Doctor Aphra #1 Review

by Sam Jarron on May 27, 2020

Author: Alyssa Wong
Artist: Marika Cresta
Color Artist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterist: Joe Caramagna
Cover: Valentina Romenar
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment

After months of waiting, Aphra's finally back! I hope everyone reading this is staying safe, wearing masks, and socially distancing. Anyway, after an extended hiatus, Doctor Aphra's back for her second series. This series, or at least this issue, has a whole new creative team, and if this issue is any indication, this relaunched series is gonna be something special. Like the other relaunched Star Wars series, Doctor Aphra #1 jumps past Empire Strikes Back to a new era. The previous series spanned the three years between A New Hope and Empire, so this one will probably span the six or so months leading up to Return of the Jedi.

This first issue starts off with a bang, introducing us to Aphra's new crew. Black Krrsantan's there, as he has been since the beginning, but they're joined by the smuggler Just Lucky, archeology student Detta Yao, doctor Eustacia Okka, and Okka's droid TA-418. This first issue is largely set-up for the first arc of the series, and introduces all these characters one-by-one. The issue does a good job of retaining Aphra's signature pessimistic-Indiana-Jones-in-space feel, while also feeling new and refreshing.

The conflict that brings all these characters together is the pursuit of the Rings of Vaale, a set of artifacts created eons ago. They each have their own reasons for wanting the treasure, and they form a reluctant alliance to get it. It's a pretty standard set-up, but it's done so well. But they aren't alone in their search. The issue also introduces Aphra's newest antagonist, Ronen Tagge. That's right, Ronen Tagge of the Tagge family. This is a really deep cut! The Tagge family was first introduced in the original Marvel Star Wars series in 1977, where Domina Tagge, the sister of the Cassio Tagge that appeared in A New Hope, is an adversary of Luke, Leia, and Han. The new family member, Ronen, is Domina's nephew, and there's a fun reference to her here.

There's not a whole lot of story to this issue; it ends with Ronen learning about Aphra's newest adventure and sending a fleet to capture her and the Rings. The issue was really, really good! It did a fantastic job of introducing a whole new cast of characters, and all of them are endearing and interesting in their own way. Wong's fantastic writing was only lifted up by the fantastic art and lettering from Cresta, Rosenberg, and Caramagna. Star Wars comics have had an... issue with artists in the past, largely in the main Star Wars series, but everyone on this creative team really brought their A game. This issue reminded me that Doctor Aphra really is the best original character with the best stories in Star Wars publishing, and I can't wait to see where it goes next!

Our Score:


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