In Review: Doctor Aphra #17

Chaos follows Aphra as she and the mercenaries board a Rebel ship commanded by a familiar face.

The covers: Tolvan and Aphra cover their ears as something major explodes above them in orange and yellow, though the squadron of stormtroopers behind them seem unaffected. This cover by Ashley Witter shows the title character well, with her in the foreground, as well as introducing Tolvan. The coloring of the explosion overpowers the image, though, with the details in Tolvan lost. The troopers do have a neat ghostly appearance because of their coloring. Rod Reis returns for another Galactic Icons Variant cover, this time focusing on Luke Skywalker from The Last Jedi. He’s my favorite Star Wars character, so I’m incredibly biased to begin with, but I do think this looks awesome. Overall grades: Regular B and Galactic Icons Variant A+

The story: One of the joys of this series is how out of control things get for Aphra during one of her schemes, mirroring the out of control action of the Star Wars films. This issue begins with a pilot in an X-wing unable to control his ship and asking for assistance. It’s given easily, seeing as how he’s a rookie training to fly. He’s safely pulled into an old Trade Federation Lucrehulk being used by some Rebels, where the commander asks the R.G. how many pilots she’s currently training. A masked figure estimates six or seven, leading the commander to state he’ll deal with the new recruits who’ve arrived. The group is comprised of Aphra and the surviving mercenaries from last issue, who are there to take something from the Rebels. They don’t get far before encountering a famous character from a Star Wars television show and their luck runs out. Kieron Gillen & Si Spurrier have Aphra in the worst possible situation on Page 10 and literally have a recurring character drop in on her. I admire this character’s drive and goal, but the relationship this individual has with Aphra is wonderfully complicated. A great plot twist occurs on 13, allowing for the characters to reconvene for a good old fashioned stand off. One character almost gets to state a classic line from Return of the Jedi before one of the mercs gets a sensational action sequence. 18 again shows that Aphra is not enjoying her newest job, with her captured cargo complicating things. This was undeniably fun, with the world continuing to conspire to make the title character’s life complicated. Overall grade: A

The art: I like the visuals on this book, but the first panel of this issue is obviously based on a pilot from A New Hope, so I was confused by what I was witnessing in this opening. The double-paged splash that reveals the Trade Federation ship is great, instantly giving this book an epic feel. The tease of the individual in the final panel on Page 3 is also good, with only the coloring foreshadowing who this character is. The bridge of the ship is excellent, with it looking as it did in the films, populated with some terrific looking characters, including Aphra and the mercs. In fact, Aphra’s first close-up, in the final panel on 4, is wonderful, with her flashing a million credit smile. The subtle actions by one of these villains that ends Page 5 foreshadows future actions. The character that escapes Aphra and runs rampant on 6 and 7 looks incredible and if Marvel doesn’t get a plush doll made of this creature they will be missing out on some easy money. The reveal on 8 is terrific and got my heart racing; this character’s inclusion in this series is fantastic. Emilio Laiso does this character justice, with this individual sensational in every panel. The fourth panel on Page 12 had me clapping in joy; both of these characters need this moment to make their lives have a moment of peace. The final two panels on 14 expertly shows two groups of characters from the other’s perspectives, which lead to a series of tense actions on 15. The character in action on 16 is a revelation in crazy character construction that comes off superbly. Aphra’s subtle movements in six panels on 18 is great, while the final page of the issue, a full-paged splash, visually sets several promises for the next installment. I love Laiso’s work. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: The interiors of a Trade Federation ship didn’t inspire a wide swath of colors for this issue. I was wrong. Rachelle Rosenberg does an exceptional job on the coloring. Look at the light violets she uses beginning on Page 4, giving the ship a warm, lively feel. A key sound on Page 5 is given a bright yellow to draw the reader’s eye. The coloring on the creature running amok on 6 and 7 is great, with the blending of its colors excellent. The colors on 8 really make the revealed character stand out against the blue backgrounds. The electricity that comes into play on 13 looks great, with the sound popping well in a powder blue. Look at the back lighting in the final panel on 14 — perfection! The bright oranges used on 16 and 18 make the actions intense. I love Rosenberg’s work on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna creates this issue’s dialogue, transmissions and droid speech (the same font), sounds, ship alerts, and a scene setting. I’m still not liking this franchise’s dialogue or scene settings, but the sounds and ship alerts are good. I don’t recall seeing ship alerts like this before and they look incredibly strong, just like they were being blared throughout the ship. Overall grade: B

The final line: Chaos follows Aphra as she and the mercenaries board a Rebel ship commanded by a familiar face. The story is fun, with plenty of action and drama, not to mention a bit of romance. The visuals are excellent, with the characters outstanding and the setting splendid. This is another terrific installment in this series. Overall grade: A

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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