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Doctor Aphra

Star Wars
by Monkey Boy

When Disney bought Star Wars, one of the first things they did was completely wipe the canon clean - all supplemental books, comics, and materials outside of the movies became "Legends," which basically meant it was relegated to the dumpster of history, de-cluttering the lore and allowing Disney to create fresh new stories.

To some people, this was a travesty and they (somewhat understandably) felt that they'd wasted their time devoting themselves to a storyline that was ultimately deemed "not real." To others, it was a relief, and to them what would eventually be called "Legends" had stopped feeling like Star Wars a long time ago.

I personally fall into the latter camp. I read a lot of Star Wars sequel books early on, but at some point the stories just became too silly or boring for me. Earlier stuff, like the first Zahn trilogy or Dark Horse's Dark Empire comics, were unique and interesting, but once you get to stuff like the Corellian trilogy, it just becomes hard to not ask yourself "why am I even reading this?"

What it all comes down to for the purposes of this review is that, as someone who had become disillusioned with the Expanded Universe long ago, it was refreshing to have a chance for a new start. I haven't read all the new novels or comics, but one that did draw me in was Kieron Gillen's Darth Vader comics. It was an interesting dive into the character, and really helped to develop him as a formidable bad guy after all the damage that was done by Hayden Christensen in the prequels.

It also introduced a character so popular she eventually got her own spinoff comic: Doctor Aphra. Originally encountered by Vader while she was locating and activating two infamous assassin droids, the Sith Lord quickly enlisted her services. She's pretty much like Indiana Jones but without the whole "it belongs in a museum!" moral code. To Aphra, the thrill is in the hunt, and whatever she uncovers belongs with the highest bidder.

On a mission gone wrong, Doctor Aphra finds herself at the hands of the formidable Sith Lord, Darth Vader. A rare survivor of such meetings, Aphra is recruited by Vader for her skills in reprogramming droids and her apparent lack of remorse for breaking the law to get what she wants.

Aphra is a character you love to root for, despite the fact that she lets you down again and again. Deep down she wants to do right, but she just can't seem to deny her nature. She's the scorpion, and everyone who gets involved with her is the frog. Despite being more interesting than just about any character from the old Expanded Universe, she tends to rile up a certain type of "fan"... maybe it's due to her being a woman, or a person of color, or part of the LGBT community... but they'll never admit that. To them, Aphra is a target, a microcosm of everything "wrong" with the new canon. To most others though, she's a shining beacon of how it's being done right.

With her popularity growing, it was only a matter of time before Hasbro gave her a figure. Her first figure was in the increasingly neglected 3¾" Vintage Collection, but more recently the Aphra fans got what they really wanted - a 6" figure in the Black Series.

Aphra is looking pretty great in figure form. Her sculpt is detailed but not overly so, and does a good job of representing her most common outfit - Han Solo-esque with its pants/collared shirt/vest/belt with leg holster combo.

Her head sculpt is nice, with a slightly smirking expression that's very fitting. If I had one nit to pick, it would be that Aphra is usually depicted with what we on Earth would consider Asian features (and her box art reflects this) but the face of the figure doesn't really capture that. However, the comics aren't terribly consistent about it, so it's still a pretty good approximation of Aphra in three dimensional form.

Her paint is also very good. Hasbro's face printing technique continues to impress, and her clothes get a nice wash that makes them look weathered but not too weathered. There's some slop on the edges between colors, but nothing too awful and about what you'd expect at this pricepoint. Her trademark circuitry tattoo on her right arm is nice and clean as well.

Aphra is pretty light on the accessories, but what she does get isn't bad. She comes with a blaster that fits either in her right hand or in her leg holster, and her iconic flight helmet, complete with goggles. The helmet is painted very nicely, with a wash that makes it look quite leathery, and it fits her head well.

It would have been cool for her to come with some of the artifacts she's pillaged in her illustrious "career," but alas it was not to be. There's a little hook on her belt that seems like it's intended for something to hang on it, but nothing is included to work with it. Perhaps it's for an accessory that was nixed at some point in the approval process. You could technically also count her vest as an accessory, since it's a separate piece that can be removed, but without it her shoulders look pretty wonky.

Like most Black Series figures, Aphra gets plenty of articulation: peg and hinge joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists and ankles, balljointed hips, pegs at the thighs, double-hinged knees, a balljointed chest and a mid-torso hinge, giving her a nice range of movement in her midsection.

Aphra is a really nice figure, and one that fans of the comics have wanted for a while now. Of course, she's not complete without her constant droid companions (who are usually intent on murdering her), Triple Zero and Bee-Tee. Thankfully, their figures have been released alongside Aphra, so you can build your own trio, provided you can find them all on the pegs.

-- 09/07/19


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