Star Wars Doctor Aphra #40 2024 featured Columns 

Don’t Miss This: “Star Wars: Doctor Aphra” by Alyssa Wong and Minkyu Jung

By | February 1st, 2024
Posted in Columns | % Comments

There are a lot of comics out there, but some stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This,” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we visit a galaxy far, far away, with one of the most interesting characters introduced in the comics: Doctor Aphra.

Who’s This By?

“Doctor Aphra” is written by Alyssa Wong, a writer with some impressive comics in their portfolio. For Marvel, they recently finished a run on “Deadpool,” and is also currently writing “Captain Marvel. They’re also the one who introduced Lin Lie as the new Iron Fist, in addition to their run on “Aero” and the “Alligator Loki” infinity comic. This isn’t Alyssa’s only foray into Star Wars either, as their “High Republic” novel, “Escape from Valo,” will be hitting shelves soon. Additionally, they introduced Xanthe in 2023’s “Spirit World” for DC Comics, along with a selection of one-shots.

The art is by Minkyu Jung, who readers will recognize for his work on “The Magnificent Ms. Marvel” for Marvel Comics, as well as several issues of “Batgirl,” “Titans,” “Nightwing,” and “City Boy” for DC. Rachelle Rosenberg provides the colors, with a portfolio encompassing multiple series across Marvel, including “X-Men ’97,” “Spider-Woman,” “Star Wars,” and “White Widow.”

What’s it All About?

Doctor Chelli Aphra (first introduced in Kieron Gillen’s “Darth Vader” comics in 2015) has become a staple of the “Star Wars” comic line. This run follows her latest misadventures as she deals with syndicates, the Empire, the Rebel Alliance, and all the other miscreants in the Star Wars galaxy.

Doctor Aphra also ends up playing a key role in all the “Star Wars” crossover events, including the most recent “Dark Droids.” In fact, her encounters with a powerful ancient artifact helped kickstart the entire event, giving her bigger stakes and a role of responsibility, even if other characters might not be aware of it.

This is a run on the series that delves more into Doctor Aphra’s past, mistakes, and regrets. She’s a flawed person who doesn’t know how to stop using and hurting people, but a good portion of the comic has involved her trying to make things right in her own way. It’s a more character-driven story, which means we truly get to understand Aphra as we follow her throughout the comic.

What Makes it So Great?

One concern that the “Star Wars” comics have always had to balance is how the comics can fit within the movie canon. Nothing that happens in the comics can change how events play out in the films, so characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader can have their own adventures in their series, but their end destination is always written in stone.

Not so with Doctor Aphra. She’s a character made for the comics, so we have no idea what her fate will be. This allows her so much more freedom in where her story goes, taking us as readers on a journey through new parts of the Star Wars setting. The “Doctor Aphra” comics have built onto the mythos by introducing new worlds, lore, and organizations, and letting us explore them in new detail. As an archaeologist, Aphra takes us as readers on a trip through the history of the galaxy, making the worlds more dense and developed. Additionally, other characters introduced in the comics and other tie-ins have become major players in her series, giving them a home beyond their initial introductions.

Of course, that’s not to say she doesn’t get to interact with canonical characters. Doctor Aphra’s had her fair share of run-ins with movie characters like Luke, Han, and Leia (in addition to her work for Darth Vader), as well as characters like Hera Syndulla from Rebels (and, more recently, Ahsoka). It allows Aphra to act as a connective tissue, weaving throughout the various Star Wars stories and getting to interact with characters of all sizes from the franchise.

But most importantly: “Doctor Aphra” has both a great story and exceptional artwork. Alyssa Wong’s run on the series has explored Aphra as a character, letting us see her flaws and the impact her actions have had on those around her, for better or worse (and let’s be real: mostly worse). But it’s given her chances to make amends and to face the consequences of her actions, making the comic a compelling, character-driven story even as it ties into the latest crossover event.

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All the while, Minkyu Jung’s illustrations and Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors have brought the comic to life. The artwork is very effective at visual storytelling (in fact, the first part of issue #40 is without dialogue, letting Jung’s artwork do all the talking), and adds a soft touch to the characters and setting while still using unique and creative designs.

There’s a lot of emotion and personality in how the characters are portrayed, even through little touches like a little bit of disheveled hair or how their eyes are glancing. Jung’s illustrations also do a great job carrying the story and action, taking us from moment to moment with clarity and great pacing.

Rachelle Rosenberg’s color work also deserves praise for how it brings out the characters and adds volume to each image. The bright shades of the characters and their outfits stands out against the more earthy (or spacey, as is often the case) colors in the background, emphasizing the great character designs Jung’s artwork provides. The colors give “Doctor Aphra” a personality all its own against the other “Star Wars” comics, while still fitting into the classic “used future” aesthetic of the movies.

In other words, if you’ve been skipping “Doctor Aphra” because she’s not in the movies, you’ve been missing out on a lot. Issue #40 is the finale for this run, so you’ll have time to catch up, but now’s a great opportunity to see it off.

Where Can I Read it?

“Doctor Aphra” issue 40 is out this week, and can be found at your friendly local comic shop, online on or Comixology, and anywhere else comics are sold. You can also catch up on Chelli Aphra’s misadventures in trade paperback, with the first six volumes currently available online and in stores.

//TAGS | Don't Miss This

Robbie Pleasant


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