Comic Review – Chelli Enlists Sana Starros to Help Rescue Magna Tolvan in “Star Wars: Doctor Aphra” (2020) #38

Today saw the release of issue #38 of Volume II of Marvel Comics’ ongoing title Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.

Doctor Aphra #38 begins where the previous issue left off, with the title character– rogue archaeologist Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra– having arrived at her ex-girlfriend Sana Starros’s apartment on the planet Corellia looking for help. Chelli needs Sana’s assistance in rescuing another ex, namely Rebel Alliance Captain Magna Tolvan– from the grasp of the evil artificial intelligence known as the Scourge. The Scourge has moved on from spreading like a malignant virus through the droids of the galaxy and is now capable of inhabiting the bodies of cyborgs, of which Tolvan is one. So Starros reluctantly agrees to join Aphra and the assassin Just Lucky on a mission to the communications planet of Epikonia, where the Scourge-possessed Magna is involuntarily helping her A.I. captor make the next leap in its evolution– possessing organic beings.

On Epikonia, Chelli, Sana, and Lucky come up with a plan to use electromagnetic pulse devices to deactivate droids in the area where the rebel tracking device on Magna’s clothing leads them. So as a distraction, Just Lucky begins using his sniper rifle to take out some of the Scourge-controlled droids, which alerts the larger Scourge consciousness to their presence on the planet. Then Starros and Aphra infiltrate the lab where Tolvan is working on the organics alongside the similarly Scourge-possessed hybroids Lobot and Beilert Valance. An EMP helps our antiheroes kick things off, and in the ensuing chaos Chelli and Sana are able to extract Magna. But when Tolvan wakes up in the hold of Aphra’s ship the Ark Angel IV, our protagonists find that the rebel captain is still under the control of the Scourge. Aphra thinks quickly, however, and uses the advantage of her cybernetic implants to enter Magna’s mind and find out what the Scourge’s long-term plans really are.

This issue ends with the big reveal that the Scourge may have already figured out how to jump from cyborg to organic being, with Dr. Aphra citing munitions magnate Domina Tagge as an example. If that is indeed the case, Chelli and friends are going to have a very difficult fight ahead of them. But in the meantime, writer Alyssa Wong and artist Minkyu Jung have continued to prove how skilled they are at continuing Aphra’s overarching story while successfully tying into the events of Marvel’s current Star Wars: Dark Droids event.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #38 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.