at the reader can deduce she was the far superior student, which is a fact that Punfor seemingly resents. He spares no opportunity to relish Tolvan’s fall from grace. What he forgets is that his station is only marginally better than hers on this isolated outpost.

Finally, Tolvan is sensitive to and very cognizant of her “deformations.” Her forearms, neck, and sections of her skull are covered in what appear to be cybernetic implants. Despite this, Aphra routinely refers to her as “cute.” Tolvan reacts with resentment because she believes Aphra is teasing her. Even though Aphra assures her this is not the case, she refuses to believe it.

Doctor Aphra #14 - Aphra and Tolvan


Leave it to Gillen, he always creates fascinating new characters. This issue marks the debut of Gexa. She is the team leader for the raid on the Imperial outpost on Someilk. She has the appearance of a rogue as she wears a combination of combat fatigues and a scoundrel’s vest. In addition, she is bald and has a cybernetic implant wrapped around her head. Her implant bears a striking resemblance to Lobot’s implant or the implant worn by Tseebo in Rebels. Joe Caramagna’s lettering gives the impression she speaks with a modulated, robotic voice.

Aphra’s Evolution

Aphra always had a complex personality. This series begins with her shooting a man in the back. So, she isn’t above doing dirty work. However, things changed some over the course of the series. As Aphra and Gexa leave the Imperial facility on Someilk, Gexa triggers a bomb and destroys the facility and kills nearly everyone inside. Tolvan is left looking outraged as they fly away.

Aphra objects to this action. When they return to Son-tuul, Aphra agonizes over their actions. The leader of their gang emerges from the shadows to address Aphra’s complaint. Aphra notes he described this mission as “a minimum-damage mission,” and instead they “fried the entire place.” The leader explains that of course they misled her, because otherwise she would have argued. Aphra notes that although she may be bad, she isn’t evil. Her conscience gets the best of her.

Doctor Aphra #14 - Gexa

In Service

The gang’s leader notes Aphra’s objection, and then he asks her if she would “rather the alternative.” She responds no, it is okay. The leader then chastises her to “say it properly.” She answers, “it’s okay, master,” as the final panel reveals Triple Zero and BT-1 behind her. This serves as the issue’s twist. They escaped from Darth Vader in the previous issue and took over the Son-Tuul gang. Somehow, they entrapped Aphra in their organization.

Concluding Thoughts on Doctor Aphra #14

Gillen and Spurrier wasted no time building intrigue for this series. After her previous appearance in the series, Tolvan returns and is a surprisingly sympathetic character. Also, the twist at the end of the issue is unexpected. Aphra seemingly parted ways with her crew at the conclusion of the last story arc. Black Krrsantan found his former captors and left Aphra behind. Triple Zero and BT-1 finally freed themselves from Aphra’s control and began their own gang and schemes. Therefore, it is a little surprising the droids are back so soon. In addition, they appear to have ascended to the role of Aphra’s chief antagonist. Regardless, Doctor Aphra #14 maintains the fresh and vibrant feel of the series. How is the galaxy’s most famous archaeologist going to get out of this one?

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