– Spoiler Review –
Vader makes a highly entertaining, and slightly referential, friend in Doctor Aphra and her two newly restored and insanely deadly droids. Who knew Darth Vader having a BFF could be exactly what we’d want to see/would work so well?
I really felt like having Aphra’s opening moments being reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark‘s opening scene actually helped establish her character rather well. The connection allowed the art in #3, full of obvious and homage-heavy moments, primarily bring her to life first and foremost, with her dialogue building on that first impression later. Giving her the title of Doctor thanks to being an archaeologist is nearly pushing the similarities, but she balances rather well between overdone reference and unique character for Star Wars; I applaud the creative team of Gillen, Larroca, and Delgado for how they handled it.
Pairing Vader up with someone who isn’t acting as his mentor, superior, inferior underling, someone trying to redeem him, trying to undermine him, trying to kill him, bounty hunters, or nefarious gangsters, but rather someone who wants to–for the lack of a better term–have fun with him is wholly refreshing. It’s hard to believe there’s a sentient being out there who could look up to Vader and be eager to help him, but that’s just the genius of Aphra. She obviously sees his value in helping her reach her own certain goals, which is her main reason for being so eager to help him, but if she knows a lot about him, is she just hiding her fear really well or is this excitement genuine? Either answer leads to story threads I’m eager to see covered as their ‘partnership’ grows, though it already seems to be all genuine from her at this point.
The second movie reference is actually to The Empire Strikes Back, as Aphra and Vader’s first meeting here culminates in a moment eerily similar to the end of his duel with Luke on Cloud City, as he reaches out his hand to pull her back from the edge and offer her an alliance; Unlike Luke, she takes it. I figure there will be a lot of theorizing about Aphra being doomed if she’s partnering up with Vader, but in a way I see a bit of Ahsoka and Anakin’s relationship beginning to grow between Aphra and Vader already, meaning I’d like to think, if anything, they’ll likely just end up parting ways (initially…).
Here are a few other things:
- It really bugged me why Utani Xane looked so familiar, the non-humanoid alien curator of the quarantined world where Aphra is stealing the Triple-Zero Matrix, when a quick Wookieepedia search confirmed my first thoughts: we saw the species first on Polis Massa, the birthplace of the Skywalker twins. I’ve always referred to them as Polis Massans, but I guess officially they are Kallidahin, and Quarantine World III (glamorous name) is in their area of space. I’d like to learn more about the treaty Xane gets interrupted talking about.
- The Ark Angel, Aphra’s ship, is one helluva patched together mess and I love it. Another great way to instantly build up her character.
- Having two droids look like C-3PO and R2-D2, except be (hilarious) murderers and psychopaths, was another solid part of #3. Their interactions with Vader, Aphra, and each other are things I’m easily looking forward to as this series continues. And Triple Zero is going to be the closest thing to a HK-47 that we’ll get for the time being, I believe.
- Another movie reference, this time to A New Hope: Aphra calls Vader by all types of honorifics, eventually calling him, “Sir Vader.” He corrects her, much like Luke did to Threepio when he kept using ‘sir,’ and tells her it’s, “Lord Vader.” I missed that one on the initial read.
- The Droid Gotra mentioned here made their first appearance in the novel Tarkin. It looks like they might become a bigger player moving forward…
- Speaking of Tarkin, Triple Zero and the astromech came from some initiative he had going on, which is likely how Vader was able to unlock the personality matrix. BT-1 is definitely the anti-Artroo if he blew up Tarkin’s facility.
- Wonder what flashbacks visiting Geonosis will give Vader, despite his claims about having a lack of feelings regarding the planet.
- Kieron Gillen, the writer for Darth Vader, has an interview at ComicBookResources.com where he discusses the origins of Triple Zero, BT-1, and of course the influences and homages behind the awesome Doctor Aphra.
- Aphra has come a long, long way: She’s the star of her own series simply titled Doctor Aphra, meaning a great character gets what she deserves.
While Vader takes a slight backseat in the third issue, its for a good cause to build up the exciting new character of Doctor Aphra. Their partnership, along with the two homicidal droids, looks to bring a whole lot of entertaining value to the Darth Vader series going forward.
+ Aphra, Aphra, Aphra
+ Assassin droids
+ Not too overdone movie references
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Vader: #1 | #2 | #4 | #5 | #6 | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)