Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #5 (2020)


Doctor Aphra and her team are after the Rings of Vaale, mysterious ancient artifacts of untold power.

There’s just one tiny but extremely dangerous detail—Ronen Tagge, scion of the infamous and insanely powerful Tagge family, has his eyes on the prize.

The race for the rings began on Dianth where Professor Okka discovered the fabled Ring of Fortune! But Okka’s new protégé, Detta Yao, betrayed Aphra’s team! Aphra turned the tables on Detta only for Just Lucky to snatch the ring and deliver it to his real boss-Ronen!

Aphra’s team narrowly escaped the complete obliteration of the ancient city long home to the rings. After stealing an old starship and bringing the fight to Ronen, Aphra is determined to…be taken prisoner? It’s all part of her plan. Probably…

Writer: Alyssa Wong
Artist: Marika Cresta
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Cover artist: Valentina Remenar
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publication date: October 28, 2020
Pages: 32
UPC: 759606097241

The first arc of her second volume comes to an explosive end with Part 5 of “Fortune and Fate,” entitled “Power Play.” Jumping ahead from the end of Part 4’s conclusion the final part of the Fortune Fate Arc finds Dr Aphra and her band of archaeologist misfits in the luxury penthouse suite of Ronen Tagge in Canto Bight on Cantonica. Where somehow Aphra needs to rescue herself, her companions and liberate the Rings of Vaale from the young Tagge upstart. The recap text says Aphra has a plan…probably but what is it and who from her crew will take the fall so Aphra can save her skin?

The final part of this arc is set in one location and Rachelle Rosenbergs colouring makes for a stark contrast from the necropolis of the previous issues. Tagge’s apartment is bright and vibrant and she gives all of the characters a healthy skin tone. This helps convey the opulence of the locale whilst the cool blues of the disintegration chamber offers a nice contrast and reminds us danger isn’t too far behind.

When you insert the title character into an ensemble cast it inevitably and unfortunately takes focus away from the lead character and this has been a downside to this story arc from the get go. Readers familiar with Dr Aphra’s previous antics may feel cheated by this but those who have jumped on to the new series may have. The previous four parts have given glimpses into the brilliance of the character but not as much as if she was on her own. However, in the final part of this story arc writer Alyssa Wong turns the focus back onto the brilliant and devious mind of Dr Aphra whilst at the same time plays on the readers fears of which of the characters might not make to the end of story.

Last months instalment saw Aphra double crossed again so this week’s episode we see the good Doctor giving the appearance that its her time to shine. With the help of the tiny droid TA-418 Aphra uses herself as the distraction so the little guy can work his magic and save the day. Whilst he doesn’t feature heavily in this issue he does play a pivitol role and at first you can be forgiven if you don’t pay him much attention. He is very similar to BD-1 who runs around Cal Kestus in Jedi Fallen order, these little explorer droids grow on you very quickly and whilst they aren’t capable of the banter of murder droids Triple Zero or BeeTee One they’re likeable neither the less. Whether he’ll stay around will depend greatly on what Eustacia decides to do.

Ronen Tagge plays his part in the whole caper as predictably as Aphra would have hoped and makes the same mistake as so many others have before by thinking he has the upper hand on Aphra. He is as much the arrogant and petulant man-baby as you would expect but also monologues that would give even some of the best James Bond villains a run for their money and gave Wong the opportunity to throw some shade on the writing of The Rise of Skywalker. (See top right panel of attached image). His plan to destroy the rings, then rule the galaxy plus flaunting his families wealth and influence only makes you wish the Doctor’s hands weren’t tied so she could sock him one in the mouth.

I’ve enjoyed Alyssa Wong’s writing and her characterisation of Aphra. She’s used the other members of her treasure hunting team to explore aspects of Aphra character and show how most people in the galaxy really see Aphra. What is nice is that in the end Aphra comes through for Eustacia, is this is a new Aphra that has grown from her previous failures?

Only time will tell but it does give me hope that new stories can still offer different perspectives on Dr Aphra when most people probably think they have her number already.

All in all this chapter ties up the arc nicely whilst leading naturally into a new one, I’m looking forward to seeing the meeting of Aphra and Domina Tagge as you get the impression the Tagge’s wont roll over for anyone and she’ll be out to avenge Ronen, plus Aphra has already mentioned she’s “stunning” so this could make for some fun back and forth banter between the two.

There is also a nice poetry with General Cassio Tagge featuring so much in Aphra’s introductory story in the Darth Vader comic, its also nice to be able to give Aphra her own on-going bad guys.

Hopefully they’ll be a recurring theme in future Aphra stories as its refreshing to have a story that’s not heavily tied to directly to Vader, the Imperials, the Rebels or even Jedi artefacts; it’s a big galaxy after all.

Doctor Aphra (Star Wars)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Kuhn, Sarah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 04/06/2021 (Publication Date) - Del Rey (Publisher)
Mark Mulcaster
Mark has been a fan of the saga since the early 1990s after rediscovering the original trilogy on VHS and dived right into the first Grand Admiral Thrawn Trilogy, he has been an avid Star Wars reader ever since. He’s been a member of the Star Wars costuming community since 2007 when he joined the Rebel Legion’s Elstree Base, the Base he now runs as Base Commanding Officer as well as also being a member of both the 501st UK Garrison and the Mandalorian Mercs Vok Chi clan here in the UK.