In Review: Doctor Aphra #19

Criminal fun in a galaxy far, far away...

The covers: A pair to pick up if you’re as lucky as Aphra. Ashley Witter is the artist of the Regular cover. The reader is looking up at Aphra as she looks down, her right hand behind her back and her left out as though indifferently acknowledging the explosion behind her. Also behind her is the gigantic face of Triple-Zero, who looks like a dark god. Neat cover with the protagonist and antagonist easily seen. The Galactic Icons Variant cover is by Rod Reis and features a terrific illustration of Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian from the upcoming Solo movie. This looks so good, this is the cover I had to purchase and I did. I love this! Overall grades: Regular A and Galactic Icons Variant A+

The story: This is the concluding chapter of Kieron Gillen & Si Spurrier’s “Remastered”. The issue opens as last issue ended, with Aphra being held in a neck lock by Hera as she and her rogues are being shot at by Imperials. She convinces the Rebel to let her go so that she can create a diversion for their escape. She does so, dramatically. The reader also gets reintroduced to Tookas and they pack the same punch that they’ve shown to have in earlier issues, though there’s much more of them. There’s a nice reminder that a favorite character is aboard the Rebel ship. A dotty droid steals the book on Pages 6 and 7, with dialogue that’s hilarious and actions that are awesome. The bottom of Page 7 is brilliant, with it being the epitome of dramatic irony. I was impressed to see one character’s choice at the bottom of 11 and Aphra’s reaction to this dialogue speaking volumes. My favorite pages were 13 and 14; I cannot get enough of this pair. The payoff of this story starts on 15 on the planet Son-tuul. The series’ true villains have words with Aphra and then things get really interesting. The final two pages are fantastic character moments for Aphra, proving she’s a planner. This was great. Overall grade: A

The art: The artwork of Emilio Laiso reminds me of Alan Davis’s work, so I’m as happy as a Wookiee on Life Day to look at this book’s visuals. The firefight on the first page is action packed, with blaster shots going everywhere. The close-up of Aphra in the final panel makes it look as though even she’s unsure that her plans will bear fruit. The illustrations of the ships that follow look great. The Tookas look amazing on every page they appear and if Marvel doesn’t make dolls of these characters they’re missing out! The launching of the X-winds is spectacular, but I can’t help but look in wonder upon the Rebels in the three panels under them: I love those classic uniforms and showing these characters from different angles increases the action. The bottom three panels on 7 are fantastic. Aphra does her best DJ impersonation on 8 as she taps out some beats to some unique sounds (which, sadly, are nowhere to be found in the explosive imagery). Six continues to be a fantastic looking character, as is Posla. Page 12 just made me feel all warm inside for the moment and 13 made me smile for the morning after illustrations. These warm and fuzzy moments were cancelled by the first panel on 14. I absolute love Aphra’s stance in the second panel on that page. The top of 16 has nice symmetry as two characters’ eyes are shown back-to-back. If one is a fan of the Empire, Page 17 is going to make you cheer. A character has some nice visuals asides on 18 and 19, cluing the reader in to what’s actually being done. The penultimate panel on the last page is fantastic, for what else could make the situation worse for that pair? The visuals on this book are excellent. Overall grade: A

The colors: Rachelle Rosenberg’s work on this book is outstanding. Look at the beautiful sky on the first page, which compliments the blaster fire. This background color also allows Hera to pop on the page. The faded colors on the final panel accentuate Aphra’s loss of faith in herself. There’s a quick flashback that crosses over Pages 2 and 3 and it’s got some tan coloring to age it against the bright panels set in the present that surround it. The greens and rainbow colors on the comical droid make it stand out on its pages. The greens and glowing reds on 7 are perfection. I love the fireplace’s glow on 14. Harsh yellows intensify the drama that begins on 14. The blues in the penultimate panel are funny and realistic. I love Rosenberg’s work on this issue. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This issue’s text includes scene settings, dialogue, transmissions and droid speak, sounds, whistling, a character’s case log, and BeeTee-One’s bleeps. VC’s Joe Caramagna creates this text with the droid speak, sounds, the case log, and BeeTee speech great. I’m continually not happy with Star Wars’ comics dialogue which is too thin — check out the first page as characters yell at one another, as identified with exclamation marks, but having no strength visually in what they’re saying. The scene settings are always difficult to read because of a shadow effect under the lettering. Outside of these two elements, the text is fine. Overall grade: B

The final line: Criminal fun in a galaxy far, far away…If we’ve learned anything from this issue, it’s never count Aphra out, never think she’s not thought of everything, and never say that word with cute animals around! Excellent story and art that will please all Star Wars fans. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Star-Wars-Doctor-Aphra-2016-19/digital-comic/638011?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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