Doctor Aphra #28 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Doctor Aphra’s own moral philosophy has unintended consequences in Doctor Aphra #28. Plus, she and Triple Zero are more alike that either would care to admit.

This review contains plot points for Doctor Aphra #28.

Doctor Aphra #28 Cover

Doctor Aphra #28

Writers: Simon Spurrier | Art: Emilio Laiso | Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg | Cover Artist: Ashley Wittier | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia

Doctor Aphra #28 continues Aphra’s race against the clock to preserve her very life. She and Triple Zero find themselves in an unusual predicament. They must stay within close proximity or each will suffer death by detonation of implanted explosive. Dr. Cornelius Evazan implanted the explosives and watches Aphra and Triple Zero’s race against time with his partner Ponda Baba from afar. Now, in Milvayne City, things have gone from bad to worse.

Back from the Dead

Aphra’s most immediate problem is the return of previously slain enemies. Tam Posla, an intergalactic lawman, died only to be reanimated by the force imbued spores from the previous story arc. Adding insult to injury, the spores reassembled BT-1, Triple Zero’s former partner. Guided by the spore’s and Tam Posla’s combined sense of justice, the pair eagerly seek out Aphra and Triple Zero with lethal intent.

Despite his protests to the contrary, Triple Zero clearly mourns for the loss of BT-1. He has even had trouble accepting the loss. In prior issues, he begins issuing orders to BT-1 out of habit only to come to the shocking realization that BT-1 is gone. Triple Zero’s fondness for his old partner is not a unique trait among droids. Threepio frequently relished the company of Artoo, particularly when they had been separated for long periods of time.

BT-1’s actions are hard for Triple Zero to comprehend. The two wreaked havoc on several occasions together. They were fast partners. Now, BT-1 reports to Tam Posla. As much as Triple Zero would like to explain away BT-1’s attacks in Doctor Aphra #28, Aphra won’t let him. So, the murder droid resorts to old coping mechanisms, such as the mutilation of vermin.

Doctor Aphra #28 Aphra and Triple Zero

Old Bounty Hunters

Fortunately for Aphra, her other problem is a solution to the first problem. Winloss and Nokk, an odd couple if ever there was one, are on their trail. Evazan, disguised as Princess Leia, put them on the job once Triple Zero and Aphra proved more resourceful and dangerous than he first anticipated. They finally caught up to Aprha in this issue. It was just in time as well. The trandoshan and human husband and wife team disable Tam Posla, temporarily, and take down BT-1, at least for the moment. They then are knocked out of the pursuit as part of the battle, but they seem destined to return.

Upping the Stakes

Evazan didn’t anticipate Aphra and Triple Zero lasting this long. Despite his assurances to Ponda Baba, he is beginning to get a bit hot under the collar. Furthermore, Winloss and Nokk weren’t able to bring them in either. Therefore, he resorts to his next trick. He escalates the situation by broadcasting his feed to all of Milvayne City.

In his broadcast, Evazan promises entertainment and the opportunity for profit. This antic seems a little preposterous. Evazan just boosts his signal, and he is broadcasting to everyone in Milvayne. It seems convenient. In addition, he sounds like a second rate broadcaster or the host of an infomercial. This clashes with the tone of Star Wars that most fans have come to expect. “So, stay tuned, folks!” seems a little too colloquial.

When Bonding Backfires

The clock on Aphra and Triple Zero’s predicament keeps running. They still have far to go as well. They then find Vulaada and her giant pet. Vulaada previously promised them a ride to the professor that could fix all of this. To speed things up, they find transport on a “bloatbarge,” which is an Imperial device that cleans out toxins from the underworld.

While they are riding, Aphra and Vulaada strike up a conversation. Vulaada is an impressionable teenager, and one senses at least a little hero worship on her part where Aphra is concerned. Vulaada asks why Aphra hasn’t ever taken advantage of any opportunity to deactivate Triple Zero. The short answer is that Aphra turned him on. In a sense, she is Triple Zero’s mom. In an effort to make sense of this, she compares this situation to Vulaada and her pet. What would she do if Gurtyl, her pet, decided to try and eat her? Vulaada doesn’t know.

Aphra approves of the answer. Nobody knows what they would do until they are in the moment. However, Aphra explains her guiding principles when people are trying to kill her as, “Get rich. Save own skin. Damn everyone else.” The sad part of this explanation is that Aphra is trying to find out anything she can on Tolvan, her old flame that she sacrificed, while she does it.

All this guidance backfires on Aphra. Vulaada seemingly already knew all of this. She heard Evazan’s transmission and decided to go for the bounty. She brings Tam Posla and the planet’s security right to them. Adding insult to injury, Vulaada quotes Aphra’s principles right back to her after blasting Triple Zero and knocking her unconscious. She is crying when she does it though.

Doctor Aphra #28 Valuuda

Final Thoughts on Doctor Aphra #28

Doctor Aphra #28 continues exploring the theme of how similar, yet different, Aphra and Triple Zero are. For all of his eagerness to torture, maim, and kill, Triple Zero has a soft side and genuinely misses BT-1. Aphra, for her part, sacrifices anything that gets in her way when she is in the moment. In short, Aphra and Triple Zero are more similar than either would care to admit for reasons neither would like.

Doctor Aphra #28 may be the closest Aphra can get to explaining her own behavior. In moments of clear reflection, her actions are hard to justify. She attempts to do so by rationalizing that her worst decisions are made when she is fighting for her life. In those moments, it is win at any cost and consequences be damned. Naturally, she comes to regret her decisions later. She just isn’t good at considering the long term consequences.

Aphra doesn’t typically take on the role of a mentor. Some part of her seemed to enjoy it. Unfortunately, the experience backfired on her. Triple Zero is in pieces. She is unconscious. Tam Posla and security are closing in. Oh, and she still has a proximity bomb in her head. This story is headed for an interesting conclusion.

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