by Ryan Desaulniers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
When Doctor Chelli Aphra came onto the pages of Star Wars comics, the character intrigued me. Anyone who can be Vader’s servant and still walk out alive must be a worthwhile addition to the universe, and her rivalry with Leia in the “Rebel Jail” storyline cemented her for me as one to watch. But as we move through her solo title, I’m beginning to wonder how much faith is being placed in her character to carry this series without other big name-stays in the SW canon.
I really enjoy the basic scheme in Doctor Aphra 9: Aphra pits a whose-who of scum and villainy against each other in a bidding war for her newly acquired crystal containing the technopathic consciousness of the ancient Jedi, Rur. She plans this event elaborately, creatively, and with charm, using pomp as a smokescreen for how comprehensive her machinations really are.
Aphra and her crew get this nice full-page splash, and I really do like this crew, I just can’t help but feel like the eponymous character comes across as more of an after-thought in this issue. The two kooky droids get the best quips and humor, Black Krrsantan gets to be the physically capable one, and the milieu of bounty hunters and pirates add the color. Dr. Aphra sets up the event and then explains what it is, but we don’t see her do much aside from being clever, making her feel like a more two-dimensional supporting character than the leading woman.
Also, I was hoping that more of this arc — thus far not featuring any Luke or Han — might pass with the focus on Aphra to build her legacy and character on her own before looping back in with the big names of the universe, but the last page, the only other full-page in the issue, reintroduces Vader into the title. I understand their storied history, but it makes me feel like the creative team or the ones above them really do not believe in the Doctor as a character who can stand on her own.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?