Doctor Aphra #25 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Doctor Aphra’s avarice leads to grief and tough decisions. Her actions speak of love and selfishness and Doctor Aphra #25.

This review contains plot points for Doctor Aphra #25.

Doctor Aphra #25 Cover

Doctor Aphra #25

Writers: Si Spurrier | Pencils: Kev Walker | Inks: Marc Deering | Colors: Java Tartaglia | Cover Artist: Ashley Wittier | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia

As Darth Vader annihilates everyone and everything on Accresker Jail, Doctor Aphra realizes the need for tough decisions. A frequent theme of the Doctor Aphra series has been choices and consequences. In Doctor Aphra #25, Aphra makes tough choices in the name of self-preservation and love. As “The Catastrophe Con” story arc concludes, Aphra’s complicated character becomes even more so.

The Dead End

As Doctor Aphra #25 commences, Darth Vader lays waste to anything in his path. He arrived at Accresker Jail with one purpose in mind: eliminate Aphra and anyone that knows of his search for Luke Skywalker. Aphra prepares to make the noble sacrifice for once. The Bor kept on the prison ship is now thawed out. Aphra’s plan is to wide her own mind of Vader and his plans. She is also motivated out of her affection for Tolvan. She confesses to “liking” her. For Aphra, this is the only way she sees out of the dead end. It is notable, that unlike in the previous issue, she doesn’t plan on pulling any tricks here. Tam, Lopset, and Sana were victims of her tricks in Doctor Aphra #24. Instead of subjecting Tolvan to any trick to save them, her plan is to let Vader have her without her memories of him. It might have worked.

Doctor Aphra #25 Tolvan Makes a Sacrifice

A Noble Sacrifice

But, Tolvan won’t have it. She tells Aphra she should have her mind wiped instead. After all, Vader wouldn’t be there if Tolvan hadn’t called him. Therefore, she proposes wiping her mind of anything to do with Aphra and Vader’s plans. She is making this sacrifice out of love. Unlike Aphra, she can admit the depth of her feelings. In addition, she notes that her love for Aphra ruined her life.

Aphra relents, but she alters the plan. She admits what she is doing is in hopes of surviving this ordeal. Aphra knows that simply wiping Tolvan’s mind isn’t enough. So, she changes Tolvan’s memories. She makes Tolvan believe she killed Aphra for betraying her.

To Aphra’s credit, she is apologizing the entire time she watches Vader interrogate Tolvan. Plus, she is crying real tears. When Tam Posla accuses her of being heartless, she reacts violently and ignites the ancient Jedi lightsaber she sacrificed everything to acquire. Although a self-inflicted wound, Aphra’s heart has been trampled in this ordeal.

A Selfish New Start

Triple Zero, the assassin droid, eventually catches up to Aphra. He is on Accresker Jail because he wants access to the memories Aphra locked away. He whole-heartedly, to the extent droids have hearts, agrees with Aphra’s decision. It is almost redeeming in his eyes. He isn’t the only one that feels that way.

Lopset provides the big twist of this issue. It turns out he was Dr. Evazan all along. He posed as a shapeshifter by using a being known as a pluripleq, which is reminiscent of the ooglith masquer from Legends, only with more disguises available. Evazan revels in the irony that Tam Posla had him all this time without realizing it. Unfortunately for Posla, Triple Zero murdered him.

Evazan gets the drop on both Aphra and Triple Zero. He removes his own proximity bomb and implants it in Triple Zero. Now, Aphra and the droid are tied to each other. If they separate by more than twenty meters, the bombs explode. Aphra’s next predicament is set.

In this single issue, Evazan has more dialogue than in A New Hope and Rogue One combined. In addition, he has more personality. In those two movies, he appeared as nothing more than a condemned brute. Now, Evazan has a real opportunity to evolve as a villain. His sidekick, Ponda Baba is around as well.

Doctor Aphra #25 Aphra is Sorry

Other Loose Ends

Before Doctor Aphra #25 ends, other loose ends from “The Catastrophe Con” find resolution. San Starros reunites with the Rebellion and retrieves her ship. Darth Vader destroys the Force imprinted spore impersonating a long-dead Jedi. Triple Zero’s sidekick, BT-1, meets his doom at the hands of Darth Vader as well. Vader also believes Aphra perished in the demise of Accresker Jail as it collided with a planet. He orders her file concluded.

One issue that remains is Tolvan. She is last seen under a pile of rubble before Accresker Jail collides with the planet. However, is it really Tolvan? The reader only sees a stained glove. Clearly, the reader is meant to believe it is her. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her return as nobody sees her body. One can only wonder what the return might look like. She believes she killed Aphra. What will happen when she sees her alive?

Final Thoughts on Doctor Aphra #25

“The Catastrophe Con” focused on Aphra through the viewpoints of her associates. More specifically, Sana, Aphra’s past, and Tolvan, Aphra’s present, provided a side-by-side comparison of Aphra’s character. She hadn’t changed much over the years. Although neither considered Aphra as evil, they magnified her faults. They enabled Aphra.

Aphra is impulsive. She is also a touch greedy. Aphra has the ability to project the long-term consequences of her actions, and she frequently does so. Often this means she takes advantage of those closest to her to get what she wants. However, when she isn’t calculating, she frequently fails to take the feelings and intelligence of those closest to her into account. She seems to focus on one move. She plots how to get there, and then Aphra neglects to consider the other ramifications of her actions.

Doctor Aphra #25 took her to a new place. She had a moral high and low in this scenario. First, she prepared to sacrifice herself. She would wipe her own memory, and then the trail to anyone else knowing about Vader and his plans would stop cold. However, she let Tolvan talk her out of this plan. True, Tolvan volunteered to have her own memory wiped of Aphra, Vader, and the plans. Aphra, though, knew this wasn’t enough. Therefore, she altered Tolvan’s memories to make her think she was a murderer. Later, she attempted a justification with the feeble protest that Tolvan volunteered. It is a weak excuse. Tolvan, a paragon of order, never volunteered to let her memories be so altered.

Doctor Aphra #25 ends one story and establishes another. Aphra and Triple Zero are effectively tied together. It is all in the name of Evazan’s cold perversion of art. Aphra sank to a new low in this issue, but she has the opportunity for redemption.

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