Published by: Marvel Comics
Release date: April 12, 2017
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Kev Walker
Inks: Marc Deering
Colors: Antonio Fabela
One of my biggest critiques of the Star Wars expanded universe–and I believe rightly so–is the tendency to build up a story to being important, only to (seemingly) play an insignificant role in the grand scheme of things. While not everything can be important (otherwise, nothing would feel special), I’m also not interested in reading a story just because it’s Star Wars. If it’s not good, I don’t want to waste my time, and I know I’m not alone here. What I will say is I hope the rest of the team takes a cue from Marvel’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #6 (and the series as a whole), because while I doubt the contents will change the universe monumentally, the journey absolutely felt worthwhile.
In the conclusion of the book, Team Aphra finally figures out what makes the Eternal Rur tick, so to speak, and gets a glimpse into the downfall of the Ordu Aspectu. However, things are cut short when the Eternal Rur decides to attack them, resulting in an unlikely team-up that provides the kind of comic relief we’ve grown to expect from Gillen. While I doubt this will be the last we see of the Ordu Aspectu, the issue wraps everything up in a way that if the series was to end (thankfully, there’s more on the way), it wouldn’t be dissatisfying.
What works well with this series is, as I discussed last week, we see a relationship between a parent and child that feels believable. There is no Supreme Leader Snoke seducing Aphra to the Dark Side, nor did Aphra Sr. believe his child to be dead, only to try killing her time and time again without knowing who she really was. We see a family where selfish ambition, even tempered with good intentions, led to separation and heartbreak; a relationship where both parties struggled with transparency and vulnerability, with brief glimpses only when sarcasm and anger was involved. In a universe with aliens, droids, and hyperspace travel, it feels refreshing to find something nearly everyone can actually relate to, no matter one’s walk of life.
Gillen also does a great job of reminding us that we are entering an era of Star Wars where the dualistic nature of good versus evil is quickly eroding. Just like the recent Thrawn novel, it’s easy to forget Chelli would, for all intents and purposes, be considered an anti-hero. She is far from living a life modeled after the Jedi Code, and she willingly worked for Darth Vader. Yet, because of Gillen’s masterful writing, we witness her humanity, flaws and perfections alike, and, as I mentioned above, it is easy to relate to her, in both triumphs and defeats. This is also why I enjoyed Gillen’s take on Vader: I actually felt like I could get into his head (for better or for worse).
While I have a handful of trades on my bookshelf, I won’t be buying them for every series. However, there is no doubt in my mind I’ll eventually pick up this series, as it has been one of the most enjoyable to date. The storyline is engaging, the artwork is gorgeous, and it’s simply a fun and immersive experience. I’m not quite sure what to expect with the upcoming crossover with the mainline Star Wars series, but if this arc has been any indication, it will be an absolute blast.
As long as Yoda and the rock monsters don’t show up, that is.
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
- I really want to see more of the Ordu Aspectu. It actually seems like something we may hear about in The Last Jedi, even if it’s just in passing. Or maybe this is setting up something down the road, where the Story Group decides to spend more time in the Old Republic era? I know there are plenty of people who wouldn’t mind this.
- The humor in this series reminds me a lot of what we see on screen, and I love it. Tonally, I really think the series captures the spirit of the Star Wars universe at large. However, there are times where I wish we would have been introduced to Aphra in a movie first.
- I’m wondering where Aphra got the fake Ordu Aspectu piece? It’s not as if there are green crystals of that shape/size just lying around everywhere.