rideaspacecowboy's Star Wars #16 - Book IV, Part I: Rebel Jail review

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Dr. Aphra is the Real Merc with the Mouth in Star Wars #16

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Smugglers… I hate smugglers.” Such are the words of Dr. Aphra regarding Sana Starros after the mercenary declines good credits to jailbreak Vader’s former ally from an allegedly unassailable Alliance supermax. They are, much like Aphra herself, a clear reference to Harrison Ford’s second most famous role, Indiana Jones, and the good archaeologist’s signature phrase, “Snakes… I hate snakes!”

The brief interaction between Solo’s gender-swapped doppelgänger and his former partner-in-crime is a microcosm of everything good and bad, genius and cringe-worthy, since Marvel reclaimed the Star Wars license. Aphra is classic Star Wars: hardly original, obvious in her inspirations, but taking on a life all her own through sheer style and fitting effortlessly into the tapestry of tropes that is the Galaxy Far Far Away. Aphra is exactly the kind of character Kasdan, Arndt, and Abrams were trying to create in Rey and Finn.

But if Aphra is the Han to Vader’s Luke, Sana is the series’ Jar Jar or Jaxxor. She may not be the awkwardly unfunny comic relief, but she is reviled by fans, a disparate element simply shoehorned into the series. She adds nothing to Solo as his former compatriot in con artistry – already the Corellian has his bromance with the Wookie serving such story needs. She in no way works as a romantic rival for Leia – Ford and Fisher’s chemistry on screen was too strong for readers to regard any potential partner but the princess as perfect for the old pirate. Even the hint of a history between her and Aphra makes the otherwise scene-stealing archaeologist less likable – if having Aphra in this arc means having Sana as well, the book would be better without either. Commander Karbin would make a better inclusion – and he’s just the worst.

Continued at PopOptiq

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