Published: November 17, 2021
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Alyssa Wong
Penciler: Minkyu Jung
Colourist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Sara Pichelli
A DEADLY GAME!
DOCTOR APHRA and SANA STARROS have escaped the VERMILLION, but there’s no escaping CRIMSON DAWN: their spies are EVERYWHERE! As DOMINA TAGGE contends with moles within TAGGE CORPORATION and Aphra struggles with the damage inflicted on her by a POWERFUL ARTIFACT, they strike one last bargain… But who can Aphra really trust?
The Last few issues over Doctor Aphra have really shown how far Wong has come with the character. It has been a joy to read: light-hearted, plenty of action and looking at a different side of the galaxy. Now Wong promises to deal with the aftereffects of The War of the Bounty Hunters, not only for the character of Aphra but also for Domina Tagge, a character I’m loving more and more as Wong reveals more and more. With the talented Minkyu Jung joining her, this promises to be another great issue.
This feels like a very balanced issue between all the different parties that are playing a part, with elements taking us right back to the start of the series. The first, and most fascinating, part for me is the Tagge corporation. Ever since Wong introduced it I have been fascinated about their wider role in the galaxy, the more we’re shown, the more I want to see. Here Wong shows the corporation trying to find and eradicate the moles within it. Like most corporations in the real world, there is a very businesslike approach that sees its workers as nothing more than people who completely jobs, rather than the entire person. Of course, the Tagge’s are no different and neither is Domina. As soon as she strides onto the page, she brings with her a sense of power, ruthless and detachment. Domina is one of Wong’s strongest characters and a great one to run alongside Aphra.
Mentioning the Doctor, she cannot be forgotten. Beginning with her ‘dead’ arms, Aphra almost feels useless, as if her greatest power has been taken away. Sana is there to help her maintain her cool, to see things logically and how things can be improved. Aphra doesn’t have much, but Wong shows that her arms are something that she uses as part of her identity, they’re apart of her like a lot of people’s tattoos do. It would perhaps have been interesting to see just what losing these powers would have done to Aphra, yet Wong doesn’t leave the lady hanging for very long. Upgrades! It seems obvious after it is mentioned, but clearly her tattoos need to be upgraded once in a while. How Aphra hasn’t kept on top of this is anyone’s guess, yet the whole idea that she’s had a service and now has better abilities is really cool. I’m sure as the issues unfold, we’ll see more and more of these come to light. We also get to see Aphra’s knowledge at work here, with her citing information about the Ascendant. The focus on the artefact is intriguing and I can’t help but want to know more. It’s a mystery that Aphra is going to have to unravel and through it, I’m sure we’ll have more history lessons (which sounds far more boring than it actually is – they’re great to read!).
There is a lot of unfinished business for Lucky and although War of the Bounty Hunters has finished, we still get to see these loose ends somewhat answered by Wong. There is still more left to tell but I wonder if this will be saved for the next part in the Crimson Dawn trilogy. Wong never overuses Lucky, it’s very small doses that lead to a much grander story. It’s these snippets that leave us wanting more and makes sure that Aphra is still inevitably the focus of these stories.
The artwork in this issue is exactly what you’d expect from Jung, who travels from starships to Corellia to Coruscant with ease, giving distinctive feels to all the different locations. Jung does a tremendous job with Aphra’s flashback and her holding the device, the shift between the past and the present feeling almost cinematic. Yet the page for me that really stood out were the arms. The angle, the atmosphere that was conveyed, worked extremely well in the story.
Trust Wong to leave us with not one but two shocks at the end of the issue. First is the mysterious hooded figure that is with Aphra and Sana. Begin your guessing now! Has Wong made it obvious or tried to provide false hints? And the return of a character familiar to those who have read the entire series. It’s a great way to end.
Wong has really found her footing with Aphra and is really pushing this series in the direction it needs to go. It feels like this series has finally found its place in Star Wars, its own unique qualities showing through and the characters true to themselves. Without too much more to tell of War of the Bounty Hunters, Wong can focus on these pieces, rather than trying to move Aphra to fit the crossover event. With cliffhangers like this, I can’t wait for the next issue to arrive!
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.