Writer Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader series ended a couple months ago. The 25 issue series (plus an annual), is the rare example of a 20+ issue series that’s at least great from start to finish. The last story arc was particularly good, featuring Darth Vader on a rampage against a bunch of traitors within the Empire. One of the major supporting characters in the Darth Vader series is Dr. Aphra, an archeologist and a bit of an AI expert. She’s a great character in her own right, and as of today, she’s got her own solo series.
Right away, this comic feels kind of like an Indiana Jones story taking place in the Star Wars Universe and starring a small group of potential villains. The opening pages perfectly showcase what Dr. Aphra is morally capable of, and the way she later describes the events to Triple-0 is a great line. Triple-0 by the way is an assassin droid disguised as a protocol droid, and he’s as delightfully cold as ever in this comic. There’s a touch of Han Solo in Dr. Aphra’s personality as she tries to talk her way out of some debts, but she’s more aggressive about it. This issue does a great job at setting up the series premise, giving us a number of entertaining moments and providing quite the cliffhanger ending.
The art by Kev Walker is great. The smug look on Aphra’s face when she first shows up perfectly sums up her character. The whole comic looks and feels like Star Wars, with Aphra’s dirty old speeder, strange creatures standing in fields and an even mix of humanoid people and weird aliens in the backgrounds. There isn’t much action in this issue, but the action flows well from panel to panel, with good use of debris after one particular explosion. Antonio Fabela’s colouring is also great. Everything is bright and colourful in outside shots, while there’s a strong brown tint inside an old bar.
There’s also a backup story that flashes back to her doctorate studies. Without spoilers, it shows that even at a young age, Aphra was already a bit of an arrogant, yet brilliant and manipulative student. The rivalry between Aphra and her Doctorate supervisor is entertaining and could very well be worth exploring further in this series. The art in this story is handled by Salvador Larroca with Edgar Delgado on colouring, and it’s fantastic. Aphra’s younger self shows a lot of energy and optimism when she’s talking with her friends, yet she’s still got that determined look when she’s on a mission. There’s a lot of detail in the environments in this story as well, giving the University a balance between a familiar feel and a science fiction look.
This is a great comic – possibly my favourite of the week. It perfectly sets up the premise while giving us some entertaining dialogue and a bit of an unexpected cliffhanger ending. The ending could take the next issue in a number of directions, also giving this comic an unpredictable feel that’s perfect for a bit of an unpredictable character. If you enjoyed Darth Vader’s solo series, you’ll probably enjoy this. Also if you’re interested in an Indiana Jones type story taking place in the Star Wars Universe, why not give this a shot?