Doctor Aphra Annual #1

Doctor Aphra #1

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Marc Laming and Will Sliney
Colorist: Jordan Boyd
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: David Nakayama

Doctor Aphra #1 steps back in time a little as it shows how Aphra got her auction started and reveals Black Krrsantan’s gladiatorial past. There’s some cheeky underground reporters, some action, and some reveals. Overall, it’s a decent issue.

Everything begins on Kashyyyk as we get the beginning of Krrsantan’s story. A group of Trandoshan slavers have the bad luck of running into Krrsantan who proceeds to kill almost all of them. He saves one, and in return that Trandoshan hands him over to the Xonti Brothers. Thinking he’s volunteering for some combat training from some elite gladiatorial trainers, Krrsantan is surprised to find that no one is treated kindly by the Xonti Brothers. They put him in chains, in a cage, and throw him at all kinds of grueling obstacles alongside other aliens. Eventually the narrow down their cast of trainees to just two. This is where we learn what makes Krrsantan special. The Xonti’s basically turn him into Wolverine to make him more valuable. They alter his his endo skeleton and put metal plating on his hands. He wins their little tournament, and so ends their story, leaving readers to wonder what made him want to seek out the Xonti’s, and what happened to him afterwards. Either way, it’s said that he now seeks revenge against the Xonti’s for what they did to him, even though he volunteered for it in the first place. He just got in over his head.

On one hand, it’s nice to finally get Krrsantan’s background. On the other hand, it’s kind of predictable and a little disappointing. The only real redeeming factor in the story is that he was foolish enough to volunteer for it, which is kind of funny, but it’s at Krrsantan’s own expense. Aside from the Wookiee’s backstory, there’s a pair of very talkative journalists who interview Krrsantan to get his story, and a side plot with Aphra and the murder droids. Aphra uses the distraction to get some free advertising for her auction scheme. All in all, it’s an okay story. It’s not great, but it’s not bad. The timing could have been a little better if this issue came out before the auction, as this would have made more sense then. As is, it feels like too little, too late without the big payoff a backstory reveal like this should have.

The artwork starts off pretty strong but gets a little weaker when toward the end. I really liked the way the Trandoshan hunt panels looked as the Trandoshans were on top form. I also liked the menagerie of aliens in the gladiator school, including a Herglic (the orca whale alien). The action flowed smoothly enough to follow, but there was something lacking with some of the bigger panels. They didn’t quite have the impact they needed in my opinion.

As a one shot that fills in a little bit of the plot missed by the main series, Doctor Aphra #1 provides some entertainment, but it’s nothing to blow your socks off. I give it a three out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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