Your Conspiracy, My Lord (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #23 Comic Book Review)

User Rating: 8.3

Writer: Simon Spurrier

Pencils: Kev Walker

Cover Artist: Ashley Witter

Colors: Java Tartaglia

Inks: Marc Deering

Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham

Aphra’s initial escape plan failed and now she’s stuck in a prison filled with deadly spores, her current lover, and her ex. What could possibly go wrong?

PREVIOUSLY ON THE LESBIAN PANIC IN SPACE, er sorry, STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA:

Aphra has royally screwed up. After blackmailing Magna Tolvan, her lover, to come to get her out of jail, Aphra then screws up the rescue by getting distracted by a lightsaber in an old Jedi tomb under the jail. They were cornered by a bounty hunter, and Aphra’s ex, Sana Starros. While trying to plan a 2nd escape Aphra is hauled off an interrogated. During this interrogation, Aphra reveals to the Imperial jailers that there are deadly spores under the prison (in order to protect the fact she’s on the run from Vader). The jail is evacuated but the prisoners are left to their own devices.

WHAT HAPPENED (THEN AND NOW):

So, not only is Aphra stuck in prison with deadly spores, she’s there with a lover who is mad at her, an ex who really wants to slap her, a fellow convict who got roped in, and (worst of all for Aphra) she can’t get to the lightsaber she wants.

Again, Aphra has royally screwed up. She spends most the issue trying to keep Tolvan and Starros from ripping each other apart and trying to plan a way to get to the lightsaber. While doing all of this she manages to blackmail someone else and (unknowingly) causing a rift between herself and Tolvan. Meanwhile, the “ghost” that has been floating around is a “guardian” of the Jedi’s tomb who will not open it for anyone but a hero. (And there are no heroes in that group.)

Aphra is so caught up in screwing up escapes and lightsaber retrievals that she doesn’t realize that she has driven a wedge between her and Tolvan. Aphra tried to share a genuine moment with Tolvan, the Imperial accurately concludes that Aphra screwed Starros over before leaving her. Aphra tried to play it off as Starros telling “tales,” but Tolvan said it was a hunch.

Not too long after this interaction, after Aphra and Starros having a moment, Tolvan makes a call that could finally be Chelli Aphra’s undoing.

WHAT MARY HAS TO SAY:

Like I said: Aphra has screwed up. No, she’s f#$@ed up. This issue will probably be the beginning of her undoing. One would expect the catalyst of said undoing would be her time in prison, bounty hunter Sana Starros, or even kidnapping a Rebel General. No. It looks like it might be, her lover, Magna Tolvan.

Aphra has used and blackmailed her more than once throughout the series, but Tolvan has taken it. Admittedly, Tolvan gives as good as she gets and “punches” back at Aphra. (Afterall, Tolvan is the one who tossed Aphra in prison.) But there was something about seeing how Aphra used and betrayed Starros that seems to rub her the wrong way and after witnessing the other two women have a genuine moment Tolvan steps away to make the fateful call.

Aphra seems to care a great deal for Tolvan and may even love her. Tolvan herself has stated that she loves Aphra, so if this conflict goes the way I think it will this will be an emotional and heartbreaking outcome for the both of them.

(I know I focused a lot on Tolvan, but this sets up something huge.)

Spurrier’s script sets up a lot of subplots that have been woven together very carefully that are leading up to the climax around the corner. This has been skillfully done and has been an exciting read. Action packed and emotional this issue will have you laughing, upset, and nervous for what’s to come.

The art still doesn’t really do it for me. It’s just not a style I’m into and it distracts from the story. Ashley Witter’s covers are phenomenal, however. (Who do I have to bribe to get her to do interior art?)

Overall the issue is fantastic and I will be very nervous for Aphra until the next issue.

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Mary Swangin

Mary Swangin

Chief News Editor
A lesbian who spends too much time/money reading and overanalyzing comic books. Also the co-host of the LGBTQ comic podcast Rainbows to the Rescue and the Chief News Editor of Shoot The Breeze Comics.
Summary
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #23 is a fast-paced, fun, and shocking issue. The action and the quick wits between Aphra, Tolvan, and Starros are fun, but the shocking (maybe) betrayal at the end will be a gut punch.
Good
  • A return to form for the treasure hunting Aphra.
  • Fun interactions between Tolvan and Starros.
  • Nervous Aphra is best Aphra
Bad
  • The art still isn’t my favorite.
  • My heart will break if Aphra and Tolvan do split up.
8.3
Great
Art - 7.5
Writing - 9
Plot - 8.5
Written by
A lesbian who spends too much time/money reading and overanalyzing comic books. Also the co-host of the LGBTQ comic podcast Rainbows to the Rescue and the Chief News Editor of Shoot The Breeze Comics.

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