Aphra falls back on old habits and old wisdom as she evades the Empire and the Rebellion in Doctor Aphra #34.
This review contains plot points for Doctor Aphra #34.
Doctor Aphra #34
Writers: Simon Spurrier | Artists: Wilton Santos, Chris Bolson, and Adrea Broccardo | Inkers: Marc Deering & Walden Wong | Colorists: Chris O’Halloran & Stephane Paitreau | Cover Artist: Ashley Wittier | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
Over the course of “Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon,” Aphra tracked down an ancient rogue-Jedi super weapon for an unknown client and was then captured and brought in by the Rebel Alliance. Then she discovered her old flame, Magna Tolvan was alive and working for the Rebels. The Alliance confiscated Aphra’s archaeological find, and she rejected their offer to help reverse engineer it in furtherance of the development of a Rebel superweapon. Doctor Aphra #34 finds Aphra and her ward, Vulaada, on Aphra’s old home of Arbiflux as they contemplate what to do next. Life doesn’t come easy for Aphra though, and naturally, matters get complicated. Aphra finds herself reflecting on her past as she summons old habits and old wisdom to address her current predicament.
A Lesson in Parenting
Aphra finds herself in unexplored territory in “Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon.” In Doctor Aphra #31, at the end of the “Worst Among Equals” storyline, Aphra found herself with a ward, Vulaada. Taking this much responsibility for anyone is a very unusual position for her. During “Unspeakable Super Weapon,” Aphra frequently falls back on her mother’s words of wisdom when figuring out how to handle Vulaada. As an aside, Aphra’s flashbacks also feature her mother’s final moments at the hands of raiders.
Doctor Aphra #34 features similar panels. After rejecting the Rebels, Aphra takes Vulaada back to Arbiflux, which is the same world Aphra’s mother took her years ago. She reflects on those times with her mother while explaining to Vulaada that she now gets being a parent can be terrifying. Aphra speculates that all the wisdom she quoted in Doctor Aphra #33 may have just been her mother spinning any excuse to keep her safe. Yet, Aphra followed that wisdom then.
History Repeats Itself
Now, Aphra is falling back on what her mother taught her in the face of invasion. Despite having left the Rebellion on less than ideal terms, General Cracken calls to warn Aphra that they intercepted a transmission that the Empire was hunting her down on Aribflux in the belief she still had the Jedi superweapon. Bounty Hunters were dispatched. Fortunately, among those bounty hunters was Black Krssantan, an ally and somewhat friend of Aphra’s that she just happens to owe a lot of money to. In order to protect his investment, Krrsantan helped Aprha defeat the bounty hunters and escape from Arbiflux.
This is where Aphra’s mother’s advice comes in. She taught Aphra that “when there is nowhere left to run what matters is who you turn to for help.” In this case, Aphra chose the Rebellion for the help she needed. Or, did she?
In fact, it is all a ruse. Aphra determines the identity of the client that hired her to steal the weapon in the first place: Voor, the Empire’s Minister of Propaganda. The same woman that oversaw things on Milvayne during “Worst Among Equals.” Once back with the Rebels, Aphra plans, unwisely out loud, to steal the ancient Jedi weapon and return it to the Empire in the hopes of receiving a pardon. Unfortunately for Aphra, Tolvan is on to her.
Final Thoughts on Doctor Aphra #34
Doctor Aphra #34 continues an excellent series. The pace is near perfect. Spurrier doesn’t let Aphra’s reflections on her mother bog down the story. On the contrary, the flashbacks are well placed and enhance the action as Aphra’s motivations are explained. The humor readers have come to expect is present in Doctor Aphra is in ample supply. For instance, Aphra knows that Krrsantan is looking out for Aphra long enough to get the money she owes him. This leads to a number of humorous exchanges between the two. The humor fits a Star Wars story and is well balanced.
Doctor Aphra #34 also features other elements of what makes Star Wars great. There is a spectacular shoot out between Aphra and the bounty hunters. That is followed by Aphra, Vulaada, and Krrsantan being chased by Imperial stormtroopers. Then Aphra evades Imperial TIE fighters in her ship. The entire experience is very cinematic.
In conclusion though, Doctor Aphra #34 shines for a variety of reasons. It blends the familiar from Star Wars with a main character that is unpredictable. Spurrier’s writing is fresh. He gets what makes Aphra great: humor, questionable morals, and an ability to find a solution. Plus, Aphra’s fate is unwritten. There is an element of suspense that comes with each issue that is missing from the main Star Wars title. The reader never knows what is coming next.
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.