In a galaxy desperate to overthrow its greatest threats, Doctor Aphra might finally have to choose a side if she wants to survive.
When everyone in the galaxy knows your name, you have a reputation to uphold. When you’re a rogue archeologist on the run from literally everyone, a whole new definition of “rebel” arises.
But it might finally be time for Doctor Aphra to choose a side. If she wants to live, that is.
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Spoilers ahead for Doctor Aphra No. 35 — proceed at your own risk.
Love, loss, and the pursuit of the illusion of freedom — these are the ingredients that make up a typical day in the life of Doctor Aphra.
Face to face with her former lover, things have somehow just gotten more complicated.
Ah, Magna Tolvan. We meet again. You know, feuding with your ex girlfriend over petty details is stressful enough as it is. Trying to hold your ex hostage over a potentially deadly weapon that technically doesn’t even belong to either of you? That’s rough.
Luckily, Aphra is able to convince Tolvan to let her go — among her many skill sets, sweet talking certainly seems to have its uses in times of trouble.
In hopes of escape, Aphra calls Vulaada back to the ship, offering her a harsh piece of advice as she struggles to leave her past behind.
“You gotta let go of the things that don’t fit the big picture,” she tells Vulaada. “That’s how progress happens.”
Oof. That one’s going to hurt later. Try several panels later.
After their exchange — (“I love you, Doctor Aphra.” “I know.” “I hate you, Doctor Aphra.”) — Aphra escapes, letting go of her love in search of the bigger picture. Whatever that might look like.
This issue doesn’t give us much time to grieve the separation of Aphra and Tolvan (AGAIN) because it’s off to the Empire, where our reckless, wanted girl plans on turning herself in so she can (presumably) get a pardon for all her wrongdoings.
But the ruthless Minister Voor doesn’t actually want to punish Aphra — at least, not in the way you might think. Oh no. All she really wants is help with one small task: Overthrowing Emperor Palpatine.
Wait. Hold on. Let me repeat that. Let’s bold and italicize it just in case.
SHE WANTS TO BRING DOWN PAPA PALPS. BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T, I GUESS?
So now, once again, our dear rogue Aphra has to make a choice. Will she offer her contributions to facilitating thousands of innocent deaths by helping a side she doesn’t support and create more enemies, or will she offer her contributions to facilitating thousands of innocent deaths by helping a side she doesn’t support and create more enemies but help the Empire?
There’s technically a third option: She could run. But would she really do that, having JUST seriously considered trying not to flee from her problems for once?
Whatever she decides, she’s going to find herself in plenty of life-threatening chaos just when she thought she might have gone beyond its reach. Would you really expect anything different at this point?
This comic is a magnificent Star Wars treasure we do not deserve. It consistently places a “predictable” character in unpredictable situations, keeping you guessing on every page and without fail leaving you in suspended anticipation at the end of every issue.
Also, it’s not an uncommon trope to periodically bring two lovers back together only to rip them immediately and unfairly apart — and repeat — but honestly, I’m all here for it. These two are terrible for each other, and terrible at loving each other, and yet they belong together. They’re the perfect imperfect match.
They may never settle into a happily ever after, but you better believe we’ll keep turning pages just in case.
And it’s nice to be reminded that plenty of Imperial higher-ups actually seriously wanted Palpatine gone at this point in the timeline (between Episodes IV and V). Not all of them were afraid to stand up for what they believed in.
In a galaxy this big, it’s understandable that plenty of individuals, at the end of it all, are just in it for their own survival.
The next issue of Doctor Aphra drops September 11.