Doctor Aphra #38 Review

by Ellie J. on November 07, 2019

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment

Doctor Aphra #38 continues through the series' final arc before the 2020 relaunch, and as you'd expect from Aphra, it's really good. In the first issue, Aphra started her job working for Darth Vader, aka the person in the Galaxy that hates her the most. Her job is to find the Rebel Base, and she's much better at it than her colleagues. Unfortunately, they all hold rank over her, and her input is ignored. What follows is a wild goose chase around abandoned moons; in the process, she "took care of" her boss that was giving her such a hard time, as well as Vulaada, her ward from Milvayne. That issue ended with her reuniting with her father... another Imperial prisoner.

The problem I've had with a lot of the previous Aphra arcs is that they've been fairly repetitive. Aphra goes on a job, she betrays everyone, feels bad, encounters someone from a previous arc, and escapes in time for the next arc. Since this is the final arc, it finally does something different, which already makes it leagues better than other arcs. Back to the story, she watches as Triple-0 and BT-1 (now with Imperial restraining bolts) get the location of a possible Rebel base from her dad. The whole cast travels down to the moon, where they find a Shrine created by some ancient Force Cult. 

Part of why this arc is so much better is that it doesn't have to follow the formula the series usually follows; instead of setting up the story for several issues, it jumps right in, and it's so much better. During the trip to the moon, we get both a heartfelt Aphra moment and a dark-but-sad Vader moment. Vader's psyche is attacked by the Shrine itself, and he sees the phantoms of his old family, from Qui-Gon to Ahsoka. Meanwhile, Aphra and her dad have their heartfelt talk while waiting to be inevitably killed. I won't spoil what happens in the conversation, but it takes a different turn than most of these kinds of scenes (where Aphra is told she'll never change and is a horrible person. 

The issue ends on another stinger, just in time to save Aphra's dad from being killed. I really loved this issue; taking a different turn from previous stories was the perfect move, and Vader getting his own great moment was icing on the cake. The art from Caspar Wijngaard has been stellar too; it's more stylized than the art of my Emilio Laiso (my favorite artist that's worked on Aphra), but I think that's a good thing. I'm really looking forward to the rest of this final arc, as well as the relaunch next year.

Our Score:


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