Writer Alyssa Wong and artist Marika Cresta, along with Rachelle Rosenberg on colors and Joe Caramagna on letters revive another recent Star Wars comics character with “Doctor Aphra” #1. This series presents itself as an Indiana Jones-style treasure hunting romp, and while this seems a great idea, it unfortunately doesn’t do enough to sell the new premise or its cast to any fans of the franchise.
“New Crew, New Mission! With the Rebel Alliance back on the run after their defeat at the Battle of Hoth, it has never been a more dangerous time for outlaws, scoundrels and the errant rogue archaeologist to make their way in the galaxy. But after a string of bad luck and near escapes, Doctor Aphra is back on the job! She’s been keeping a low profile – jobs are scarce and credits scarcer. But the promise of the score of a lifetime is a chance too good for her to pass up. And to find the cursed Rings of Vaale, Aphra will need a crew of treasure hunters the likes of which the galaxy has never seen before! But Ronen Tagge, heir to the powerful Tagge family, also has his eyes on the prize. Do Aphra and her team stand a chance at fortune and glory?”
Writing & Plot
“Doctor Aphra” #1 is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of its plotting and characterization. One element that sticks out as being a unique addition to the Star Wars universe is the notion of intergalactic treasure hunting. The scouting of ruins and discovery of ancient treasures on distant planets, all while dodging dastardly rich Imperials is a fantastic concept for this universe. Turning Aphra from a thief to a lightspeed-jumping Indiana Jones is a brilliant idea, and I hope we get to see more in that respect in future issues. Unfortunately, while there is some adventurous fun to be had in this issue, it never really gets off the ground in terms of the grand Star Wars adventure one might be expecting. Or, for that matter, the characterization of the new cast. The former is offset by some a couple of setpiece action moments, but this chapter feels like more of an introduction than anything else. The new cast members are presented with their motives and stakes in Aphra’s venture for cash, it’s just a shame they don’t seem terribly interesting thus far. Many of the problems here could just be first issue woes, so hopefully more pieces come together in future chapters.
Marika Cresta provides a vibrant view of different Star Wars locales in “Doctor Aphra” #1. From the barren tundra of Hoth to an alien nightclub and then to an ancient forgotten tomb, Cresta nails the environments of the Star Wars universe. Her character drawings offer a solid amount of variety in terms of striking personal features and cast of aliens both recognizable and obscure. However, there’s an element of sameness across the board with the human characters in terms of facial detail. This is a bit of a minor trifle in an otherwise great looking comic, but it is noticeable after a point. Some of this effect is taken away by the colors of Rachelle Rosenberg, who brings the Star Wars universe to life with a massive array of varied colors. The aesthetic here blends in perfectly with the aesthetic across the board of Star Wars comics, including the main series and Greg Pak’s ongoing Darth Vader comic. This is great as both a reminder that these are part of a shared comic universe, and in that this is still a sharp-looking issue all on its own.
“Star Wars: Doctor Aphra” #1 is a good-looking Star Wars comic that’s unfortunately not a very engaging read. It has great ideas and the potential for an Indiana Jones-like intergalactic treasure hunt with a cast of memorable characters, but at the moment potential is all it looks like. The visuals from Marika Cresta and Rachelle Rosenberg are visually up to par with some of the best Star Wars comics have to offer, even if there’s a bit of a lack of variance among character facial models. If you’re a diehard fan of Doctor Aphra’s story so far in Marvel’s comics in a galaxy far far away, then pick up this debut issue when it hits stands on 5/27!