– Spoiler Review –
Everything that’s great about Chelli Lona Aphra and her band of deadly misfit friends is on full display in Doctor Aphra #11, providing plenty of laughs and setting up for some exciting events to come, one of which might just include a tall, masked, and brooding Sith Lord!
Back in issue #9, Aphra ignored complaints from the murderbots about their boredom, giving them an order easily circumvented by their devious minds, and she’s reaping the rewards of her actions. It’s not the reward she was looking for, as her auction to sell the Rur crystal is in complete shambles as Rur stalks around killing her guests left and right, all thanks to the helping hands of Triple-Zero and Bee Tee. I had thought their call to Vader at the beginning of this arc was simply to bring him in to kill Aphra, as she had ordered them not to kill anyone, but it seems there’s more to it than that, as they not only save Aphra’s life at one point this issue, they also seem to be offering a deal, ominously and hilariously shown in panels with closeups on Triple-Zero’s red eyes. However, we don’t quite know what their deal is just yet, though considering they think there’s still a use for her, humorously explained in Triple-Zero’s response to Aphra’s statement on how she doesn’t think she’ll get a happy ending, “Yes, I’d concur, but not until we’re finished with you,” I’m intrigued by what they would want from Aphra. Freedom from her control? To be let go to Vader’s care so they can commit lovely acts of death and destruction? Some type of experiment? Dictating just what upgrades and targets she gives them as she promised back in issue #9? Only time will tell, but the murderbots were in such rare form this issue that even though they put Aphra’s life on the line, I was laughing heartily throughout thanks to them. While they normally are guaranteed to provide laughs, this was above and beyond some of the most recent issues, and I still don’t think I’m quite over laughing about Triple-Zero’s mock surprise over how someone put an ax to the automated gun controls in the same panel where you can see the ax impaled in the controls right next to him.
As great as this issue was for the murderbots, all the reasons fans of Doctor Aphra (like myself) have come to love the character so much were on full display here. Whether it’s her scrambling out of the line of fire screaming, “Nononono,” ‘thunking’ her head against a bulkhead once the murderbots reveal their culpability in the shitstorm around her, or her realization regarding the unwanted side effects of her loudspeaker announcement about the ion weapons cache, her unique and enduring personality shone through brightly and hysterically. As most of what’s happening is out of her control, it’s fun to watch her grumble about the events around her but not doing anything to stop certain things, like Krrsantan going after his slavers or having to play the good host and offer her cache of ion weapons up for their survival, but her being resigned to let things go probably comes to a stop by the issue’s end. As she finally makes it to Triple-Zero and Bee Tee, it’s just in time for them to show her the arrival of an extra special guest: Darth Vader himself! As I said above, I’m curious what the murderbots will want from Aphra and if the threat of letting Vader get to her is enough to convince her to give into their demands. Whether she does or not, I’m sure she at least realizes she’ll have to do something about the murderbots, for better or worse, as it’s obvious how big of risk it is to keep such homicidal maniacs as travelling companions. Will Vader and Aphra meet again? And as I’ve wondered before, did he secretly know she’d survive if he shot her out of an airlock or is he surprised regarding her survival? Either way, it’s a safe bet he won’t kill her, so what exactly will happen between these ex-co-workers? Doctor Aphra #11 has me chomping at the bit over plenty of exciting story threads!
Kieron Gillen has been firing on all Aphra-centric cylinders for this series since day one and eleven issues later this is still the case. That he puts his characters through such a ringer time and time again is overly devious, but it seems to bring out the most entertaining part of said characters so I can’t wait for him to continue to give Aphra a hard time for quite a while. The art team of Kev Walker, Antonio Fabela, and Marc Deering continues to fit the darkly humorous tone of the series just right, something I didn’t say originally but have since come around to. That being said, there was one (and only one) panel I didn’t quite like, as it was a strange take on Aphra’s face compared to a really strong showing this entire issue had, and it’s the panel where she says, “For everyone.” Otherwise, all good!
Here are a few other things:
- While Aphra’s dresses have been entertainingly diverse, holy cow what about her ensemble at the end of this issue?!?! Paging Doctor Jones, someone stole your outfit! Chelli Aphra looks so much like Indiana Jones in a white tank top, satchel slung over a shoulder, and jeans it’s a ridiculously awesome little homage to her do-gooding influence.
- The great folks at Comics with Kenobi got an Aphra-centric commission for their Twitter profile and it’s pretty damn swell! Speaking of CWK, they not only offer their lengthy podcast on the comics, but have started doing written reviews, including Aphra #11.
The humor and insanity ramps up on every page, making Doctor Aphra #11 one of the series’ best issues yet, but just be careful: your stomach might be sore from all the laughing you’ll do!
+ Murderbots show their hand in causing the delightful carnage
+ All the things we love about Doctor Aphra on full display
+ Vader’s not near, he’s here!
The Screaming Citadel (crossover of Doctor Aphra and Star Wars 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) | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Out Among the Stars (#33-37) | Annual: #1 | #2 | #3
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13) | Legend Lost (#14 – 16) | War Stories (#17-19)
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith
The Chosen One (#1-6)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu (miniseries)
Captain Phasma (miniseries)
Darth Maul (miniseries)
Han Solo (miniseries)
Rogue One (adaptation)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (miniseries)
Shattered Empire (miniseries)
Princess Leia (miniseries)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (miniseries)