Today saw the release of issue #37 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 (2020) #37 begins with Imperial Officer turned Rebel Alliance Captain Magna Tolvan investigating a derelict rebellion ship with her ragtag crew. There, they find all the humans dead and are soon overrun with the ship’s murderous droids, all of whom have been infected with the virus-like consciousness of the evil artificial intelligence known as the Scourge. Meanwhile, on the Tagge Corporation research station Casus Belli, rogue archaeologist Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra and her colleague assassin Just Lucky are received by Lapin Tagge after their mission to Havel Prime. Of course, that planet isn’t the only place in the galaxy being overtaken by the Scourge virus, as Chelli and Lucky quickly discover.
In her laboratory, Domina Tagge finds herself testing out new defense equipment against Scourge-possessed security droids, while on the rebel ship the Silver Arrow, the purely organic members of Tolvan’s crew are exterminated by the droids. But Magna and her second-in-command Kelb are both cyborgs (or “hybroids” as they are sometimes called in the Star Wars universe) and are therefore considered valuable by the Scourge, who keeps them alive after taking them prisoner. On the Casus Belli, Domina joins forces with Chelli, Lucky, and Lapin as they continue to fight the out-of-control droids. Eventually they realize their only viable course of action is to crash the station into a nearby moon. The four humans survive via an escape pod and Chelli talks to the disembodied head of a “Scourged” droid, which tells her how the Spark Eternal combined with the ancient A.I. Through this conversation, Aphra figures out that the Scourge is going after cyborgs, and likely her ex-lover Magna Tolvan.
Writer Alyssa Wong then gives us two rather exciting cliffhanger endings for this issue: first Tolvan wakes up, having been taken over by the Scourge virus. Then Aphra arrives at the door of another of her scorned ex-lovers– Sana Starros, evidently looking for help. It’s an exciting issue, and another great tie-in with Marvel’s current Star Wars: Dark Droids crossover event. Wong’s creative partnership with artists Minkyu Jung and Jethro Morales (along with colorist Rachelle Rosenberg) has proven fruitful once again, with the illustrations throughout this issue being uniformly kinetic, energetic, and dynamic. There were a couple splash pages here that particularly stood out to me, and I love how well the expressions on the characters’ faces get across what’s going through their minds at any given moment. Truly this is a skillful team, and I can’t wait to see how they continue this story.
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #37 is available now wherever comic books are sold.