Joy to the world, I’m but a step away from the seventh and last volume of Doctor Aphra‘s first run. Between you and me, dear reader, I loved this volume. Loved it.
Remember how I told you not to get used to the consistent art style and direction of the previous volume? That was some solid advice, I’ll have you know! These five issues have four pencillers working on them, four inkers, and two Color artists! Some of the style change can be excused by the switch back and forth between Chelli’s present and her adolescent memories on the planet of Arbiflux, but a few pages in issue 32 in particular struck me as downright ugly.
The cover art is brilliant, though; I’m particularly fond of issue 35:
The story tackles a daring rebel plan to do away with the Emperor; in case the title, UNSPEAKABLE REBEL SUPERWEAPON wasn’t clear enough. Aphra’s far more principled half, ex-Imperial captain Tolvan, shows up and the two share some of that amazing chemistry which last year earned Doctor Aphra a nomination, and then a win, just this July 30, of a GLAAD award. The complex, explosive relationship these two share comes to a head once more, especially on account of how Aphra used a memory-manipulating alien to make Tolvan believe she’d killed the woman she loved at the end of Volume 4.
Long story short, the rebels try to recruit Aphra; that doesn’t work out. The Imperials try to kill Aphra (was it in this volume, or last? Or in every volume?); that doesn’t work out either, on account of Aphra broadcasting across the entirety of the Galactic Empire that she has in her possession something the Imperials want, and is willing to give it up out of the goodness of her heart. This brings her in contact with Minister Pitina Voor (told you she’d come into play!), a particularly ambitious and highly placed courtier of Palpatine’s at the head of the Coalition for Progress.
The remaining issue and a half is one enormous contest in wits and wills between her and Chelli, and…The finale is great. It shows so much of what I love about Chelli Aphra — all the deviousness, the plans within plans she’s ready to make when she’s wronged, the extent to which she’s willing to go to get even. There’s a depth to Doctor Aphra that Spurrier hasn’t always managed to tap into, but he succeeds here, and with flying colours. There’s something that makes me want to gush like a kid about those last two pages, too, so I’m gonna!
SPOILERS (and Filip’s kid impression) incoming:
Then–then it ends with a “No no no no” and a VWOOOM; and Aphra, knowing what’s about to happen, hugs Vulaada and holds her tight, their eyes closed, only for him to address her…
Hell of a close. Can’t wait to read the last and seventh volume of Spurrier’s Doctor Aphra! After that, I am more than eager to jump into Alyssa Wong’s take on the character!