Comic Review – Sana Starros and Her Recruits Come to the Rescue in “Star Wars: Doctor Aphra” (2020) #25

Marvel’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra comic book continues to build toward a climactic showdown against the self-aware Artificial Intelligence known as the Spark Eternal in Vol. 2, #25, which was released today.

Doctor Aphra #25 starts on the Crimson Dawn flagship the Vermillion, where the title character– rogue archaeologist Chelli Lona Aphra– has been possessed by the Spark Eternal and is seeking to accumulate more technology created by the dark-side cult called the Ascendant.

After fighting off the assassin Just Lucky and his partner in crime Ariole Yu, the Spark Eternal sets its sights on Kho Phon Farrus, who’s been collecting numerous Ascendant weapons. Little does the Spark know that Farrus has teamed up with the likes of Sana Starros and Aphra’s other frenemies, exes, family members, and scattered acquaintances like Magna Tolvan, Detta Yao, Eustacia Okka, Chelli’s father Korin Aphra, and those evil, murderous droids Triple-Zero and BT-1. Together this group plans to infiltrate the Vermillion and free Aphra from the Spark Eternal’s grasp. Meanwhile, inside Chelli’s mind, the archaeologist continues to interact with and learn from the Chadra-fan named Miril, who was the creator and leader of the Ascendant “a long, long time ago.” Miril tells Aphra about the weapon known as the Null Blade, which can temporarily neutralize lightsabers, though it itself is susceptible to them. She also warns poor Chelli that there may not actually be a way for her to separate herself from the Spark Eternal’s clutches after all.

Back on the Vermillion, Kho Phon Farrus confronts the Spark and demands to know why they weren’t the one to be chosen by the A.I., as a devotee of the Ascendant. A brief scuffle later and Farrus has crushed Aphra’s body using their fake Force powers. The Spark Eternal isn’t quite done putting up a fight, however, despite being lassoed by the Ascendant’s Whip of Sorrows. The final splash page features all the assembled recruits ready to rescue Aphra from the Spark, and I’m once again reminded why I enjoy the Doctor Aphra comic so much. I’ve complained about there being too many protagonist characters in other Star Wars stories (especially in The High Republic novels), but here I think it absolutely works in the title’s favor, as it’s become clear that even though she can be a handful and has a tendency to betray even her closest allies, Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra also has a way of inspiring faithful allegiance in those around her. It’s just a whole lot of fun to watch Sana Starros and company begrudgingly come together to free Chelli, in spite of the fact that they know she probably won’t be capable of displaying the appropriate level of gratitude once she comes out the other side. With that in mind, I’m looking forward to seeing just how the rest of this arc plays out next month.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #25 is available now wherever comic books are sold.