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Doctor Aphra #29 Review

4 min read

“Balance”

Creative Staff:
Story: Alyssa Wong
Art: Natacha Bustos
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

What They Say:
The SPARK ETERNAL sets its sights on CRIMSON DAWN! As SANA STARROS and MAGNA TOLVAN race to intercept it, will DOCTOR APHRA’S most desperate gambit pay off? Or will she be lost to the SPARK ETERNAL forever?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The storyline is continuing on with this arc as Alyssa Wong is playing in an interesting area with the Spark but at the same time, it feels so much less like Star Wars and far more like Marvel Comics, if you know what I mean. Thankfully, this installment doesn’t play with that storyline at all and sticks to more space opera material. This issue has Natacha Bustos on board for the artwork and it works pretty well. There are definitely differences from other artists in the series and it doesn’t quite have the Marvel Star Wars “house” brand design. It fits for several of the characters that we’re involved in here but it also feels like it’s aimed at a younger audience we see in some other books. There’s some solid detail here and Rachelle Rosenberg’s color design helps to give it a bit more weight and continuity with the bulk of the rest of the Star Wars books.

As this storyline continues, my interest in the Spark Eternal dwindles further and further. It’s just not terribly interesting and we’re not getting anything that feels like it, well, matters. There’s a sense of things just going back and forth as we see who is in control of Aphra’s body and this installment gives us something where they both take it over depending on the conversation at hand. But by the end, it’s back to the Spark itself after acquiring what it is they found that makes it whole and now it’s just going to do what it wants to do. We’ve been in this before, even with differences, so it’s just more time where we’re moving by inertia almost. It doesn’t help that part of the book is given over to a recap of the Hidden Empire series as well with some of the other cast with Sana and Kho and even that has little forward progress, albeit in the form of needing to stop Aphra. Two less than interesting storylines colliding.

It also doesn’t help that once again we dig into more of the past. This takes us to the world of Pyrr IX where in the past Miril and her assistant Ghes came with the Spark to meet with one of the Ascendant splinter groups that was more focused on fighting and killing the Sith and Darkseekers. It’s been covered before to varying degrees but it just feels so disconnected in a way other than bad side and less bad side and the Spark itself. Miril is just someone that doesn’t draw as a character and seeing things go from bad to worse in this period, and how it’s lain dormant centuries since until Aphra shows up now, doesn’t make it any more interesting. It’s just an expansion on wheel-spinning with nothing that feels interesting or engaging overall.

In Summary:
Doctor Aphra just plods along at this point. This story is probably twice as long as it needed to be and it’s fumbled making things interesting with the core of Aphra’s personality – archaeology and the past – as the Ascendent just feels like a plot point to forget about. The supporting cast storyline is part of a whole other event thing so they’re just there in name only for the most part and that doesn’t help either. Bustos’ artwork is something that I’ve read in other books where it has worked but here it just makes everything look more like it’s intended for the Young Readers stuff that we see from Dark Horse Comics as opposed to a mainline book. Miril doesn’t help that either but as a whole everything really doesn’t work well here.

Grade: C-

Age Rating: 9+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 22nd, 2023
MSRP: $3.99