Doctor Aphra #2

Doctor Aphra #2

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Kev Walker
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Kamome Shirahama

Doctor Aphra #2 introduces readers to Aphra’s dad and a little bit of the backstory between them. In doing so, in leads to a new quest for a lost order and a mystical ritual for immortality. There’s a lot of cheesy humor, and an interesting turn of events when they get to their first destination.

I like the artwork for the flashback scenes. The illustrations and the coloring came together really well, giving those images a different feel but keeping an enjoyable style.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what I think of this issue. The introduction of Aphra’s dad, in a way, is kind of dumbing down the story. First off, we now have a new pet name for Aphra, Boop, and it plays out as dumb as it sounds. Her dad is portrayed in a way that is very cartoonish and satirical. The artwork plays up on that, making him look goofy and added to the whole characterization of him being a bit of a dummy. The jokes poked at him and from him give the whole comic an edge that skews toward childish. Coupled with the artwork that is in itself bordering on very cartoonish, and you get a comic that feels very different from the Darth Vader series.

On the other hand, it’s not all bad. I like the glimpses this issue provided into Aphra’s background. We find out about her mom, what happened to her as a kid, and with the obsession her father has. Add that all together and we can get a better idea of how Aphra wound up the way she is. I also liked the threat she made with Triple-Zero, even if it was short lived, and I like the inclusion of the Massassi into the main plot.

This panels shows off some of the cheesiness, but in a good way. There’s a cartoonish style, but the coloring comes in to add a layer of depth and quality to the image that makes it work.

The crux of the matter could very well come down to the main plot. How will this pay off or play out? Gillen does something rather creative by including three versions of the story around the whole immortality ritual, or at least two versions depending on how much a joke Bee-Tee’s version was. This adds some mystery to where the plot can go. But the question I ask myself is how silly the story will get as it explores that road. Doctor Aphra #2 gets pretty silly. I’m not sure the silliness will play into its favor.

Again, in these panels above, you can see the way the lighting adds a lot to the artwork, giving it extra dimension and making it pop from the page.

Yet here, on the very next page of the comic, is a series of panels showing how much the coloring can vary. Here there is no high quality lighting. The images fall flat and the illustrations look more cartoony than ever. The style, when contrasted with the panels above and below, is drastically different.

That said, my biggest complaint with the issue is the artwork. While the direction of the writing has me a little worried, the art is what really hurts the most. Some of the illustrations are very cartoony, while some of them are less so. Some of the panels have nice coloration and lighting, and others feel bland. The more I scrutinize the panels, the more I realize how much the differences lie not just with the lines of the pictures, but the colors and lighting. Antonio Fabela’s style differs page to page and sometimes panel to panel. It could be that he has a lot of room for variation in his style or it could be that he rushes some panels/pages to give himself room for others. Whatever the case may be, it hurts some of the artwork when the coloration comes out rushed or not fully developed.

The comic ends with this image which leaves you wondering why the artists can turn in an entire comic on par with this panel. The lighting and coloring add a nice texture to a very detailed view of some awesome vehicles.

In critiquing this issue, I would say Gillen takes the story in an odd direction. It’s not out of the blue as the first issue certainly had some humor and there’s always been some silliness to Aphra and the murder droids, but this issue takes it just a little further. Toss in a bad Indiana Jones reference with “Junior” and the weak artwork from Kev Walker and Antonio Fabela which gets real cartoony in a lot of the panels, and you get a comic that throws you out of the story one time too many. I give this one a three out of five metal bikinis. It’s not horrible, but it could have been way better.

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Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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