When Marvel launched their new line of Star Wars titles in 2015, the one that quickly became a favourite with fans was Darth Vader. Focusing on Vader during the period between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back as he tries to redeem himself in the eyes of The Emperor after the destruction of the Death Star, the series received a lot of praise for its on point portrayal and character study of Vader. But one of the main points of praise was the new characters introduced with the morally dubious archaeologist Doctor Aphra being the breakout character. Now the character makes her solo title debut in an all-new series.
Following her time in the clutches of Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra has barely escaped with her life. If he ever learns of her survival, he’ll hunt her to the ends of the galaxy. But for now, it’s time for a return to what she does best. With the droids 0-0-0 and BT-1 in tow, she’s off in search of rare artefacts from the galactic centre to the Outer Rim and everywhere in between. Aphra’s got debts to pay after all. Just as long as she can stay one step ahead of the Empire, some Bounty Hunters and just about everyone else in the galaxy!
Darth Vader writer Kieron Gillen returns to handle writing duties for the character he co-created and he retains the great tone he established in that series – though the absence of Vader does allow for the black comedy elements to gain more prominence. Aphra and her crew work as a wonderfully dark counterpart to the main Star Wars cast of characters – with Aphra being an even more ethically challenged Han Solo, 0-0-0 and BT-1 act as the twisted counterparts to C3PO and R2D2 and Black Krrsantan rounding off the group as a debt collector equivalent of Chewbacca. The main appeal of this series is definitely from the interaction of this group of characters and the dark humour derived from it. 0-0-0 and BT-1 are once again the show-stealers with their very twisted approach to all problems and their quickness to suggest killing to make things more convenient. But for fans of the Aphra character, this is also a great chance to further explore the character with her strained relationship with her father being a prominent plotline and there is even a backup story showing her early days training as an archaeologist which shows she hasn’t changed much with age.
On the art front, Kev Walker of Marvel Zombies and Avengers Arena fame handle duties tremendously. His previous work has often dabbled in dark comedy making him a natural fit for this series, but he also excels in the action scenes – with once again any moments featuring the killer droids being particular highpoints.
Fans of the previous Darth Vader series and Kieron Gillen should pick this right up as this continues to be one of the best corners of the Star Wars comic universe, and anyone looking for a great sci-fi/adventure story will find plenty to enjoy too.
9781302906771 – P/B £14.99
Post by Leo