Star Wars #36 + Doctor Aphra #12

Finally, FINALLY we’re getting to the R2 arc that’s been slowly eating away at my soul, and it seems like Aphra’s all set for a run-in with her former employer/would-be murder (you know, had she not elaborately faked her own death by assuming Vader wouldn’t be the kind of guy to give her the death she asked for)…not bad for a comic book day, eh? (And, yes, I know it isn’t comic book day, but I’ve been busy, cut me some slack!) Speaking of cutting, let’s cut this intro. and get on with things!

Star Wars #36
sw36So, has R2 been tracking this ship and is only now finding them? Does this comic take place directly after he takes off (like it should), or is it really what would probably amount to several months after his initial departure on his own? (You know, before Luke sits around with his thumb up his keister reading about Yoda and the rock people and then fooling around with the regrettable Screaming Citadel…) I honestly can’t tell – to be honest, there are a few instances in the comics where the timeline seems to be wonky, but I guess such is the way of comics…gives me a bit of a headache whilst trying to find a way to fit it into the more straightforward narratives elsewhere in Star Wars, but whatever…anyway, whenever it happens, this is what happens:  R2’s alone in his X-wing, dead in the water, and ends up getting dragged into a Star Destroyer so they can sweep the ship for data. They find out there’s a dead droid on the ship, decide to take him out to check his data as well, but R2 was just playing possum and ends up taking out the team of troopers sent to deal with the ship. The best part of this story is the juxtaposition of the generic R2 astromech information that’s given in the computer terminal-esque font and what’s actually happening in the book. The information says R2s are basically dumb tools that are only good for their primary function, while, in typical R2-D2 fashion, he’s single-handedly saving the day. The main part of the story where R2 plays a game of misdirection with the Stormtroopers, and the Imperial Officer is pretty cool, (the security droid cameo was nice too), but when he finally gets to 3PO and frees him I feel like 3PO’s dialogue was a little over-the-top with the annoying. Also, it was a little eye-rolly that Vader himself sent the order down to destroy the droid he created – it’s one of those “trying too hard” to weave things together moments…honestly, there was no reason for Vader to be on this particular Star Destroyer at all, but it was cool to see him do his Vader thing and choke out an officer (I think that makes him up to 4 now…maybe 5?)…aside from that, though, Vader’s inclusion, as it has been in basically everything but his comics and that scene in Rogue One, was to the detriment on the character – you mean to tell me that R2 can out-fly Darth Vader, even for a second? Don’t get me wrong, R2 is the most well-programmed droid out there, but we’re taking about Vader and a starfighter, there’s no one better. Period. Certainly not a droid, not even R2, not even for a second. That aside though, I guess, since it is what it is at this point, the cavalry arrives to keep Vader from actually taking out the droids, and everyone gets to hyperspace safely…but, what’s this? SCAR Squadron has found the rebels’ current hiding place? Things could be getting interesting in the next issue…perhaps we’re about to see how they end up on Hoth? Whatever it may be, I’m looking forward to seeing SCAR Squad again (they’re much cooler than Inferno Squad…that’s right, I said it!)…

Doctor Aphra #12
da12Let me start by saying I really like the droid in a dress look the former partner of what is now Rur is rocking. I will very likely roll a Star Wars RPG character that looks like this sometime in the near future…unfortunately for this particular version of said droid, he was between Vader and his business and is now a Force-obliterated pile of scrap…RIP dress droid…anyway, Vader’s in, Aphra knows it, and soon she finds out why:  the murderbots want their freedom. So, with basically no choice in the matter, she grants it, and they ride off into the sunset by repeating, “until we meet again.” So there’s two of her ka-tet gone. Next up, Krrsantan. He was trying to seek his strange life debt revenge on the Xonti brothers, but they’re holed up with their ship and its turrets, and even the mighty Krrsantan can’t dodge that in a small space with no cover. So the plan is to keep them from leaving by sealing the bay doors and then figure out some plan so they can leave together. Taking the long way around, though, so not to run into Vader, they see the dean that should have won the auction dying by some pond. Turns out she’s bait for a Rur trap and several of the black market thugs start shooting in ambush. When they figure out it’s not Rur they stop and the dean lets Aphra know there are tons of artifacts on the Shadow University’s ship. You can practically see the dollar signs in Aphra’s eyes…then you can actually see (okay, not actually) the Xs on the dean’s eyes because she is outta here…RIP dean…finding out that their bait is dead, the thugs try to use Aphra instead, but, of course, that’s not the way the story goes…now Aphra is trying to figure out how to help her friend, and IOU, Krrsantan get what he wants, and she finds it via a jacked up server droid. She does something to it, then sends it as another kind of bait toward the Xontis. They just blast it to pieces and nothing happens, but Aphra uses this distraction to come out, hands up, to “talk.” She pretends to sell out Krrsantan to gain their trust, and then the droid sets off an ion pulse to down the Xontis’ turrets – enter Krrsantan. He blasts their beefy companion and literally bags them to take them wherever. But, what’s this? Aphra decides not to leave with him! Her greed (or, I guess, archaeological duty) begs her to go to the Shadow University’s ship to get all their artifact goodies. And so the ka-tet is over. It’s now just Aphra. So she slices into the Imperial signals and sends them after the thugs waiting to ambush Rur. Two birds, one stone. That’s my Aphra. Then she runs into Rur, who’s just killed the creepy old guy hoping for immortality. Aphra goads him into following her into the elevator, which she’s hoping for because she’s leading him right to the Imperials. We move POV over to Vader himself, who’s just vanquished the mighty Ezaraa (which, of course, was a joke because they’re all talk…still love them though). He gets a report that there’s a droid with lightsabers lurking about, so off he goes to intercept…and the issue ends with Vader vs. Rur with Aphra hunkered down under cover just waiting for the sparks to fly…

So, what’d you think? Personally, I found both of these to be sort of “setup” issues. Not a whole lot happened, but they lead into some potentially really interesting stories. Do you think seeing Vader repeatedly being defeated is tainting his legacy, or do you just want any reason to add Vader to anything? (I mean, he was in both of these issues and for mostly unnecessary reasons – though less so in the Aphra book.) Were you happy that they finally resolved that missing droids arc, or was that no big deal and I was overreacting? What do you think is next, another one-shot about SCAR Squad, or do you think we’re in for a longer arc? And how ’bout that Aphra comic? Seemed like 100% setup to me. They basically wrote off the murderbots and Krrsantan so Aphra can carry on alone, perhaps to join up with a whole new group of unsavories, and I’m sure they’re going to wrap up Rur’s weird story and Vader’s return next issue…or are they not? And what of the unresolved Screaming Citadel nonsense? Do you think they’re going to settle things with that in Apha or the flagship series? (Hopefully neither…) Anyway, give the books a thorough second read and let me know what you think in the comments…or I’ll use you for bait next time a strange, immortal Jedi gets loose inside a droid (but then I’ll just leave you there)…TWS out.

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