Doctor Aphra’s latest series launched as part of the May The 4th celebration day for Star Wars. Since then we have not had a new issue in the series until now. The break certainly impacts the momentum of this new Doctor Aphra series. While the reason for that break is understandable it would’ve helped to have at least Doctor Aphra release digitally so it can keep up the strong impact it had with its first issue. That minor complaint aside, I’m excited to see what Alyssa Wong and Marika Cresta have in store for Doctor Aphra and her crew after the adventure they set-up in the first issue. Let’s get into it and check out what happens next in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #2.
Writer: Alyssa Wong
Artist: Marika Cresta
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Years ago at the University of Bar’leth Eustacia Okka tells Chelli Aphra that she should stop falling asleep in class. Chelli calls Eustacia out for working on her own work during class. Chelli and Eustacia kiss after coming to an agreement about each other’s habits.
In the present, on Ark Angel III, Droid TA-418 gets a recorded message from Ronen Tagge. Ronen once again offers Professor Okka a chance to join his team and use the full resources of the Tagge Dynasty or die at the hands of his mercenaries. Ronen goes on to warn Professor Okka about not allying herself with Doctor Aphra.
After the recorded message ends Just Lucky wonders why Ronen called Doctor Aphra out in the message. Doctor Aphra reveals that some time ago she did a job for Ronen and recovered an artifact but when she learned about Ronen’s intention to destroy it so he would be the last one to touch the artifact she went against him. She goes on to say that after taking the payment for the job she stole the artifact and all of the artifacts that Ronen had collected at the time.
Professor Okka calls Ronen a fool for trust Doctor Aphra and that she won’t let him interfere with her research or destroy the Rings of Vaale. Doctor Aphra points out how it sounds like Professor Okka blames her for all this. Professor Okka says it usually is.
The Ark Angel III crew land on Dianth, in the Malitoris System. Once there they quickly discover the Lost City of Vaale. As they explore the city’s ruins Detta Yao discovers that the architects used actual bones to carve out the city walls. Detta and Just Luck notice that the faces on the walls almost look like they are moving. Just Lucky then becomes the only one that can hear a specific screech.
Black Krrsantan notices someone in the shadows but the person escapes before they can chase them. Detta then realizes that Professor Okka is not with them.
The crew all look for Professor throughout the ruins until they find her in the workshop room for the architects of Vaale. They find a secret hatch in the floor where a staircase to the workshop is located. While going down the stairs Professor Okka, Doctor Aphra and Detta talk about the Vaale and the power of the rings. They eventually make it to a door that they believe will have the workshop behind it. Just Lucky once again is the only one to hear a loud screech.
As Detta looks at the lock a former explorer crawls towards the crew, warning them that they should leave because the entire place is cursed. The faces on the walls start to scream. Professor Okka realizes that this is all part of the curse around the Rings of Vaale.
Doctor Aphra kills the cursed explorer and tells everyone to stay focused. Detta figures out that the lock on the door is a decoy and that there is another device that should open it.
As they explore the area Doctor Aphra wonders if something about the place they are in is making them hallucinate. Doctor Aphra asks Just Lucky how many arms the cursed explorer she shot had. Just Lucky says six.
Dotta finds something that may be the key to open the door. Before she can try cracking the code a loud noise starts blaring. Just Lucky and Black Krrsantan shot the device in order to destroy it and stop the noise.
Suddenly the floor beneath Professor Okka, Just Lucky and Black Krrsantan collapses and the three fall into a deep hole.
Doctor Aphra attempts to go after the three but is stopped from jumping by Detta.
Doctor Aphra and Detta are then surrounded by Ronen’s mercenaries who look to use Doctor Aphra’s skills now that Professor Okka is gone. End of issue.
The Good: After the first issue set the stage for the latest adventure for Doctor Aphra and her crew Alyssa Wong and Marika Cresta delve further into the history behind what is going on. By giving that history and creating a world that feels unique in the Star Wars Universe, Doctor Aphra #2 is able to keep the fun of this series.
The biggest thing that stood out throughout Doctor Aphra #2 was the chemistry with the entire cast. Wong shows a great knack for writing characters that all fit together well. The dialogue has a smooth flow from character to character. Whether its characters like Doctor Aphra and Professor Okka who have a long history with each other or newbie in Detta Yao, each character has a role to play in the crew that makes them all likable in their own way.
Opening Doctor Aphra #2 with a flashback to when Chelli and Eustacia Okka where in college together was the right tone setter. The first issue already established that there is quite a bit of an unease when it comes to where Doctor Aphra and Professor Okka stand. Giving us a glimpse at when these two had a relationship back in college shows that there is a lot more to their current standing with each other. There is a clear breaking point to their relationship that at least caused Professor Okka to view Doctor Aphra so lowly.
Adding in the history between Doctor Aphra and Ronen Tagge was another interesting flashback that actually adds to the current stakes of the greater story. Doctor Aphra screwing Ronen out of a previous deal works right into who we know Doctor Aphra to be. This also gives some contexts to newer readers to how highly Doctor Aphra views being an archaeologist. The best part is that this flashback did not outstay its welcome. Wong got right into why Doctor Aphra would screw over Ronen and moved forward with the story.
It is that sense of pacing that helps make anytime Wong gives us a history lesson of characters or the part of the Star Wars Universe that is explored so intriguing. Wong showed a strong understand when it was time for the characters chemistry with one another should stand out and when it was time to give backstory to the adventure. It’s a delicate balance that all works to make Doctor Aphra #2 such a fun read.
Keeping the story in Doctor Aphra #2 focused on the Ark Angel III crew helped make it so Wong doesn’t give away Ronen Tagge’s role as an antagonist away. With there being so much story to follow when it came to all the things with The Lost City of Vaale, we really didn’t need Ronen to be heavily involved. All that was needed from Ronen’s role in this story is to be reminded he is the antagonist. And by focusing on the adventure on Dianth, Wong actually gets you to forget that Ronen Tagge is chasing after the Ark Angel III. That allowed the ending with Tagge’s mercenaries showing up to be a strong hook to drive further interest for the next issue in this series.
Marika Cresta delivered a lot of great artwork throughout Doctor Aphra #2. I was particularly impressed with how she brought The Lost City of Vaale to life. The world looked unique from everything we’ve seen in the Star Wars Universe. At the same time it still had a design that felt at home in this universe. The faces in particular added a creepy vibe that actually made you concern that at any minute something would pop out to attack the Ark Angel III crew.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #2 kept the momentum going from the first issue and provided context for the adventure the Ark Angel III crew are on. The chemistry between Doctor Aphra and her entire crew is what drives this issue. Thanks to excellent writing from Alyssa Wong and strong artwork from Marika Cresta this issue kept your interest the entire time. If you are a Star Wars fan then you should be checking out this new Doctor Aphra series out as soon as you can.
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