In Review: Doctor Aphra #29

You can't go wrong with a Doctor Aphra adventure.

The covers: The doctor and a famous scene comprise your choices for this issue’s frontpiece. The Regular cover is by Ashley Witter and has Chelli sporting a jetpack and blasting skyward. She’s looking over her right shoulder at the reader with absolute joy on her face as she flies. However, she’s still not trustworthy of others because she has a pistol in her right hand. This is a beautiful cover and the joy on the title character’s face is excellent. The Greatest Moments Variant cover is “Skills with a Lightsaber” by Kevin Nowlan. This features the battle between Count Dooku and Yoda at the end of Attack of the Clones. I like Dooku as he looks fierce as he battles his former mentor. The lightning coming from the Sith’s hand is great. Yoda looks okay, but he’s not easy to make out due to his position, but you can’t exactly be posing when fighting a Sith. Overall grades: Regular A and Greatest Moments Variant B

The story: A holoprojection of a female who resembles the Emperor tells an Imperial officer that “We cannot allow a pair of hobos to infect the locals with mischievous ideas.” He tells her that the planet Milvayne accepted Imperial rule on the proviso they maintain an invisible presence. She tells them that they can do anything because they are public relations overseeing the transmission of all broadcasts. The propaganda flagship the Enduring Pride is revealed to be the setting for the Imperials. Another man comes forward to say that the woman and the droid have been captured, so the female demands that audio scanners be pulled up to hear what’s being said of the pair’s predicament. Simon Spurrier then moves to where Trip and the doctor were last seen: standing on a ledge with the local law and Tam Posla about to render justice by having them jump. Triple-Zero has lost his legs and is strapped to the back of Aphra much like Threepio was to Chewbacca at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Chelli tries to come up with a reason for the guards to turn on the zombified-by-the-Force officer, but can’t find the right words. That’s when Trip gives her solution. The doctor and the droid do what they do best on Page 8 which electrifies the millions watching their plight. A pause from being followed allows the doctor to do something to Triple-Zero and the chase resumes. There’s a solid action sequence on Pages 12 – 16, ending with a good surprise. However, a bigger surprise awaits everyone after the actions on 17, leaving the lead once again in one heck of a cliffhanger. The action in this is great, the dialogue is funny, and this has me on fire to see how Aphra can once again escape certain doom. Overall grade: A

The art: Emilio Laiso does an outstanding job with this issue. The holo-head that opens the issue instantly captures the evil feel of the Emperor, with the tight close ups that occur throughout the book, mirroring many camera shots of the Palpatine, creating tension. The full-paged splash on 2 that reveals the Pride is terrific. Aphra’s introduction to the book on 4 has her perilously standing on the edge of a high rise with several officers pointing their weapons at her. Posla looks awesome with his arms crossed, the ultimate figure of authority. The action that occurs between the first and second panels on 7 is fun and is only outdone by Posla’s reaction in the third panel. The large panel on 8 is sensational for all the action it contains. I especially like how Trip is pointing so Aphra knows where to go. The tiny panels that pop up throughout the book to show the populace watching the events transpire are good, reminding me of The Truman Show. The settings throughout this issue are tops, with the city being incredible. Seriously, if Laiso wanted to take several pages for the runaways to arrive at their destination, I would have been more than happy for the visual trip. The looks of relief at the bottom of 11 are good, as is the look of disgust that follows them. I loved the first two panels on 12 because they reinforced that one character cannot be trusted. The pose of the character that ends this page is heavenly — pure perfection for a pause. The vehicles that follow look outstanding, reminding one of the opening chase of Episode II. The actions in the large panel on 16 are excellent and I love the smile that one character wears. Page 18 is a full-paged splash featuring a tremendous attack and it’s incredible. The ships, the city, the explosions make this a powerful image. The close up that ends 19 is a hoot and a half, making the final image on 20, again a full-paged splash, thrilling. Mr. Laiso, you are an incredible artist. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Milvayne is a tech heavy world at night. There’s no real reason for it to be so colorful, but I’m extremely grateful that colorist Rachelle Rosenberg decided to make it so. Before the city is visited, the book begins with the interior of the Enduring Pride. I love the blues of the hologram and the yellow screens against the Imperial grays. Having the officer wearing a white uniform makes him the focus whenever he appears in this drab, but film appropriate, setting. I also like how the hologram’s dialogue is colored blue to reinforce that she’s not actually in the room. Milvayne City is gorgeous with its green lit backgrounds against violet colored locales. Triple-Zero’s evil red eyes stand out whenever he appears and Aphra’s green helmet makes her pop in every panel. The city is stunning on every page, with the red lights on vehicles a great touch. The colors on 18 make the destruction epic and allow me to better see all the details in the art. Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna is the man behind the transmissions, droid speech and Posla dialogue (all three are the same font), scene settings, dialogue, ship identifiers, sounds, and yells. I wish that the first three creations by Caramagna were in different fonts, as they are only differed by the shape of their balloon and their colors. At least Posla’s speech should be unique, seeing as how he’s a very unique being. The scene settings are bold block letters that stand out every time they appear to inform the reader of where they are. The sounds are terrific throughout, with my favorites being the gun play. I do wish that Caramagna had been allowed to do a sound on 18 because the image is spectacular, but sadly silent because Spurrier had written no sound. I’m continually baffled why several Star Wars comics go mute during action scenes or insert only sparse sounds. Star Wars needs to sound exciting and powerful! Overall grade: B

The final line: Aphra escapes certain doom only to find herself back in the thick of things in this Truman Show tale. The characters continue to be engaging, fun, and as reprehensible as any can find in the Star Wars Universe. The visuals are spectacular, with incredible action, vibrant characters, and lush settings. You can’t go wrong with a Doctor Aphra adventure. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://comicstore.marvel.com/Star-Wars-Doctor-Aphra-2016-29/digital-comic/50667?r=1

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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