Doctor Aphra #35

Doctor Aphra #35

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Penciller: Andrea Broccardo
Inkers: Marc Deering, and Scott Hanna
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Ashley Witter

Doctor Aphra #35 is kind of a mix bag. Both the writing and artwork are so-so. It’s certainly not the best comic artwork out there, and it’s interesting that Marvel can’t seem to keep a consistent team on this series, or at least they don’t seem to care anymore now that it’s coming to an end. Spurrier, for his part, is stringing the arc along with a few tired out Aphra story tropes, but also a couple of unexpected surprises. However, it’s not enough to really sell the issue as a good story.

Things kick off with Aphra and Tolvan in a standoff. Somehow Aphra talks her down even though her deal is to turn the weapon over to the Empire, as if that is somehow a good outcome. The logic certainly make sense to Aphra as she’s always looking out for herself, and in this case, she can make a deal with them to get her own safety. But the deal doesn’t make any sense from Tolvan’s perspective. Sure, she still likes Aphra and doesn’t want her to die, but letting her make the deal isn’t the only way to secure that outcome. Regardless, Aphra makes her deal and winds up in the hands of the Empire’s PR division where the leader reveals that she wants to overthrow the Emperor. That’s the big twist the issue ends on. It’s kind of anticlimatic. First, we know she’s going to fail. Second, it explains why we never hear from these people again – they’re going to fail and get wiped out. The ending seems way too predictable, even if it does eventually take some surprising turn.

Add on top of all of that, Krrsantan’s tiny part in this arc is completely superfluous. There was not point of having him at all. And the flashbacks don’t seem to be doing much either. Are we suppose to infer that Aphra is suffering from severe psychological trauma from when she was a kid and is denying her past by regurgitating these awful things the Imperials told her back then? If so, that’s pretty deep and dark, which seems a bit off from what the series usually does. Storytelling aside, the dialog in the issue also isn’t anything stellar. A weak story can sometimes be carried along by really good character dialog, but we don’t get any of that here. The characters certainly have the potential, and we’ve seen good dialog in the past, but it just isn’t here in this issue. All in all, the writing was a little disappointing in this one.

The artwork is hit and miss, and overall is, well, okay. It’s not great, but it’s not that bad. The linework is actually pretty good, but the coloring makes the panels look extra cartoony. It’s hard to nail it down, but it’s like the coloring adds a simplicity to the artwork that not inherently there with the linework. I think it’s a mixture between the colorist’s color palette and the lighting effects and shading. While it might not bother some people, for some reason it doesn’t work for me. All that said, I did find it interesting that they included Darth Krayt’s Vong helmet from Legends in one of the panels when they show off the PR museum. Quite the easter egg even though it makes no sense for it to be there.

With middle of the road storytelling and artwork, this issue is okay, but it’s not something I’d consider praiseworthy. At this point I’m just hanging in to the end since I’ve invested so much time in reading the series so far. I give this one a two and a half out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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