Comics: Marvel Studios Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 (2016) – Reviewed

Doctor Aphra is a scoundrel archaeologist that is a cross between Han Solo and Laura Croft, with the addition of a homicidal droid duo. She was introduced in the Star Wars: Darth Vader comic and now has her own series that is just beginning. She faked her death in order to escape Darth Vader and is now roaming the galaxy with her droid companions and the Wookie warrior Black Krrstan, whom she owes a great deal of money to. This issue, and most likely the forthcoming, is broken down into two stories with one writer and different artists working on each story. One focuses on Aphra’s Present story-line and the other deals with events form her past. There are six covers, including 5 special variant covers that were done by Kamome Shirahama.

The first story was written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Kev Walker, colored by Antonio Fabela, and lettered by Joe Caramagna. The narrative in this involves Aphra and her group finding a valuable artifact and trying to sell it. There is intense action, comedic dialogue, and the establishment of the dynamic of the characters as a group. The homicidal droids are humorous and deadly, such a fun pairing. The art from Walker is outstanding, with wonderfully drawn space crafts, droids, and action sequences. There are at least several pages with such impressive imagery in which I thought to myself, “Damn, I would love to own the original art.” The heavy black shading that is begun with Walker’s drawings and finished up with Fabela’s coloring is superb; it brings a look that is both visually pleasing and necessary for this world. The muted color palette that he employs is not as bright and flashy as the typical superhero book, but it works and is the most effective choice here.

The second story was written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Salvador Larroca, colored by Edgar Delgado, and lettered by Joe Caramagna. The narrative focuses on a younger Aphra, when she was in school to become a doctor of Archaeology. The story aspect is good; it begins to add some layers to the main character. The art is less impressive and ends up being more of a disappointment after the excellent imagery from the first half of the book. The wonderful dark shading is gone in place of more color and the typically bright superhero style coloring. There are some nice moments where color is used to create highlights on people’s faces.

Despite the let down that came from the second tale, this is a must buy for Star Wars fans. The extraordinary art, fun story, and interesting characters make this one worth checking out and keeping up with.