Comic Review: Doctor Aphra (2020) #15

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Published: October 13, 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

The synopsis;

“PARTY FAVORS” CRIMSON DAWN is back, and DOCTOR APHRA is trapped aboard their ship! What treasures lie aboard the VERMILLION? And what price will Aphra have to pay to obtain them?

The review;

The last issue of Doctor Aphra felt like a breath of fresh air, with Aphra able to spread her wings a little and move the series away slightly from the crossover War of the Bounty Hunters. With this part of the event ending, I can’t wait to see where Wong directs this issue, presumably steering it more into Aphra territory than having to fit into the overall arc. It’s also great to see the return of Minkyu Jung to the series. Without further delay, lets dive in…

Star Wars meets Indiana Jones, at least that’s how the character of Aphra was originally sold. Here we really get to see why. Wong continues with the feeling that this is Aphra through and through, this is her story, not that of the bounty hunters of Crimson Dawn. This is a fast-paced, full of action issue that doesn’t stop until the very end. Yet with so much action, there are so many questions! We get to see a new piece of technology, the thought Dowser, a weapon from The Ascendant. None of this is familiar but I love that Aphra knows so much about it and the race. Wong gives a brief history lesson of them, but it is far too brief, I want to know a lot more about them. It’s these insights into different cultures that really allows Aphra to be unique, as not only do we get to see a culture, but we get a glimpse into the past.

Through this artefact we get to see Aphra with power, which when you consider some of the choices this character has made, is absolutely terrifying. What I find interesting is that Aphra has got up against the likes of Darth Vader, she has seen the power of the force. Yet, even with that experience, she still finds it difficult to understand how that power can be imbued with technology. For Aphra, they are two, completely separate things that can’t mix. The fact that she can actually feel that power through her circuit’s surprises Aphra. Having touched such power, to have had it coursing through her, it makes you wonder if that effect won’t remain with her as we go through the next part of the story.

What the artefact also allows us to do is to finally see an Aphra with regrets, who is actually thinking about the consequences of her actions. We saw this at the end of the previous series, but, as expected with a character like this, she forgets the lessons she has learnt, or at least appears to. Wong shows us that that Aphra is still there but doesn’t make an appearance too often. Sana comments how Aphra is possibly maturing, and I really feel that you can get a sense of that. She is someone who won’t just kill to be able to get out of a situation, that everyone is worth something. Even with Lucky, she allows him to live. With seeing how these have interacted in the last couple of issues, I’m very glad Wong made this decision. The two are very alike and even though he is new to this series, there is something very likeable about Lucky, who has a very vulnerable side.

The artwork by Jung is incredible. The full page spread of Aphra picking up the Dowser was stunning and felt very like the Raiders of the Lost Ark moment. The action, and there is a lot, moves at a very fast pace but Jung makes sure you know exactly what is happening at every step. The last page really struck a chord with me, the design, the layout, it worked beautifully.

And speaking of that ending. How far down the rabbit hole has Aphra got herself? Although this felt very much like an Aphra issue, Wong was able to steer it to, what I presume, is that next arc involving Crimson Dawn. The revelation is very compelling, even more so that it is Aphra who has found this information along with Sana. Sana has rebel ties, yet Aphra likes money and is working for Tagge. Where this information will send these two characters is anyone’s guess, but it sets up a lot of friction between these two. That’s just the effects for the series, in terms of the wider galaxy, this has far bigger implications. Just how long have Crimson Dawn been in these different organisations and how far is their reach. I’m sure all will be answered soon!

Doctor Aphra really feels like its once again getting back to its roots, to the elements that made us fall in love with the character and the series. This is Aphra running around, causing chaos, showing off her knowledge of ancient civilisations and getting caught up in far greater political machinations. And so, she should, as Aphra is one of the few characters that you are never sure how she will act with a given situation. She is the wildcard, which when played correctly, can really surprise characters and readers alike. Wong has really set up the series to go in an exciting direction and I can’t wait to see which path she’ll take.


Doctor Aphra (2020) is an ongoing series available from Marvel. This issue retails at $3.99 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores.

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