Star Wars: Doctor Aphra No. 38 review: The murder droids are back

Doctor Aphra is trapped under Darth Vader’s command. One wrong move, and it’s the end of her — forever. What happens in this Star Wars comic?

When a Sith Lord with an anger problem becomes your boss, you very quickly realize there is no room for error in your workflow. Like, ever.

This is it. Doctor Aphra is on thin ice. She cannot afford to make even one small mistake, because Lord Vader? He’s watching.

And he, along with Aphra and her father, are heading for an asteroid to investigate a potential rebel presence.

The trick is, only two will return from the mission alive. And Vader will be one of them.

This had to be the most awkward three-person shuttle ride EVER. Estranged father and daughter, plus an angry guy in a creepy helmet who could kill both of them without even touching them in a matter of seconds. No thanks.

And the astromech programmed to kill is there too? This doctor will never catch a break.

Speaking of evil droids …

We can’t go on without acknowledging that Aphra’s long-time enemies — the “murder droids” that have spent so many panels hunting and terrorizing her all this time — are back. The Empire has deemed them “interrogation specialists.” How fitting.

The “good” news is that when the Imperials picked up the droids, they also wiped their memories. So they have absolutely no memory of Aphra and — for the time being — no reason to hold a grudge against her that can only be resolved with, oh you know … death.

This wasn’t going to stop them from torturing Aphra’s father in exchange for vital information, however. Thankfully she managed to talk him into revealing just enough intel to grant them all a very brief “work trip.” To an abandoned asteroid. Where there may or may not be ghosts.

The Empire’s paying for it, so it’s probably fine. Right?

One (of several) heartbreaking moments to note: Where is Vulaada? Why isn’t she with Aphra?

It turns out Aphra has left her behind — presumably to keep her out of danger. The poor girl has lost her monster, and now her “maternal figure.” She didn’t deserve that.

This isn’t the first time we have seen direct parallels between Aphra’s relationship with the girl and Aphra’s complicated connections to her parents.

As hard as they have made her life, she listens to their words. She takes them to heart — at least, in the sense that she takes them very seriously. Her mother left with her to protect her from her potentially dangerous father, and so, realizing how dangerous it is to be around her, she then decides keeping her distance from Vulaada is the best option for both of them.

Aphra and her father actually share a tender moment before their ship — leaving the asteroid — is captured by rebels. Just when she finally reunites with him, he might not survive. Totally unfair. But necessary? Stay tuned.

What we definitely didn’t expect to see was an entire scene where Vader literally confronts ghosts from his past. This issue is worth picking up just for those pages — you’ll recognize some of those faces, and you won’t be disappointed.

This is definitely beginning to set up the upcoming crossover — the final issue of the current Star Wars comic that will feature characters from this run of Aphra.

The Empire is getting closer to figuring out where the rebels are. (Spoiler alert: It’s Hoth. They’re on Hoth. It’s pretty cold there.)

Will Aphra’s dad be the reason they are found? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Oh, just one more thing.

The droids from many issues past aren’t the only ones who have returned.

Tolvan has also reappeared.

And she wants Aphra dead.

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The second to last issue of Doctor Aphra hits physical and digital stores on November 27.

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