The Engine Job – Part 1: Headhunted
Someone sinister has put a price on DOCTOR APHRA’s head… and it’s none other than DOMINA TAGGE! Now Aphra’s running for her life, trying to shake every bounty hunter on her tail. But one of those is SANA STARROS… and for Sana, it’s personal! Aphra can’t out-think Domina or outrun Sana…what choice does she have left?!Marvel.com official solicitation
Alyssa Wong starts her second Aphra arc but the first half of the issue is more of an epilogue to the first. It is in the second half where the big Star Wars stuff happens. The story starts with Aphra on the run after blowing up Ronen Tagge. His aunt, Domina Tagge, the head of the Tagge Corporation has put a contract out on her to be brought in alive.
After a shaky start, Wong now has a clear grasp on the Aphra character. Chelli Aphra is an immoral intergalactic Indiana Jones. She stumbles into adventures and always has a lucky escape. She is skilled yet bumbling with the charm to effect those around her. This is all portrayed perfectly in Aphra’s attempted escape at the start of the issue.
Bringing back Domina Tagge is another sign of the re-emergence of Legends into Canon. Domina is the sister of Cassio Tagge (whoever named him was a fan of watches) who Vader choked in the meeting on the Death Star in ‘A New Hope’. This reinstates another powerful family/faction into the Star Wars universe and it’s nice to see Aphra interacting with something other than the Empire or Rebels. In a twist in the story it turns out the Domina is after Aphra to offer her a job and is not out for revenge.
It’s the job offer that is interesting. The High Republic is very high of Lucasfilms agenda at the moment. It’s a new era with a lot of material just or about to be released. Domina wants Aphra to do some industrial espionage and find out about an artifact that a competitor has. That artifact is a Nihil Path Engine and the Nihil are the villains of the High Republic. Doctor Aphra is the perfect character to use to bleed this stuff over into the Imperial era. Being an archaeologist she will have the required understanding and knowledge. This opens up a whole new avenue of adventures for her. If the books are edited correctly you could even have a crossover between eras.
The art in the book is handled effectively and even though two pencillers are used there are no jarring page turns thanks to there being only one inker. The book has the advantage that it doesn’t feature any live action character so there is a freedom when it comes to the faces. The chase in the first half of the book has a kinetic flow to it and the second half, even though it is a meeting between two characters, stays visually interesting.
After a flat first arc the book looks to have a brighter future.