Doctor Aphra: War of the Bounty Hunters Part 1

Aphra and Sana’s search for Ebann Drake comes to an unexpected end when they find the crew and clientele of The Opal Empress dead. Their search leads them to a swarm of vicious bugs and the terrifying Bounty Hunter, Durge.

The first issue in Aphra’s story within ‘War of the Bounty Hunters’ doesn’t wow. In fact it’s once again a lacklustre instalment of a series that’s struggled along for quite a while now.

The issue starts on The Opal Empress with Ebann Drake enjoying himself and the opulence on board the ship before it jumps to a bit later with Aphra and Sana on approach to the ship in Sana’s Volt Cobra.

Once onboard The Empress, the two soon realise that something is wrong and eventually come across the corpse of Drake. They find his invitation to the Crimson Dawn meeting and auction for Han Solo.

Meanwhile, Lucky and Ariole discuss the upcoming Crimson Dawn meeting and how Crae, their former mentor betrayed Wen Delphis.

Soon after, Durge appears on the scene, also on board The Opal Empress and the monstrous bugs make their presence known and swarm Aphra, Sana and Durge who do their best to escape.

Using her quick wits, Aphra has Durge lead the swarm into an airlock and jettisons the bugs and the Bounty Hunter into space. Whilst some bugs remain on the ship, Aphra and Sana manage to get back to The Volt Cobra and escape.

On The Cobra, they contact Domina Tagge and inform them of Ebann’s demise as well as the invitation. Tagge tells them she wants them to go to the meeting and get as much information for her as possible.

I’m really trying to really enjoy this series, and whilst I haven’t finished reading the original run of ‘Doctor Aphra’, she is a character I have thoroughly enjoyed reading since she showed up in ‘Darth Vader’. However, this series has been on a steady decline after the first story arc (granted we’re only on the third right now) but when you have a great character like Aphra and she’s not reaching the high potential that she has then it’s going to be disappointing.

It’s time to address my elephant in the room. Durge. Why oh why has he been brought over from the Legends content? I was never a fan of the strange tentacle creature in armour from his introduction in ‘The Clone Wars’ microseries and when he was in the ‘Star Wars: Republic’ comics from Dark Horse I was less than interested. He always felt to me, like an attempt to fill the main Bounty Hunter role left behind after the beheading of Jango Fett and when Filoni and Lucas gave us Cad Bane in ‘The Clone Wars’, I had hoped that Durge had been left by the wayside for the long run.

Now, I’ll give the ‘Doctor Aphra’ team some credit, Durge never came across as some sort of beast/monster in this issue, he does however come across like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Predator’ or ‘Commando’, I was almost hoping for a “Get to da choppah!” type line and the lack thereof probably added to my overall disappointment. And, to be honest there’s still plenty of time to get one seeing as his ejection out of an airlock is probably not the last we will see of him.

The art is great, which for a comic is a definite must, but the story just continues to lack something for me. It’s hardly through a lack of talent, Alyssa Wong wowed me with her first run of this series and her bibliography is nothing to be trifled with. There’s a part of me that wonders if, because of ‘War of the Bounty Hunters’, her hand has been forced to a certain degree to have the characters reach a point and then participate in the crossover, rather than Wong have complete control over the direction of the series. I’ll definitely finish this arc, with the hope that I find the series more engaging by the end but I’m afraid at this point, Doctor Aphra’s time on my subscription list may be limited.

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