Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Kev Walker
Official Description from MARVEL:
Aphra’s mission to make quick credits by auctioning off an ancient Jedi artifact is going to plan…That is, until it isn’t. Meanwhile, a dark figure from Aphra’s past decides to make an appearance…
The last issue of Doctor Aphra ended with the ancient Jedi Rur possessing the body of a droid determined to destroy Aphra’s chance of selling him to the highest bidder on the black market. Writer Kieron Gillen kicks off Doctor Aphra #11 in a high intensity, chaotic fight to stay alive. This issue is all action from page one. Gillen has a unique challenge here by addressing some universal understandings of how and why certain Star Wars characters behave. When Rur is on the attack he goes against almost everything we believe about the Jedi. He’s aggressive, angry and vengeful which plays more like a dark side mentality. Gillen pulls it off but you never really see Rur as a Jedi. It is consistent though because Rur gave Luke pause and concern back in the “Screaming Citadel” storyline when Luke was contemplating training under him back in Doctor Aphra #8.
Gillen also tackles the notion that droids protocol’s make them what they are but Aphra is none too shocked to discover that Triple-Zero and Beetee are behind much of the chaos. They try to play dumb and Gillen makes this comical but Aphra can see right through it. Vader’s killer droids have always been blood thirsty but conniving and underhanded feels less like protocols and more like sentience. That said, if these are protocols then they are meticulously planned which by the end of the issue seems a lot more plausible. More on that later but again good writing by Gillen. As stated previously, this issue is non-stop action and at times the pace is so frenetic that it can get a bit confusing. This was a definite issue I had to go back through a second time.
Kev Walker doesthe penciling this issue and he does a good job with his panelsto bring the action off the page but again at times there’s so much going on that it can be challenging to follow. Walker’s art is stellar with the droids, Triple-Zero specifically, and close-up tight panels that focus on facial expressions. The panic, determination, fight and ultimately fear Aphra is experiencing throughout is spot on.
Gillen puts a lot of Aphra’s plate this issue and runs her through the gamut of emotions but sets-up a new more frightening challenge on the final page. I guess we all should have seen coming but throughout this series, Aphra has been the focal point and her stories have more than stood on their own. Outside of Han, Luke and Liea it only makes sense to bring Aphra back to her comic book beginnings and crossing paths with more original Star Wars characters. Most knew this was coming if you’ve followed Aphra before she had her own title, but it was still a mildly surprising appearance.
My take away is that the crazy action throughout the issue played out a little too well and made it a bit of a tricky read. There is also an all too brief appearance of Black Krrsantan which felt a bit thrown in just to remind readers he’s still around. Outside of that Gillen does a great job with running Aphra through the ringer and characterizing Triple-Zero and Beetee as deceiving, comedic, double-crossers. Even though Aphra is all over the place emotionally she still comes off as a fighter and a very strong character who can manage all the chaos and demands being made of her. Mostly this issue is a fight to survive at a dizzying pace but comes to a screeching halt by the one presence that can strike true fear into Doctor Aphra. Solid issue but I feel something much more interesting and exciting is just around the corner.