World Comic Book Review

A Deep Six’d Publication

10th August 2022

Per Aspera Ad Astra: Doctor Aphra #1 (review)

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1
Marvel Comics, December 07, 2016
Writer: Kieron Gillen

“Doctor Aphra” #1 marks the start of a new ongoing series from American publisher Marvel Comics’ line of “Star Wars” comic books (facilitated by multinational entertainment company Disney’s ownership of both Marvel Comics and Lucasfilms Ltd, the latter being the corporate vehicle for the Star Wars properties).

The title features a female character created originally as a side character in the recently published “Darth Vader” comic book series. The character is, curiously, a rogue archaeologist (which should be a concept overflowing with potential, given the setting). She is characterized as a technological and mechanical savant, an above average marksman, and a risk-taker only kept alive by quick wits and willingness to commit morally dubious acts. Despite (or perhaps because of) the conceptual similarity to the “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” franchise, Aphra stands out as one of the few likeable antiheroes in a franchise full of characters that only deal in moral absolutes.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens #1 (review)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens #1
(Marvel Comics, June 2016)
Writer: Chuck Wendig

This is a six issue mini-series by Marvel Comics based upon the movie, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015, LucasFilms Ltd / Walt Disney Studios).

“Star Wars” comic book adaptions are very popular, and recent spin-off titles have centred many of the main characters (we have recently reviewed “Vader Down”, by way of one example). Some of these stories are bubbling with creativity, fuelled by the sheer enthusiasm which so many imaginative and ardent writers have for the franchise.

With that in mind, we warn you: Do not buy this comic book if you expect that the title contains anything new.

It does not contain any tangential plot lines arising from the motion picture. It does not contain any new backstory to any of the characters. In promoting this title, Marvel Comics should have (but did not) make it extremely apparent from the copy on the cover that this comic is a very strict film adaption. The story does not deviate at all from the movie, save that it is an edited version of the first few chapter of the movie plot. Here is an example:

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Alone Against the Rebellion

Star Wars: Vader Down #1 [review]
Marvel Comics, November 2015
Writer: Jason Aaron
Review by Neil Raymundo, 23 November 2015

With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premiere, it is not surprising that tie-ins are sprouting like mushrooms on just about any medium available to its license holder. And while Star Wars comic books were being churned out regularly these past few years, the six-issue mini-series “Vader Down” is notable for a couple of reasons.

First is that the story is set after the events of “Star Wars: A New Hope” (the first movie) and before “The Empire Strikes Back” (the second movie), which means “Vader Down” does not have much leeway with regard to the direction of the story. The timeskip between the two movies should provide ample room for a new story in terms of chronology, but the existence of both movies restricts what “Vader Down” could do in terms of character progression and continuity.

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