Doctor Aphra Annual #2 Review: The belly of the beast


Doctor Aphra Annual 2: Winloss and Nokk opens with two monster hunters in pursuit of an ancient guardian … and it only gets better from there.

Sneaky, manipulative, always-in-it-for-the-credits Doctor Aphra is back. And as usual, she’s found herself in a tight spot – one she knows she can’t get out of without a little extra (hired) help,

Doctor Aphra Annual #2: Winloss and Nokk details another of Aphra’s many reckless adventures across the galaxy – told from two outsiders’ points of view. It probably doesn’t surprise you that she’s up to something. Something … messy.

In an ancient temple lies not only supposed treasure for the taking, but a dangerous beast tasked with keeping potential thieves away. Will greed win – or lose – in the end?

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Spoilers ahead! Proceed at your own risk.

Husband-and-wife monster hunting duo Winloss and Nokk have a bad feeling about their latest job. But completing their assignment on behalf of a new client could mean bigger and better jobs – and more credits to share.

Their “client” is someone called Aphra, an archaeologist who uses “ancient texts” to guide the rookie hunters through the temple and toward danger. She pushes them forward with an urgency only explained in the issue’s final pages.

Along the way, the couple encounters more than one hunter who has previously failed to capture – not kill – their target. Despite their suspicion, they continue on – even after Aphra “decides” she isn’t going to pay them the sum she promised.

It turns out the shadowfang beast Winloss and Nokk have been hunting swallowed Aphra whole after grabbing the temple’s treasure for herself. She needed someone to slay the monster (“gently” as she puts it) before it had the chance to digest her.

Winloss and Nokk were her last hope. And it ended up being their recklessness that freed her from the beast.

In total Aphra fashion, the archaeologist bent and twisted the truth to save herself from certain death – regardless of how many lives ended prematurely in the process.

As someone relatively new to comics, I am impressed with Doctor Aphra issue after issue as I have been from the beginning.

To me, the back-and-forth quips between lovers in these comics never gets old – and this one had plenty of it, since the story is told from the perspective of a married monster-hunting couple. I wasn’t disappointed when the “I love you/I know” line showed up. Beautiful.

Photo Credit: Caspar Wijngaard, Marvel Comics/Disney.

Annuals always allow a handful of extra panels to expand a storyline, further develop a character, or just give us more of the same banter and wild adventures loyal readers love. This one provided all three (and then some) and was definitely worth the wait.

Since we’re weeks away from the next Doctor Aphra issue release, I might flip back to the beginning and start reading all over again. I just can’t get enough – it’s that good.

If you’re just starting to get into comics – especially Star Wars comics – and don’t know where to start, Doctor Aphra is definitely the perfect gateway.

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The timeline falls between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, so it’s familiar territory – complete with plenty of familiar characters and the Star Wars version of Indiana Jones. What more could you want?