Star Wars comics: Doctor Aphra No. 32 review: Don’t look back


Star Wars: Doctor Aphra No. 32 begins a new story arc and lands Aphra in the hands of someone she never thought she would see alive again.

SPOILERS AHEAD for Doctor Aphra No. 32. You have been warned.

Two months have passed since Aphra’s latest near-death experience. Our anti-heroine has taken Vulaada on as her “trainee minion,” allowing her to tag along on her lively and dangerous endeavors across the galaxy.

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What starts out as a simple grab-and-run job quickly turns into the Aladdin/Star Wars crossover we never knew we needed.

Except instead of a magic carpet, it’s a not-so-magic cape. And there’s no genie hiding in a lamp, but there is a really big gun, and it’s definitely not the artifact they’re looking to steal.

They do successfully escape with the Jedi relic … only to be caught not by Imperials this time, but instead a team of rebels. Remember: Aphra has no loyalties. The whole galaxy is against her — at least, that’s what it often feels like.

But that’s not all this brand-new arc has to offer us. Nope — we also get some not-so-heartwarming flashbacks about Aphra’s childhood.

Her mother forcing her to leave her father behind.

Her mother leaving her behind.

But not before having it drilled into her head that signs of emotion are weak and “looking back” is overly suspicious.

Always in motion, our Aphra is. And not one to shed many tears, either. That explains a lot.

Now that we have the origins of Aphra’s too-tough-for-feelings attitude, the final panels of this issue are even more heartbreaking.

It’s not just any team of rebels who catch them in the act of theft.

It’s a team of rebels led by Tolvan — yes, that Tolvan.

Cue the tears.

Tolvan is back? And she’s part of the Rebel Alliance? And she’s now in charge of deciding the fate of the rogue archeologist she thought was long dead — oh, and also happens to be madly in love with?

Sigh. The misery never ends, does it?

Once again, Aphra and Tolvan are both caught on opposite sides of the fray and must figure out how to survive in a universe that will seemingly do anything except allow them to be together.

If this comic does one thing well, it’s those godforsaken cliffhangers.

What I love about this comic is that it’s frustratingly predictable. Not in plot, but in structure. You know exactly what you’re signing up for when you hold that new issue in your hands. You just know things are finally going to start going well for Aphra, only to come crashing down just at the hint of a smile.

She’s not “allowed” to be happy, and neither are we. I can accept that. For now.

For Aphra, though, it’s never about getting a happy ending, but instead managing to narrowly escape death … again.

Will she get out of this latest capture alive? Probably. Will she and Tolvan get the happy ending they deserve? Debatable. But hey — there’s always next issue.

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Doctor Aphra will return on June 12.