Title: Star Wars – Doctor Aphra, Vol. 5: Worst Among Equals
Creators: by Simon Spurrier (Writer), Emilio Laiso (Illustrator), Ashley Witter (Cover Art), Caspar Wijngaard (Artist)
Social Media: Goodreads
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Format and Price: Kindle format at $16.60
Stars: 5 stars out of 5
About The Creators:
The relevant links are available above.
About The Book:
Collects Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #26-31, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Annual #2.
Doctor Aphra — worst among equals! On the run from the law in a massive alien metropolis, Aphra has ten hours to cross the hostile megacity before the bomb implanted in her throat explodes. And don’t forget the pack of bounty hunters and crazed cops that are on her tail. No big deal, right? But there’s one more wrinkle: Aphra can’t stray more than a few paces from her companion without activating the bomb’s proximity alert and blowing both of them up. And that companion is Triple-Zero — a sadistic, murderous droid who’s more interested in Aphra’s death than in playing nice! With undead hunters, monster trappers and the foulest divisions of the Imperial war machine between Aphra and salvation, is this the end for the galaxy’s foremost amoral archaeologist?
YARR! Thar Be Spoilers Ahead! Ye Have Been Warned!
~Sliding Scale of Plot versus Character: This volume definitely sits more towards the plot end of the scale, however, there is a few good sections of character exploration as well. To be honest, while all the plot elements eventually add up, the process as a whole is a bit of a mess.
The previous volume appears to have a study of reckoning for Doctor Aphra, while this volume appears to be a study of reckoning for Triple-Zero (more on this later). I get the feeling that the creative team behind this volume knew how they wanted the volume to end, however, I don’t think they always knew how to get there.
The general outline of the plot is that Doctor Aphra and Triple-Zero have bombs implanted inside their heads and need them removed. They have to stay within 20-metres of each other, or else they will both explode, something both parties are eager to avoid at first. Doctor Aphra and Triple-Zero’s mutual goal is to find a medical professional who can remove the aforementioned bombs.
This involves a myriad of Side Quests for Doctor Aphra and Triple-Zero to pass through, which can seem distracting as the narrative jumps around to multiple points of view, however, it does all connect together in the end. This volume is actually a great example of escalated conflict done well.
~World-Building – The Empire: Milvayne is the name of the Planet this adventure takes place on, and the Empire’s Public Relations department does give a lot more clarity on how the Empire has managed to stay in control of so many planets for such a long time. It also explains how and why Tam Posla is the way he is and why he single-mindedly pursues his vendetta.
~Character Focus – Triple-Zero: Within the Star Wars universe, I understand that the lives and freedoms of Androids are limited, unless they’d freed from their protocol programming, they’re essentially slaves to it. Triple-Zero and BeeTee-One are exceptional, and Triple-Zero appears to have become quite accustomed to giving orders.
Triple-Zero has also become accustomed to making threats of violence and generally not tolerating humanoid people longer than he has to. The problem with this is that Triple-Zero possesses enough smarts/self-awareness to know that it’s generally considered suspicious behaviour for an Android to act independently or display personality traits.
While Doctor Aphra is doing everything she can to keep a low-profile, Triple-Zero does nothing but draw attention to himself, and his arrogance is borderline self-sabotage. I think it’s supposed to show that BeeTee-One acts as a Morality Chain of sorts for Triple-Zero.
At the darkest hour of the novel, when it looks like BeeTee-One has been destroyed, and Triple Zero learns how and why he was created, it makes sense that Triple-Zero decides that the best course of action is to begin walking away from Doctor Aphra (who currently can’t walk). The only thing that stops Triple-Zero is the fact that Doctor Aphra manages to bring BeeTee-One back online just in time.
~Cliffhanger Ending: I found the ending more anti-climatic than cliff-hanger. Doctor Aphra’s Heroic Sacrifice moment, complete with Triple-Zero holding her hand, was sweet in a twisted kind of way. Given the fact that there are two more volumes in the Doctor Aphra series, it’s pretty obvious that she’ll survive, even with her extensive injuries.
All in all, Volume 5 was a wild ride, it contained important plot points, and interesting character reflection. Happy to recommend and I am looking forward to the next volume.