Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Volume 3: Remastered – Kieron Gillen, Simon Spurrier & Emilio Laiso (Marvel)

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\"\"Much as I’ve loved anything related to the impish Doctor Aphra that we’ve so far had flung at us, I can’t help but feel, her star is on the wane with this latest batch of adventures. In previous escapades the mischief maker has flown in, caused mayhem and cleared off again, leaving a trail of bad decisions and destruction behind her. The culmination of the last volume however, saw her team broken apart and the Lara Croft in space flying solo without her Wookie sidekick and dastardly, deadly droid duo 000 and BT-1. This latest run opens promisingly with Aphra on some daring heist mission falling foul of Imperial Captain Tolvan, a woman who has an Aphra related past. Sparks fly and the mission goes somewhat awry, but not before the two women from opposite sides of the fire fight share something of an intimate moment that lingers and confuses things for both from there on in. This adds a certain frisson to the escapades that follow, and believe me, there are plenty of escapades that follow, as we discover that the good (or bad) Doc is now working on behalf of a sinister crime syndicate who are blackmailing her to get up to no good. Pretty mad twist that I won’t spoil here …

Well, the adventures come and go and there’s plenty of imagination thrown at the book: a team of assembled loonies, misfits and ne-er-do-wells are put together for Aphra on her latest mission to steal something from an impregnable stronghold and an equally deranged bunch of miscreants are encountered along the way. For every insane babbling droid, headless and pot bellied erm, someone or other, dark wolf beast and multi armed assassin there’s two Hutt soldiers and a Davros type Imperial part man part machine hybrid. Not to mention the Pokemon-esque beasties who are somehow cloned and well, oh cripes, I don’t ruddy know … it all strikes me as if it’s aimed at a slightly different demographic than the usual Star Wars fan boy … the lady love interest, using phrases like F.Y.I. and the little cute exploding pets … It’s certainly bright and breezy fun, but with Doc becoming more of a central figure to proceedings rather than an irksome pest getting under the skin of all and sundry from both an Imperial and Rebellion point of view, I feel something is lost along the way. Seeing Aphra working for someone other than herself – “I take orders from just one person, me!” to quote a similar sort of character you may have heard of – is rather out of synch with what we’ve seen so far in the likes of the deranged Screaming Citadel arc and earlier run ins with a certain Dark Lord of the Sith. It remains to be seen whether or not the Star Wars take on Tank Girl can carry it off on her own. The jury’s out at the minute. Marv Gadgie


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