With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing unabated more repercussions are being felt. Marvel is having to delay the release of new comic issues. Which is why I have not reviewed any new editions for Star Wars 2020, Darth Vader 2020 and Blade Runner 2019. Luckily, back on Force Monday Marvel did publish the first issue of the new Doctor Aphra comic series. The issue is officially called Fortune and Fate and is the first in the series named The Rings of Vaale. It is written by Alyssa Wong. The artist was Marika Cresta and the color artist Rachelle Rosenberg. I must say I think all three did a wonderful job. This issue feels very vibrant in art and color.
I have read a number of previous Doctor Aphra comics, but they were never my favorite. While I like the character and her interactions with Darth Vader I felt the comic was too lighthearted and too focused on the young adult audience. Those criticisms remain even with this new series, but I did have a lot of fun reading it.
Lets start on Hoth
Chelli Aphra finds herself stuck on Hoth just after the defeat of the rebels. While evading Imperial soldiers she also evades a bounty hunter, as her partner Just Lucky kills him with a well placed headshot. Its a Han-Solo-shoots-first attitude that pervades this comic series. Back at the Shadow University Aphra has to face the fact the haul was not as worthwhile as hoped. Before long she makes acquaintances with a desperate Archeology student named Detta Yad. Detta is a little bit too enthusiastic and desperate to hunt after the fabled Rings of Vaale. Chelli recognizes the fact Detta is not entirely truthful but she needs the money and accepts to lead the treasure hunt. Right away subtle hints of a relationship between the two are made clear.
This becomes more complicated when they travel to the Ruins of Kolkur to meet Doctor Eustacia Okka. She is an expert on the Rings of Vaale but takes convincing to come along due to her prior history with Aphra. The complication is that there is romantic tension between Chelli and Eustacia and Eustacia and Detta. It is interrupted by the arrival of a gang of mercenaries who desire to recruit Eustacia for their hunt of the rings. It is Just Lucky who once again saves the day, though I did notice how Detta Yad uses a poison blade to kill one of her attackers. There is more than just a subtle hint she is not who she says she is.
Conclusion to Doctor Aphra 2020 issue 1
Eustacia clarifies the mercenaries work for Ronen Tagge, of the Tagge family. Now with years of her work destroyed by the mercenaries she is forced to accept a deal. If they find the cursed Rings of Vaale Eustacia will get credit for the find. And hopefully be reinstated at the Shadow University. Detta will be able to finish her thesis and Chelli Aphra will get the money. And so starts a fun little adventure that reminds me more than just a little bit of Indianan Jones meets Star Wars. I certainly did not regret purchasing this comic.
The issue ends with the obligatory scene at the lair of the villain – Ronen Tagge. We see him destroy priceless works of art so that he can claim he was the last to touch them. We will have to see what kind of villain he will become, and whether Darth Vader will continue the hunt for Doctor Aphra. However, this first issue of the new comic series is certainly off to a good start.
Doctor Aphra 2020 will be back for issue # 2 on July 15th. That is a long wait, no doubt due to the ongoing Coronavirus. So even this date can slip.
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