STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #1
Written by: Kieron Gillen
Art by: Kev Walker
Published by: Marvel Comics
I enjoy a good Star Wars movie like everyone else, but by no means would I call myself a hardcore fan. This goes for Star Wars comic books as well, I’ve tried getting into several, but the only series I enjoyed was the 2012 Dark Horse monthly written by Brian Wood. Sadly, I had to stop reading that series due to budget cuts in my comic allowance if you will.
I did try a few of the Star Wars series once Marvel took over the line, but the result was the same. I never thought I’d find a decent Star Wars comic from Marvel, but that all changed last week when I picked up a copy of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1.
Doctor Aphra #1 takes place after the events in the Darth Vader comic, where as far as Vader and the galaxy at large are concerned, Aphra is dead. This frees her to resume her work as an archaeologist, but being “dead” doesn’t mean she doesn’t have problems like everyone else. Aphra owes a massive piles of credits to both a criminal cartel and her “partner,” Black Krrsantan. And I almost forgot, Black Krrsantan is basically Chewbacca, except they’re not exactly friends, and Black Krrsantan is only here to collect a debt.
The plot in issue #1 is to set the table for what’s to come, but the issue’s dark sense of humor is what sold me on the series. I don’t know if any other writer other than Gillen would be able to pull off a story like this. He even gave the book a sense of danger and a feeling that no one is safe and anything could happen.
With a quirky style that reminded me of Olivier Coipel’s early work, Kev Walker is a great match for Gillen’s storytelling. He’s able to capture both the darkness and the humor of this corner of the Star Wars universe, while at the same time giving us some stellar character designs.
This issue also comes with a backup feature from Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca, one that takes us back to Aphra’s time as an archaeologist in training. This story is good, but what surprised me the most was the art. Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Salvador Larroca was one of my favorite artists in comics. Then, in the late 2000’s, he changed his style so much that it became unrecognizable. But in this Aphra back up, I saw glimpses of the artist whose art I used to enjoy.
Doctor Aphra is already a worthy addition to Marvel’s Star Wars lineup. It offers the franchise, one bolstered by a strong cast that aren’t constrained by the limitations of the movies or other Star Wars projects. Whether you followed Gillen’s entire Darth Vader saga or are simply diving in fresh, this first issue has a lot to offer Star Wars fanatics.
From what I understand, Doctor Aphra is Marvel’s first series to focus on comic book-specific Star Wars character, rather than one made famous by the movies and animated series. But for someone like me who is not a Star Wars expert, that’s one of the best things about Doctor Aphra. Because this book is not guided by the movies or tv shows, it gives writer Kieron Gillen and artist Kev Walker the endless possibilities.
Doctor Aphra succeeds in offering a funnier, quirkier take on to Marvel’s other Star Wars comics. The result is a book that feels very much like a strange hybrid of Han Solo with a dash of Indiana Jones, and it works! Now, I hope my comic store still has a copy of issue #2 left…
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 score: A