Doctor Aphra #4 Review

Written by: Kieron Gillen

Art by: Kev Walker, Marc Deering, Antonio Fabela

Publisher: Marvel

Doctor Aphra has been my favorite Star Wars series from Marvel despite its recent nascence. The latest issue only cemented my love for its direction. After last week’s cliffhanger ending, Aphra’s ragtag group’s fate was revealed, following a fun action sequence that screamed Star Wars.

There wasn’t a lot of plot in this issue, which was understandable as the previous issue did most of the set-up for all the pay-off. Aphra’s escape, although somewhat predictable and excessively neat, had some larger implications and gave a sense of where the narrative was heading. Writer Kieron Gillen seems to have a clear direction of Aphra’s adventure across the galaxy.

This issue also addressed one of my biggest concerns about the series as a whole. Aphra’s conflict was clearly established as the loss of her credentials but there was no real antagonist in the series. Sure, Aphra had to evade Vader and the Empire to ensure her survival, but the lack of a direct opponent that she had to go against was apparent. This issue sets up Captain Tolvan as that character. Tolvan has a really interesting design and she’s reminiscent of Thrawn and Krennic in certain moments. I feel quite excited about the future of Tolvan as a Star Wars villain in the mold of the classics – an Imperial crony surrounded by Stormtroopers. Speaking of Tolvan, it is worth mentioning that her backstory is tied to both Star Wars and Rogue One. It’s exciting to see common threads across the rapidly expanding Star Wars fiction.

The art of Doctor Aphra has been incredible and continues to capture the feel of familiar Star Wars environments. Yavin IV isn’t quite a perfect, photo-realistic recreation from the films, but it is instantly recognizable, even without the text indicating so. The confrontation between Aphra and Tolvan is portrayed quite well thanks to the stylistic decisions of the artists.

It’s safe to say that I have high expectations for this series. Although I am unsure about the main plotline, I have faith in Gillen’s ability to write Star Wars after his Darth Vader run. I would recommend jumping on Doctor Aphra as soon as possible, considering the series is quite young. I would temper my expectations, but hey – it is Star Wars after all.