As the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover limps to its ‘conclusion’ (more on that over the coming days – watch this space – the Doctor Aphra tie-in issues seem to be off in their own corner of the universe, doing their own thing. Which makes them much stronger in fairness – the mid-point of the crossover spent too much time at the auction for Han Solo, with all of the characters from various Star War series seemingly in attendance, and it absolutely dragged, pulling the crossover down with it. Now that we’re back to each series moving back towards their own narratives, it’s a huge relief.

Aphra and her colleagues – friends may be pushing it – have escaped captivity but have now encountered the deadly assassin known as Deathstick (which is like an assassin in our universe being called ‘Cigarette’). Can Aphra and crew escape the assassin and the Crimson Dawn flagship they’re still trapped on? And what dark secrets does the Crimson Dawn ship hold among its artifacts?

This issue is a great story on its own merits, with some excellent action, unexpected standoffs and a twist involving the light-fingered Aphra happening upon a very dark piece of kit that would seem to be setting up the post-War of the Bounty Hunters landscape for the comics to move into.

Though I’ve not been overly impressed with the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover in general (to say the least), Doctor Aphra’s issues – when allowed to explore the title character, her associates and the part of the universe they inhabit without the need to shoehorn other elements in – have generally been a lot of fun; well written, intriguing and fun stories with excellent art. This one’s no exception.

Though the ending does potentially bring Aphra deeper into the Crimson Dawn side of things – which has been built up hugely over the course of the crossover – it’s left in a really interesting place by the final page. If you’ve been disillusioned with the repetition and pace of the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover as I have, Doctor Aphra’s part in the overall Star Wars universe looks to be moving in a really interesting direction, so her series is likely going to be one that I keep up with going forward. Which is more than I can say for the other titles at this point.

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