In Review: Doctor Aphra #13

This is fun, cool, and awesome.

The covers: Kamome Shirahama is the artist of the Regular cover and this is an absolute winner. In possession of a droid’s body, the Eternal Rur, who’s emitting his trademark green smoke, is standing blade to blade with Lord of the Sith Darth Vader. Hiding in the background on the floor is Aphra, looking very small and very concerned as the two villains battle to the death. The robotic Rur looks awesome, Vader is sensational, and I love that Aphra is not so cocky on this cover. The colors are also great, with the white background letting the characters pop. I really like this. The Star Wars 40th Anniversary cover by Rahzzah features a scene from the climax of Episode IV as Princess Leia, General Jan Dodonna, and See-Threepio look at the monitor before them to see how the battle fares to destroy the Death Star. Very cool looking, though not the most action packed of scenes. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant B-

The story: This is the concluding chapter of “The Enormous Profit” and things couldn’t being going worse for Aphra. Black Krrsantan and the evil droids, Triple-Zero and BeeTee, have abandoned her. She’s stuck behind an overturned table as the Eternal and Sith confront one another. The villainous dialogue from Kieron Gillen is outstanding. “You are not Sith. I would know it. I am the last of the Ordu Aspectu. I am a Jedi!” Vader replies, “Nothing stirs within you. All I sense is abomination.” Rur responds, “One of us is mistaken.” As the two battle, Aprha escapes on her hands on knees, only to run into Yonak and some of his goons who are pinned down by squad of stormtroopers, who are not missing their targets. How Aphra avoids getting killed is classic! I was really surprised to see Yonak have some later pages and it was funny and sad, with just a bit of creepy. Vader’s battle with Rur is excellent, with the conclusion being cool and where Rur ends up incredible! Page 18 shows Rur reposing in a location that teases some objects that would be the ultimate steal for the doctor. Perhaps a future story…? Page 15 had me laughing out loud at what Aphra is doing, as well as the name of the item that she’s holding. 19 has a nice throwback to the events of the Doctor Aphra Annual #1 with two characters getting some devastating justice. The final two pages have Aphra meeting up with an unwelcome character and back in trouble. This was a fantastic ending with every lead getting a perfect coda. This was a perfect ending. Overall grade: A+

The art: I was also taken by the visuals by penciller Kev Walker and inker Marc Deering. The book begins with three large panels focusing on the two big bads. Vader commands these panels as he is facing the reader in both, with him having a great close-up in the second panel. Rur gets a horizontal panel close-up for his first reveal. His constantly smoking head makes him wonderfully supernatural. The pair cross blades in a large panel on the second page, with Aphra — the title character — introduced in a small panel on this page, looking an absolute wreck. Her escape on Page 3 is great, and I love that she has to crawl out of the room to escape their notice. The reappearance of Yonak is excellent, and how he avoids being killed is a great visual. The tease at the bottom of Page 4 is fantastic, with the character’s emotions obvious. The smile that ends 5 was also on my face because of what Walker and Deering do. There’s a great subtle gesture in the fifth panel on 6 that deliciously foreshadows things to come. Vader and Rur’s battle is great, with Rur taking a swing at Aphra during the fight. There’s a slick three panel sequence on 10 that shows Vader’s command of the Force to be supreme. 14 has a parallel sequence that nicely shows Aphra manipulating two different people, with her ending up in a very unexpected location on 15. The reveal in the fourth panel on 19 makes that character truly horrific. In addition to the characters and their actions, the ships in this issue are incredible. The tech, overall, is really impressive throughout, having me wonder how this duo would do in a Poe Dameron issue. I’m a fan of both artists and will follow them to any book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The opening page is defined by its colors, being the red lightsaber of Vader and the blue blade of Rur, as well as his green supernatural smoke. The highlights on Vader’s close-up on the first page is awesome. This book could have been set rightly in the dark, as there are several outside scenes, but Antonio Fabela uses some bright colors to make every element of the art stand out. For example, notice that when Aphra is first shown she’s against a gray background, but her colors are bright, making her pop off the page. When next to Yonak, the background has got a creepy green color to tease the sick events that are soon to occur. The orange for the eyes of the character at the bottom of 4 is sweet. The rusty ship that a trio of characters take on 6 is fantastic. The corridor on 9 is a cool pale violet, giving the setting a futuristic setting, but, again, allowing Aphra to really stand out. The reds and greens on 10 are awesome. The reds on 18 are to die for! I’m hoping that Fabela stays on this book with Walker and Deering. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Joe Caramagna of VC is this book’s letterer creating Rur’s speech and droid dialogue (the same font), dialogue, a whisper, yells, scene settings, a familiar growl, and a familiar droid’s bleeps. I have a lot of unfilled wishes for this element of the book: Rur and the droid having different fonts — though they are, technically, both droids, the dialogue being a stronger font, the scene settings not looking so plain, and some sounds. Caramagna has done sensational sounds on other books, but the Star Wars titles continually tie letterers’ hands from putting the iconic sounds in. Lightsabers and blaster shots are disappointingly silent. Overall grade: B- 

The final line: A perfect conclusion to this saga with Vader and a long dead Jedi battling, while Aphra is just trying to stay alive. This is fun, cool, and awesome. You’ve got to check this out! 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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