Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #13 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #13 (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-))Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #13 (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this was a definite improvement, as, Aphra being Aphra, she decides that rather than simply run from Darth Vader, who will surely kill her if he sees her again, she decides to try and use the distraction of his presence to rob Crimson Dawn blind…but instead gets herself and Sanna Staros captures, because of course she does.

It feels like Wong is finally getting a handle on the character, as the dialogue feels snappy and dynamic in a way that it hasn’t for a while. Aphra comics succeed or fail on the quality of the dialogue, and that’s something that the writers who’ve handled her previously really excel at.

The art, by Minkyu Jung, is solid but still not quite up to the standard of the rest of the line, sadly, although it’s definitely improving. Also, the cover, by Sara Pichelli, is definitely worth the price of admission.

All in all, this is a fine return to form for Doctor Aphra.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #12 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #12 (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-))Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #12 (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From the cover of this comic you’d be forgiven for thinking that Aphra has an encounter with Boba Fett in this issue…or that Boba Fett is actually in it. He’s not. (Or is he?) But that cover, by Sara Pichelli, is gorgeous. The art inside the issue? Not so much. Minkyu Jung’s art has a clear manga influence, which in itself is not a bad thing, but their composition is lacking and even Rosenberg’s superb colouring can’t save it. Sorry, but it’s just not to my tastes.

The writing is, well, the usual mixed bag from the writing in this book at the moment. Wong doesn’t really seem to have a real feel for Aphra yet and doesn’t seem to have decided what it is she’s trying to say with this book. As such it ends up feeling like a pale imitation of the runs which preceded it. I feel like she needs to stop trying to write Aphra as she has been written and find HER Aphra, and write the character her way.

That said, there are some nice moments here, especially when Aphra attempts to rob the Falleen woman. But then this is very much Aphra “up to her old tricks”…although, that said, Aphra’s never exactly been a pick pocket.

I feel like I’m being overly negative, but at this point I have no idea who any of the cast are beyond Aphra and Sanna, despite the fact that I’ve been reading this book since #1. Not only do I not know who any of the other characters are, I don’t care. I’ve said before that I don’t see the point of having a standalone Doctor Aphra book if the creative team don’t have a clear vision for the book, and this issue just confirms that.

Please, give this book a reason to exist other than “Aphra’s cool and people like her.”

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #11 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #11 (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-))Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #11 (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, this was definitely an improvement over recent and a step in the right direction.

Pretty much a standalone story in which Aphra and Sanna encounter a star ship in which everyone’s dead, killed by a bunch of parasitic alien beasties. They arrived at the ship because they were tracking someone down, and that certain someone was also being tracked by a bounty hunter…a bounty hunter known as Durge.

Now, Durge originally turned up in the now non-canon Genndy Tartakovsky animated Clone Wars series. A Boba Fett like badass bounty hunter that, I have to confess, I never really liked. This issue marks Durge’s return to canon, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing him again.

In terms of the War of the Bounty Hunters, this issue served to get an invitation to the auction for Han Solo’s frozen form into the hands of Doctor Aphra, and promises to more fully tie us into the crossover going forward.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #10 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #10Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #10 by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You’d be forgiven for thinking this issue is a War of the Bounty Hunters Prelude. After all, that’s what it says on the cover and on the title page. But it’s a War of the Bounty Hunters prelude only in so much as it’s what takes place immediately before the War of the Bounty Hunters. It is, in fact, just the final part of the current Doctor Aphra story arc, about stealing the Nihil Path Drive, and, as such, it’s…well…not very interesting.

The dialogue falls flat, and I just find it hard to care about what’s going on. Domina Tagge makes for an uninteresting villain, or maybe it’s just the way she’s written. But, you know, previously Aphra was all about double crossing and out witting Vader…he’s a hard act to follow.

I like Aphra, a lot, but I don’t think we should have an Aphra solo book just for the sake of having an Aphra solo book. It needs to a have a clear purpose and direction, and right now it doesn’t.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #9 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #9Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #9 by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s hard to put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this issue. It might be that the pages were oddly set up, such that I thought at first that the artist didn’t understand bleed and trim…but a quick check of the previous issue shows that not to be the case. In fact, the whole creative team is the same as on the last issue, so it’s not a production problem. And yet, throughout, panel borders are far too close to the edge of the page, and in many instances they’re right on the page edge. This shouldn’t happen…and yet… Maybe my copy was just trimmed spectacularly badly by the printers.

I’m sure this wouldn’t be an issue for most people, but comics pre-press is literally my job, so it bugged me.

The other thing that bugged me was that I really don’t care about the plot. Somebody is trying to recreate a Nihil hyperdrive, someone else is trying to stop them, and Aphra is caught up in the middle of it…which really should lead to hijinks, but doesn’t. Instead it leads to a weak “intern getting the coffee order wrong” joke and…that doesn’t really belong in Star Wars, in my very humble opinion.

This series has been very much up and down so far, and the art really isn’t helping. I hope it finds its feet soon, because it’s becoming increasingly hard to justify the existence of an Aphra solo book.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #8 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #8Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #8 by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fun, action packed issue of Doctor Aphra.

I’m still enjoying the dynamic between Aphra and Sanna Staros, they go well together.

I could do without the constant High Republic references in all of the current non-High Republic Star Wars comics though. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really enjoying the High Republic, but sudden references to the Nihil everywhere there have previously been none feel odd…and take me right out of the story.

There’s not a whole lot of plot going on in this book at the moment…something about a hyperdrive that everyone’s after…but it’s still a lot of fun. And the Ortolan bartender at the start of this issue was a nice addition. But I’m a big fan of Ortolans.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #7 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #7Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #7 by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this was fun! An action packed adventure full of wise cracking and subtle lesbianism, as Doctor Aphra teams up with her old flame, and Han Solo’s ex, Sana Staros (it’s a small galaxy after all).

Not only that, but they’re on Corellia, because Aphra wants Sana to set up a meeting with her and Lady Proxima, who we last saw in Solo: A Star wars Story. Personally, I loved that movie, so I enjoy any reference to it. Hopefully we’ll get to see some other characters from that film show up in the future.

Aphra and Sana Starros make a good team and the way they bounce off each other is a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them adventuring together.

So, good stuff!

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #6 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #6Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #6 by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a perfectly fine issue of Doctor Aphra.

It’s dialogue heavy, being mostly set up for Aphra’s new adventure (which is, of course, inevitably linked to the Nihil and the High Republic, because, apparently, everything has to be now), with reasonable but by no means outstanding art.

Which is…fine.

But I’m left missing that spark that earlier Aphra stories had. At this point I’m no longer sure that the character really warrants a solo series.

EDIT TO ADD: I just noticed that this issue is illustrated by two different pencillers, one being the usually excellent Ray-Anthony Height, which probably explains why the art felt wildly inconsistent, with sudden drops in quality.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #5 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #5Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #5 by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first arc of this new Doctor Aphra series comes to a close in this solid and amusing issue.

Alyssa Wong has captured Aphra’s character well, and maintains the fun, “anything can happen and probably will” feel of the previous series. While also doubling down on the intergalactic archaeologist side of the good Doctor. Well, I say “good”…

With solid storytelling and great art, this continues to be an essential part of Marvel’s Star Wars universe.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #4 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #4Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #4 by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A definite dip in quality this month as we seem to be essentially spinning wheels as we move from one plot point to the next.

The art is still lovely be the writing is lacking some of the zing I’d usually expect from this title. Hopefully things will pick up again next time.

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