Doctor Aphra

Cashing in on the success of Cavan Scott’s Dooku: Jedi Lost audio drama, Random House has produced another, this time focusing on Doctor Aphra. With the popularity of the comic character Doctor Aphra, having started in the Darth Vader series and then starring in her own standalone comic series, it was a good choice to give her some more of the spotlight. However, Doctor Aphra does things a bit differently than Dooku: Jedi Lost. Rather than telling an entirely original story, Doctor Aphra retells much of the Doctor Aphra story from the Marvel comics. Thus if you’ve read the comics, you’ll be familiar with the story. On the bright side, there is a different feel and a lot of extra stuff, so it’s not like a straight audio version of the comics. Add on the full voice cast and all the music and sound effects, and you get a full on production of Aphra and her adventures. But there is a problem with the whole thing.

The way the story is framed for Doctor Aphra is with her telling her own story. This means you get a lot of narration and dialog from her. Sarah Kuhn is new to Star Wars and this is her first bit of work for the universe. In writing Aphra, she went all in on making her a tongue and cheek, lovable bad guy and somewhat unreliable narrator. If you’ve read the comics, think of all the funny lines Aphra has and then consider reading nothing but those. Aphra is almost constantly being glib, funny, or sarcastic. I’m not sure that completely captures the issue, but hearing her talk gets tiresome. She’s not serious very often, so the story really comes off as a comedy. Overall it’s okay, but it’s almost too much Aphra. Or perhaps it’s too much silly, over-the-top Aphra. It could also be an issue with the dialog she’s given. The voice actress for Aphra did a great job, but her dialog just didn’t gel with me and I found myself not enjoying it that much.

As for the story, it covers Aphra finding Triple Zero and BT, her murder bot duo side kicks. It shows her teaming up with Vader and Black Krrsantan, her adventures working for Vader, bounty hunters, dodging death, and her relationship with Sana Starros. It includes flashbacks to her childhood with her parents and her time in school and how she met Sana. It covers much of what happens in the comics and goes past the Rebel prison arc where she runs into Leia. It also includes the Vader Down arc where she faced off against Han and Luke. Memorable locals include both Geonosis and Tatooine as she does some missions for Vader. And there’s bonus content like her running into Maz Kanata. The story itself is great and Kuhn does a great job in adapting and expanding on the comics.

On the audio side of things, the story is well done. All the voice actors doing a fantastic job. There’s a great integration of sound effects and music that make it feel like you’re listening to a movie rather than someone narrating a book.

In the end, my only complaint is Aphra’s dialog. Unfortunately, that’s like 60% or more of the audio book. Aphra is the narrator and star of the story. Not liking her in the story is almost a deal breaker for the whole thing. But like I said before, it’s hard to define why I didn’t like her. Is her dialog and personality that different from the comics? To be honest, she’s often very sarcastic and comedic in the comics. She’s very much an over-the-top and not always that Star Warsy a character. So I can’t say that Kuhn didn’t capture the character. And while I typically like Aphra in the comics, for some reason I couldn’t handle having to listen to her narrate an entire story.

With a great cast, excellent sound effects and music, and a solid story, you would think this would be a slam dunk. However, I’m have to give this one a three out of five metal bikinis. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. That said, I encourage anyone who is a fan of the character to give it a try as my own personal hang up with Aphra’s narration might not be a problem for anyone else.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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