In Review: Doctor Aphra #27

When a Star Wars story is this fun, frantic, and fierce who else could it be about but Doctor Aphra?

The covers: A pair to pick up at your local comic book store. In the classic form of Star Wars peril, Chelli Aphra is hanging off the edge of a cliff giving a scream as an unseen foe steps on her hand. In the distance one can see that Triple-Zero has already fallen. This is the Regular cover by Ashley Witter and Aphra looks great; she’s beautiful and absolutely frightened. The perspective on this is really good with the heroine also looking very realistic. The only ding is that 0-0-0 is lost in the mist/clouds and is difficult to see. The Galactic Icons Variant cover features the galaxy’s most famous droid, R2-D2, as illustrated by Rod Reis. This is a fantastic image of the plucky droid who won’t back down from a fight, shown from just above his feet. These Galactic Icons covers have been the best Variant cover series on the entire Star Wars line. Overall grade: Regular A and Galactic Icons Variant A+

The story: How is it possible for this to be so filled with the wickedest characters in the Star Wars Universe and be absolutely such a delight to read? I find myself rooting for Aphra when she would sell out her own mother in a heartbeat. Simon Spurrier spends the first four pages of the issue reintroducing a pair of unsavory characters who take on a task from a surprising pair of characters. If one hasn’t figured out what’s going on, a reveal is given on Page 4. Aphra and Triple-Zero are still on Milvayne, unable to move away from one another without setting off bombs implanted within them, though those same proximity bombs have been triggered to explode in less than ten hours. While Aphra tries to figure out how to get to someone, far away, who can remove the devices, Trip watches some “organic justice” occur as three individuals are pushed off a ledge for breaking laws. The droid finds it fitting justice until witnessing some defective droids receiving the same punishment. The way Aphra is able to get both of them onto a conveyance is fun and how Triple-Zero gets into trouble is fantastic. The pair find a new ally, but in the process run across and old enemy who has a new, surprising partner. This is a flawless, fun tale. I just love this book. Overall grade: A+

The art: Emilio Laiso is the book’s artist and gets to start the book by reintroducing two characters and they look good. I like that their ship is a mess, showing the reader that this pair is not the most organized nor the neatest. It may sound odd, but there’s actually a really sweet panel, the fourth, between the two. The first panel on the second page will take the reader aback, unless one really takes the time and looks at everything that is and isn’t in it. The second panel on Page 4 is funny and the double reveal in the final panel on the page is gross and cool. When the story turns to the title character and 0-0-0 they look good and the setting is great. I love the first and second panels on Page 6, which establish the criminals, the individuals carrying out the sentence, and their fall: very smart of Laiso to have it be a long vertical panel. The last panel on the page shouldn’t have made me laugh, but it did. Triple-Zero’s visual response on the next page to this panel is great. I also like the fourth panel on 7 with that pointing finger necessary to increase Aphra’s guilt. The design of the vehicle and its driver that Aphra wants to use look outstanding. I’m not a fan of computer augmented art in comics, but I have to admit the final panel on 11 really puts Aphra in action. The large panel on 12 that introduces a new character — Okay, two new characters — is epic, with the design of the larger individual wonderful. Page 16 has the characters on the go and they look cool as they speed along. I love the look of joy on the driver’s face in the second panel. The next page focuses on Trip speaking to Aphra while siting behind her. By having this conversation as they speed along, it visually shows that Aphra can’t escape her past sins. The appearance on 18 is outstanding looking, but the final page, which is a full-paged splash, is scream worthy. WOW! I’m dying to see what Laiso creates in the next installment. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The first page that brings back two characters to this book is colored in really light colors. So much so that the characters blend in too easily with the background. There’s also a gray film put over the third panel for no reason. The colors improve with the reveal of the speaker on Page 2. This individual stands out due to her clothing and flesh tones. The final panel on 4 has an alien shown that’s colored beautiful, which belies what it’s used for. Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors improve tremendously when the action moves to Milvayne with the night looking slick in blues and greens. Triple-Zero’s eyes have him draw attention in every panel he appears, even when drawn in silhouette, for their piercing reds. The colors on the two new characters are also good, with the colors used for a specific set of goggles one owns outstanding. The greens used for the background as Aphra and her companions travel is also outstanding. Overall grade: A-

The letters: The text of this issue by VC’s Joe Caramagna contains dialogue, character identifiers, sounds, transmissions and droid speech, scene settings, yells, and a character’s unique speech. The sounds in this issue are fun, with most of them coming from the devices that pop out of Triple-Zero to flay others. The scene settings look better than those in other Star Wars books. The unique speech of the a character that appears on 18 is a give away to whom this individual is if the reader has been with this series for the last five issues. Overall grade: A

The final line: When a Star Wars story is this fun, frantic, and fierce who else could it be about but Doctor Aphra? The story is great, the dialogue delicious, the surprises epic, and the visuals outstanding. This book just makes me so happy with its twisted anti-hero. 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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