After getting into the grand Crimson Dawn party, Aphra and Sana work to keep a low profile but after getting recognised by a disguised Clone Soldier and a failed attempt at jewellery theft, Aphra is blindsided by the arrival of Darth Vader.
The bar is raised in this slow paced but equally tense issue as we get our first look at Qi’Ra’s lavish shindig as we are introduced to the veritable who’s who of the criminal underworld.
Aphra and Sana get into the party using the recovered invitation they got in the last issue. For the most part they do their best to lay low, seeing as most of the patrons have death sentences on Aphra’s head.
Of course that doesn’t stop the rogue archaeologist from doing what she does best after she tries to steal a necklace from a member of Black Sun, the jewels on which also act as data storage. The botched theft leads Aphra to planting a slicing chip on the jewellery to get info for Domina.
She is then approached by a former, disguised Clone soldier who enlists her and Sana to help him by creating a diversion when the time comes.
When Qi’Ra makes her appearance, Lucky and Ariole, also at the party, follow their former mentor, Crae into a back corridor where he he challenges them to a fight which the two younger gangsters are put through their paces.
Back at the auction, things are hitting up as the bidding war for Han Solo begins between the illustrious Jabba and another Hutt. Jabba wins the auction but the festivities quickly come to an end with the arrival of Darth Vader, claiming the Solo belongs to him.
The arrival of Vader sends Aphra into a state of panic, telling Sana they have to leave before she drops the device given to her to cause the distraction, drawing Vader’s attention.
And just like that, my faith in this series is restored (well a little bit). In what I think is the quietest issue of the series so far, with very little happening, the tension level has ramped up exponentially to the point where I feel like an impatient child in wanting to read the next part as soon as possible (a kriffing month).
I’m sure that many of the ‘War of the Bounty Hunters’ Part Twos will feature similar beats as this one as the auction is possibly one of the biggest moments that the characters are part of so seeing it from different perspectives could be interesting, but having it first shown in the pages of ‘Doctor Aphra’ gives this series some added weight.
Having been disappointed with this run over the last few months, this issue was a refreshing change of pace and has reinvigorated my enjoyment of the series. I’m really hoping that the rest of this arc continues to, in my opinion, maintain this standard, and if it does I’ll be happy to keep going with it.
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