Doctor Aphra #30 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Aphra makes the realization that the being she identifies closest with is a psychopathic murder droid in Doctor Aphra #30.

This review contains plot points for Doctor Aphra #30.

Doctor Aphra #30 Cover

Doctor Aphra #30

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

Don’t read Doctor Aphra #30 for the action. Read it for the revelation. Readers of Marvel’s Star Wars comics have witnessed Aphra in action for approximately 60 issues. In those issues, she has aided Darth Vader in the beginning stages of his quest to unseat the Emperor. Aphra has traveled the stars looting and stealing rare artifacts. She spent time in an Imperial prison and escaped the temples of Yavin IV. Her life is one of adventure. However, one of the most interesting issues featuring Aphra arrives when she can barely move at all. Doctor Aphra #30 provides revelations about Aphra and Triple Zero that their adventures until now failed to uncover.

Not So Unalike After All

Triple Zero explained to Aphra once that they were the same. Over the course of Doctor Aphra, both Aphra and Triple Zero have revisited that idea multiple times. Aphra keeps rejecting it, and eventually, Triple Zero did as well when Aphra proved far less ruthless than he was. However, after surviving a crash on the planet Milvayne, Aphra isn’t so sure anymore.

Aphra finds herself stunned and unable to use her legs after a seismic pulse she implanted in Triple Zero as a fail safe against him was turned against their Imperial captors. Triple Zero is impressed. He can’t fault her in the least for making a contingency plan against him. He did plan on killing her when she was no longer useful, and the bomb saved both of them this time. He then attempts something nice for her and shows her holo-footage of Magna Tolvan alive, well, and with the Rebellion.

Up until then, Aphra searched in vain for Tolvan’s fate after they parted on the Akkresker jail. As Aphra puts it, it took a psychotic machine to make her cry happy. Furthermore, the incident brings to mind all the betrayals she committed in her life. After struggling and arguing against the similarity for so long, she seems to find peace in acceptance.

This point is underscored when the husband and wife team of monsters hunters, Winloss and Nokk, catch up to them. Rather than extract at revenge upon Aphra for the misdeeds she committed against them in the past, they leave her to her fate. In their mind, there is no payback they can enact that is worse than her life at that moment.

Doctor Aphra #30 Winloss and Nokk

A Favor Returned

In return for Triple Zero’s revelation about Tolvan’s fate, Aphra does something for him in Doctor Aphra #30. She realizes that she might be stuck with the murder droid, and she wants no favors owed to him. Therefore, she decrypts his memories. In a nice touch, the code phrase Aphra selected was “hopeless.” Of course, this same encryption prevented the Rebellion from acquiring Imperial secrets, and Rebellions are built on hope, or so Jyn Erso says.

All of Triple Zero’s murders and atrocities come flooding back to him in a flash, and he temporarily becomes disabled. When he awakens, he reveals he recovered the moment of his creation. Contrary to his belief, he was not intentionally designed as the perfect killing instrument. No, his existence is a mistake. The very matrix that houses Triple Zero’s programming corrupts and suppresses any morality, empathy, equitability, and loyalty. Triple Zero was, in fact, a reject and a complete accident.

With this “unfortunate news,” Triple Zero experiences an existential crisis and decides to go for a walk. This is problematic for Aphra, because she still can’t use her legs. Therefore, she needs to do something quick before the proximity bomb in her head triggers. Readers are left with a cliffhanger as he walks away and the proximity bomb begins to beep.

Doctor Aphra #30 revelation

Concluding Thoughts on Doctor Aphra #30

The thing about Doctor Aphra #30 is that Aphra finally accepts that she betrays and uses people. In the past, she always tried to rationalize her behavior. Aphra would justify her actions by saying she never meant to hurt someone, or that she made mistakes. Finally, she owns the consequences of her actions. The question is: what comes next? Assuming she survives Triple Zero wandering off to contemplate his existence, what will Aphra do with this self realization? Does she simply accept it, or does she make a change?

It has been said that the best, most interesting, and complex characters are the ones that change from their experience. This is Aphra’s chance. However, do readers want Aphra to change? Or, do readers love Aphra because she is a scoundrel? There are plenty of great adventures to write no matter which way she goes.

The realization that Tolvan is still alive in Doctor Aphra #30 also has consequences. Aphra left Tolvan believing she had killed her. It was a cruel thing to do, even if Aphra believed it was the only way any of them survived. Aphra also realizes the depth of her feelings for Tolvan. This could be a game changer for her.

Finally, there is a little unfinished business. Doctor Evazaan is responsible for all of this. Aphra and Triple Zero’s predicament is a sick form of amusement for him. Once this is done, are they brought to justice? The final episode of the story arc should have some fireworks for readers.

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