Doctor Aphra had a plan all along. Triple Zero drove her to it.
This article contains plot details for Doctor Aphra #19.
Doctor Aphra #19
Writers: Kieron Gillen & Si Spurrier | Artist: Emilio Laiso | Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg| Cover Artist: Ashley Wittier | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Assistant Editor: Heather Antos and Emily Newcomen | Editor: Jordan D. White with Mark Paniccia
Aphra and her crew ended the last issue in dire straits. Triple Zero sent them to Hivebase-1 on a recovery mission. His earliest memories were stored there. Unfortunately, the Empire also stored all their past abominations under the Tarkin Initiative there too. As that issue concluded, Aphra and her crew, plus Hera Syndulla, their temporary hostage, found themselves surrounded by the Empire and their crazy science projects. Aphra appeared trapped and in over her head. Not so fast. In Doctor Aphra #19, the good Doctor proves she has a couple of tricks up her sleeves, but how far will she go to save her own skin?
Not So Cornered After All
Aphra wastes little time convincing Hera, who has her in a headlock, that their real enemies were elsewhere. Once she does, Aphra grabs a control helmet and remotely hijacks the Rebel Lucherhulk battleship and launches their X-wing starfighters. Plus, she releases her genetically altered exploding tookas to run amok on the Imperial base. In short order, she has captured the entire datacenter from the Empire, destroyed their base, and escaped with Hera and the remnants of her crew.
The “Remastered” story arc is hard to get behind. It has a different tone that the prior issues in the series. Overall, it is just zanier. Aphra is a little sillier. Her crew is frequently over the top and resorted to crazy tactics. Aphra appeared as if she were winging it the entire time. There isnt an issue with winging it per se, but the story seemed a little adrfit.
Doctor Aphra #19 recovers the plot. For instance, Aphra’s exploding tookas, introduced in Doctor Aphra #15, have a larger purpose in this issue. Her accidental release of a tooka on the Luchrehulk in Doctor Aphra #17 has a payoff here. While these incidents still register on the goofy side, they are a little more forgiveable.
An Imperial With a Change of Heart
The other key player in this story arc is Aphra’s love interest, Lieutenant Tolvan. All along, Tolvan professed undying loyalty to the Empire. Despite her romantic interest in “Joystick Chevron” (Aphra’s alias), she was willing to sacrifice her personal happiness for the good of the Empire. In Doctor Aphra #19, Tolvan found a way to have her cake and eat it too. She bent her own moral code a little to escape with Aphra aboard the ship the Rebels gave her. Afterwards, Aphra and Tolvan had some personal time that they both desperately wanted.
Ultimately, the good of the Empire didn’t require Aphra’s capture, incarceration, interrogation, torture, and/or death. After their romantic interlude, Tolvan had other ideas for the rogue archaeologist. Therefore, Tolvan was content in tracking Aphra down and breaking up Triple Zero’s gang. That was a win for the Empire. Furthermore, she put Aphra on a low security shuttle that simply wasn’t going to hold her on the way to a low security prison. The Tolvan and Aphra relationship was a driving factor in this story, and it was fun to see Tolvan make the difficult choice and side with her heart over her head.
Aphra parlayed her capture of the Imperial data core to her advantage. First, it bought her a release from Hera from incarceration by the Rebellion. It also got her a ship. Second, she extracted Triple Zero’s memories, and thereby completed the mission he assigned her. Third, and most deviously, she then encrypted the core and Triple Zero’s memories. If the Rebellion or Triple Zero wanted their information, they were going to have to pay up. The payoff isn’t in this issue, and it may never arrive, but Doctor Aphra #19 shone a spotlight on her ingenuity and resourcefulness.
Concluding Thoughts on Doctor Aphra #19
The “Remastered” story contained a subtle theme related to Aphra’s morals and character. What exactly was she capable of? How far would she go to save her own skin? What would she do just for the fun of it? Triple Zero set this entire mission up to find out.
Although he desperately wanted his memories back, Triple Zero had an ulterior motive in mind with this mission for Aphra. He tells her that he wanted more than just his memories. Triple Zero had a point to prove. In his eyes, Aphra was just like him. Need proof? In order to complete this mission, Aphra “condemned a prince just to get airborne.” She “killed a good man just to exploit the rage of his lover.” Plus, she left behind her own probability droid, murdered countless enemies, almost as many allies, and used dumb beasts as weapons. The most damning is that she “betrayed ever kindness” shown her. This mission wasn’t about making Aphra into a morally bankrupt character. Triple Zero showed her she was already there.
Aphra can’t accept that, and she confesses that she gets things wrong and she uses people, but she never expects to sleep well. This disappoints Triple Zero, who orders her death, but Tolvan and the metaphorical Imperial cavalry arrive just in time. Aphra’s judgment and moral are likely to be revisited in the future. This is an issue she has faced throughout the series. Triple Zero’s experiment is perhaps the best part of this story arc. The question is, what, if anything, will Aphra learn or change now?
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.