This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Darth Vader: You are overly fond of talking. Doctor Aphra: I’m nervous.
-Darth Vader 3
Patrick: Chelli Lona Aphra is a motormouth. She’ll unleash a torrent of words when she’s confident, when she’s nervous, when she’s got something to hide, and when she’s got something to say. It makes it tough to get a read on her, but after 20 issues of her own series and a bunch of appearances in Darth Vader, the reader has the benefit of familiarity. By this point in our journey with her, we sorta know Doctor Aphra. The Imperial chumps trying to probe her for information, on the other hand, don’t stand a chance of untangling the truth. Writer Si Spurrier leverages dramatic irony, both in the form of the reader’s past experiences with Aphra and by contrasting his words with Kev Walker’s art, to dig deeper into the character of Doctor Aphra. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Dr. Aphra 6, originally released April 12th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Patrick: Most every Star Wars comic book, movie, video game or TV show is going to have to wrestle with history. The franchise has been culturally relevant for so long that every new experience in this universe is going to draw comparison to the various media that came before. On top of that, history is an inherent part of the narrative: characters grow up the echoes of a great civil war and among the ruins of galaxy-spanning republic. So characters, creators and audiences must show a certain reverence for that history. All characters, that is, except for Doctor Aphra, who’s familiarity with that history breeds boredom. Rather than reveling in what has come before, Kieron Gillen and Kev Walker’s Doctor Aphra 6 looks aggressively, persistently, forward. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Dr. Aphra 5, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: When I was young I didn’t want to be a firefighter or sports-star the way a lot of other boys did. Instead, I dreamt of becoming either a paleontologist or archaeologist. While I have to admit Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones played a role in this desire, I was also drawn to the sheer mystery of studying long gone civilizations and animals. There’s something incredibly tantalizing when confronted with ruins or fossils: they speak of a once great culture or animal that has collapsed and left behind only echoes of its stories. Before reading Dr.Aphra,I had never really considered that the Star Wars universe a place full of such mystery, but as issue 5 shows, not only is Star Wars capable of this, but it can excel at it, too.
Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Dr. Aphra 1, originally released December 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: Last month the outstanding Darth Vader series penned by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca wrapped up after 25 stellar issues. In its short run Darth Vader skillfully contributed to the myth of its titular character in a way that previous Star Wars titles couldn’t quite pull off. But for all the fantastic work done on the character of Vader, what really stands out about the series is the creation of so many interesting and fully realized ancillary characters. Of these, Vader’s hired accomplice Doctor Aphra stands out as one of the most interesting, and so she is getting a chance to lead her own series. With the always entertaining Triple-Zero and Beetee in tow can this series possibly live up to the story that spawned it?
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 25, originally released October 12th,2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: Darth Vader stands alone in pop culture. He is at once terrifying and relatable, a killer and a loving father, a villain and a hero. Perhaps the reason for his enduring popularity is that Vader cannot be defined by one singular trait. Like every human, he changes over time, is sometime good and sometimes evil, and is all too fallible. Ultimately this is what makes him a character that is uniquely memorable. Despite controlling an ancient mystical power, using a sword made of pure energy, and conquering the known universe, what makes him an essential character is the simple fact that he changes. In the final issue of this amazing run, Darth Vader explains once and for all why there is such a big change in the Lord of the Sith between Episode IV and Episode V in wonderful fashion.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 21, originally released June 8th, 2015.
Taylor: One of the things film geeks have come to appreciate about Episode IV is the way George Lucas incorporated techniques pioneered by Japanese director and genius Akira Kurosawa into his movie. In particular, Lucas draws from Kurosawa’s most famous film, the Seven Samurai, which was eventually remade for American audiences as the Magnificent Seven. That Star Wars would be so closely related to a film about cowboys shouldn’t come as a surprise. In many ways, Luke and Han are heroic space cowboys fighting the their way across the open plains of the universe, battling against those who would oppress their freedom. Darth Vader 21 returns Star Wars to this western and in so doing cleverly inverts my assumptions about the motif in fun and new ways.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 20, originally released May 11th, 2015.
Taylor: The old adage goes that silence golden. If nothing else, being a middle school teacher has taught me that this is true. Don’t get me wrong: I love it when kids talk and discuss in class, but the only time I’m not with a room full of kids during the day is my 20 minute lunch break. More than even my lunch, what I treasure about the my break is the beautiful silence. No kids yelling, no scuffing shoes, and no one to interrupt me. Point is, silence is golden. In monthlies, it’s clear that authors often feel the need to pack in as much information as possible. Reasons abound for this and the place to discuss that isn’t here. However, I quiet moment in a monthly is such rare thing. Darth Vader 20, on the other hand, has mastered the use of the pregnant pause, to great effect.