Published: June 30, 2021
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Alyssa Wong
Penciler: Minkyu Jung
Inker: Victor Olazaba
Colourist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Sara Pichelli & Nolan Woodard
MYSTERIES ABOUND ABOARD A DURGE-ANGED SHIP! DOCTOR APHRA and SANA STARROS discover an eerie abandoned ship while on a new mission from DOMINA TAGGE. But on board they will come face-to-face with a nightmarish horror not seen in the galaxy for untold eons. And then there’s….THE FEARSOME BOUNTY HUNTER DURGE!
War of The Bounty Hunters, so much has happened so far and yet we have only scratched the surface getting into these events. As a huge fan of the original Clone Wars series, I was overjoyed to see the return of Durge last issue, and I cannot wait to see him in action. Wong loves her crossovers, from The High Republic to Solo she has included them all, and I’m sure she has some surprises for us. We also have Minkyu Jung returning to complete the art. Well let’s see where this issue takes us…
The issue begins like something from an Alien movie. This entire series has always created a huge amount of atmosphere in every single setting Aphra finds herself in. For this one, there is an underlying sense of creepiness that seeps into all the pages. Wong keeps the speech and noise in these parts to a minimum, allowing the reader to sense the eerie silence that is on the ship. It is the visuals that really help to guide us through here and it works very well.
Yet it is, and should be, Durge who steals the show for this issue. He has very few lines, yet his entrance and his sheer tenacity comes through every single panel. It is a joy to see him being like he was in The Clone Wars, and he is very true to character. What I found interesting, was that Durge seems to have a code, that when a deal is struck, he sticks to it. I wonder if this is an important factor for later in the series, that Durge will not be able to be corrupted, that amongst groups who are notorious for backstabbing, Durge will be the one character who’s motives we can trust. We don’t learn too much about him here, and this is how it should be. Too often in Star Wars, we have all the blanks filled in for us, usually leaving fans disappointed. The mystery that used to be Boba Fett, would allow fans talking about who he was for months, Durge should also be a character like that. We don’t need more information; we just need to see what he does best. Wong brings humour through this issue utilising what readers know about the universe, comments such as these creatures are supposed to be extinct, very similar to Durge not being alive during this time. It allows us as the reader to laugh, but not ruin the atmosphere for the characters in the story.
Wong continues to build on the relationship of Aphra and Sana. I always love the comparisons that we have with these two characters, the fact that they never think alike and are very different people. In this issue, we see Aphra, being typical Aphra. She sees everything as an opportunity, whether that is to find more information or to loot while on a job. She will also go to any lengths to survive (no surprise!). Sana, on the other hand, is loyal to whatever job she is on. She, like Durge, has a code that she does not like to betray. It means Sana finds it difficult to understand and appreciate what Aphra does. I also wonder, if this will eventually get Sana into trouble with beings like Durge, who are betrayed by Aphra. Aphra is always trying to get Sana’s approval, yet the more time that passes, the more she proves she isn’t like Sana at all.
Last review, I said that the issue didn’t feel like a prelude but more like concluding the current events happening in the series. This issue felt far more like the prequel to the series. This saw Aphra and Sana being placed into position, ready for issue 2 of War of the Bounty Hunters. This is how they get their invite and made aware of Crimson Dawn. It was never in doubt that Aphra would be there, but now we know how she gets her invite. Wong also shows us Lucky on his way to the same event, seemingly having grown somewhat thoughtful to his actions. Surely this will be when Aphra and him butt heads again?
The artwork has an awful lot of action in this issue and Jung is more than up to the task. The flow of the battles is easy to follow and Durge has never looked so good! However, the jaw dropping moment of the issue is the very last page, made up of several panels that take the breath away. Jung really creates a page that stays with you and makes sure that if you weren’t excited for the War of the Bounty Hunters #2, you will be!
This issue is the set-up issue, the issue to have our characters in place ready for the next step in the War of the Bounty Hunters. It is much easier for new readers to access through this issue, and it has the added bonus of having Durge in. The atmosphere, the fire fights and the lead in ready for issue two of War of the Bounty Hunters makes this a very enjoyable issue. Wong utilises Durge perfectly, never focusing on him too much or giving him too much to say. He is still the mystery that we know him (or don’t know!) for. With these characters now part of the ‘big’ Crimson Dawn event, there is no way to predict where the story will go next, but safe to say, Aphra won’t keep out of trouble for long…
Doctor Aphra (2020) is an ongoing series available from Marvel. This issue is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.