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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Doctor Aphra #17

Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Doctor Aphra #17

This review of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #17 contains minor spoilers.

There’s no denying that the Doctor Aphra series is the Star Wars comic that melds mayhem and mirth.

It’s a delicate balance to maintain and has done so consistently throughout it’s run. Which is to say that the current issue is laugh aloud, violent and, for the first time, cringeworthy, too.

But more about the latter later. For now, let’s get to the high point of the Kieron Gillen and Si Spurrier-scripted story that was superbly illustrated by artist Emilio Laiso and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna in a way that not just emphasized the story, but gave it an edge that’s not usually seen in comics.

Part IV of the ongoing “Remastered” arc, Aphra and her assembled team of mercenaries, ne’er do wells and seemingly paladin-inspired lackeys find themselves aboard a Rebel Alliance training base that was a former Trade Federation control ship.

That right there is enough to fall head over heels for this issue. Gillen and Spurrier are doing an amazing job tying into the Prequel Trilogy to the Original Trilogy that’s organic in its nature without the slightest hint of feeling forced.

It gets better, though, given that the Aphra comes face to face with Hera Syndulla of Star Wars: Rebels fame. It’s a stirring moment that, frankly, was unexpected, though teased in recent solicits for the next issue.

Her reveal is brief, at first, but then she quickly takes over as the crux of the story, meaning Aphra’s there for a reason that benefits not just her oversees, Triple Zero and BT-1, but herself, too.

Alas, that’s where the aforementioned cringeworthy moment comes into play, albeit as a cliffhanger set up for issue #18.

Long story short, Aphra’s crew takes down most of the Rebel forces aboard the ship and takes Hera prisoner. That’s to be expected, after all, given Aphra is, at her core, a morally ambiguous character with an allegiance to no one (she’s the original DJ). Hera, it seems, is to be offered up to the Imperials in trade.

That, too, is a given. After all, Hera’s a key Rebel and one long sought by the Empire, but the way she’s presented, bound with a red ribbon atop her head was over the top and pushed the comic into territory more appropriate for a Harley Quinn or Deadpool comic, not a Star Wars comic.

Still, it’s the only real flaw in this issue, but hopefully one that won’t be repeated. Why? I just don’t believe Aphra would do something like that. While she’s capricious by nature and wholly chaotic, she’s not a demeaning person.

Introducing Hera, who was last seen in a Marvel comics during the 12-issue run of the supremely satisfying Star Wars: Kanan maxi series, is long overdue. Knowing she’s in the next two issues is also good.

Just so long as she’s treated as the major character that she is instead of comic relief.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #17 is in comic shops now, selling for $3.99, and on Comixology.

(For more detail and discussion, tune in to the next episode of Comics With Kenobi.)

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