STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #21 / Writer: Si Spurrier / Pencils: Kev Walker / Inks: Marc Deering / Colors: Java Tartaglia / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna / Cover Artist: Ashley Witter / Published June 27th, 2018
Incarcerated on board an Imperial prison barge, Doctor Aphra’s situation grows more tense as Imperial interrogators nearly discover the dangerous secret she holds about Darth Vader. On top of that, we learn both that the floating barge may be haunted and that the Empire uses the prisoners to fight as expendable soldiers during Imperial raids. The previous issue left off with Doctor Aphra obtaining a transmitter and the chance to call for help. Aphra’s one call is to Inspector Magna Tolvan, the Imperial officer with whom she is in love.
Doctor Aphra #21 is a love story set against the backdrop of an Imperial prison. Aphra contacts her current love interest in an attempt to break out while her ex, Sana Starros, works with the Rebellion to rescue her.
As a character, Aphra is usually full of bluster and maintains a cool composure even while events spiral dangerously out of control, but Spurrier, who took over writing duties from Kieron Gillen in issue #20, gives us a much more dispirited and emotional Aphra. Uncharacteristically open and introspective, she confesses her deepest secrets to Tolvan. Spurrier also provides Aphra and Sana Starros each a standout scene. Aphra expresses her views on good and evil while Sana tells of love gone bad and the pain that goes with it.
Kev Walker’s pencils and layouts reveal a story as fractured as Aphra herself, such as asymmetrical—and even upside down—panels as they walk on the underside of the barge. Marc Deering inks heavy shadows that loom over everything, and Java Tartaglia’s colors show all the grime and despair of the prison barge. Doctor Aphra #20 is less action-focused than previous issues, allowing the art to get in close with the characters and pushing emotions to the forefront. Aphra herself is drawn younger than other artists have depicted her. It’s not my favorite, but I do enjoy the overall look and style of the book.
Doctor Aphra is easily my favorite of the current Marvel Star Wars titles. Doctor Aphra #21 delivers with laugh out loud funny moments and great character moments. It’s light on action and answers, but the final pages feel like they are building toward something big in the next issue.
VERDICT 4 out of 5
Opinionated geek and writer born in the desert, raised on the beach, and now living in the mountains, Paul is a lifelong nerd who loves Star Wars, costuming, comic books, and all manner of geeky things.