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Doctor Aphra #40 Review

4 min read
I feel like a broken record with it but the Aphra book has generally been the best of the Dark Droids event

“Night as Day”

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

What They Say:
The TAGGE FLEET burns. The GALAXY reels. DOCTOR APHRA is alone. But as she explores an ancient ruin on a desolate planet, Aphra may find the answers she’s been hunting for her entire life. Is this the end for DOCTOR APHRA?!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Alyssa Wong has had some solid material with Doctor Aphra overall but a lot of the way it’s unfolded, and had to deal with the tie-in storyline as well, just didn’t work for me. We got some good stuff after getting past The Spark stuff but here we are again, thrust into another crossover event with the already problematic Dark Droids. This issue has Minkyu Jung still 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. 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.

With this being the final issue of the run, it has to do a few things that are pretty much expected even if I wish they didn’t. Wong delivers something that’s certainly interesting in getting there even if all moves quicker than it should. Aphra’s survival from the previous issue is no surprise but we get her crashing down to a world where some of her past research is useful. It’s filled with a lot of dialogue-free pages before the narration begins and it’s interesting to watch as she does the kind of classic adventure-archaeology that looks good on page and screen. This is the kind of material I wish we had more of in the run as a whole as we see her discovering an actual ancient book of the Jedi and thinking what could be done with it. Her internal dialogue is solid as well as she realizes that she doesn’t like being alone as much as she used to as she wants to share this discovery, and her plans with Sana. But she did make a choice.

While this plays out we do see Sana and Tolvan dealing wit the fallout and events of the Dark Droids saga, which is just kind of yawn-inducing to watch play out after the storyline has ended, but there’s also the reality that both know that Aphra is certainly alive. While Tolvan isn’t strong enough to go, Sana certainly is and you know that they’ll find each other and Aphra will have the full realization she wants. Things look a bit more complicated as Tolvan is drawn into the mix later and we see how Aphra has some big plans going forward that has her leaning into bringing Lucky on as well, which isn’t a surprise. The supporting cast of the series is pretty good overall but I really do crave more alone time for Aphra and actual ancient ruins in the quiet material. We do get the nod that something bigger is coming for her, which is no surprise, as the Empire has tasked a new bounty hunter after her, but that’s for the next series.

In Summary:
I continue to enjoy the character of Aphra but I struggle with a lot of her adventures and what she gets wrapped up. It’s not pining for what the character was at the start – they’ve thankfully evolved over time – but the things that make her special often feel like they get lost to me in the bigger picture of tie-in storylines and other things with far too expansive casts and ideas that are bigger than it should or needs to be. The book ends as you’d expect with friends and bigger plans in the future and new threats as well so it does what it needs and should do. But part of me would have loved a more “Empire” ending with Aphra alone and realizing what she wants and not able to get it just yet.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 9+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 31st, 2024
MSRP: $4.99

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