Comic Review – Durge the Bounty Hunter Meets Chelli and Sana in “Star Wars: Doctor Aphra” (2020) #11

Ever since Disney wiped out the existing Star Wars Expanded Universe (now relegated to the “Legends” timeline), in order to make way for the theatrical sequel trilogy’s continuity, the powers that be at Lucasfilm have been gradually working back in elements of the EU to make them officially part of the newly rebooted canon. Examples include the villainous Grand Admiral Thrawn, Jaxxon the Lepi smuggler, and now the fearsome bounty Durge– who first made his presence known in Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series on Cartoon Network.

Now Durge is back as a foil for Dr. Chelli Aphra and her partner in crime Sana Starros in issue #11 of Marvel’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra comic book (volume 2)– after appearing in a single panel of the comic last month. Chelli and Sana find themselves investigating a seemingly abandoned luxury cruiser called the Opal Empress in search of industrialist Domina Tagge’s wayward cousin Ebann Drake when Durge shows up to collect his bounty on the same target.

Unfortunately for Durge– not to mention Aphra and Starros’s mission– Drake is dead, along with all of the ship’s crew and passengers, thanks to some nasty Alien-facehugger-like parasites called cymotes (yes, that’s the second time today a Star Wars comic has brought to mind the Alien franchise for me). So Chelli, Sana, and Durge must work together to fight off a swarm of these little buggers before they get eaten alive, if they don’t eliminate each other first thanks to their very uneasy alliance. Meanwhile, the assassin Just Lucky and his associate Ariole Yu are headed to the Crimson Dawn auction of Han Solo’s frozen-in-carbonite body (see other Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters tie-ins for more on this ongoing concern) at the behest of the Sixth Kin syndicate, and as we discover in this issue, they’re also set on a collision course with our protagonists thanks to an elite invitation found on Drake’s corpse.

There’s a lot going on here, as you can tell, but this installment of Doctor Aphra is still a fun, breezy read with mostly likeable scoundrels as its main characters (although I was more than a little taken aback by Chelli’s willingness to send Durge out the Opal Empress’s airlock with the cymotes– hey, another Alien-inspired moment), but I highly doubt that will be the last we’ll see of him in this summer’s big Star Wars crossover event. Writer Alyssa Wong and artist Minkyu Jung have found the right tone to connect the oftentimes wackier personality of Aphra to the somewhat-more-serious-minded (but only just) narrative of War of the Bounty Hunters, and I think it will certainly be interesting when all of the parties involved find themselves face-to-face with each other at Crimson Dawn’s auction. It’s an intriguing way for all of these disparate personae to intersect, and as always I’m looking forward to reading more.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #11 is available now wherever comic books are sold.