A review, of sorts, of The Screaming Citadel #1. Well, if you can call an assortment of thoughts a review.
Following up from the last arc, “Yoda’s Secret War”, The Screaming Citadel follows Luke’s journey to become a Jedi Master. Following her arc guest-starring her dad and the Immortal Rur, Doctor Aphra recruits Luke in a mission to unlock the secrets of Rur…
Honestly, if you’ve been following the mainline Star Wars series, this adventure is a fun break. Yoda’s Secret War was not nearly as exciting as we would imagine – but, hey, no use beating a dead space camel, right? This is a nice return to the original story set out in the series, especially in The Showdown on Smuggler’s Moon and The Weapon of the Jedi. This was one of my favorite themes running through the canon so far, which makes it wonderful to see it return! I love how Doctor Aphra’s adventures have these far-reaching effects, changing Darth Vader’s course and now pushing Luke back to his Jedi training. It will be hard, at the end of the arc, to watch the Battle of Endor without thinking about the way Aphra helped “train” him!
I will admit, I was taken aback that this was yet another distraction from the mission to rescue C-3PO from the SCAR Squadron. R2 is somewhere in space – MIA in this crossover, unfortunately – and 3PO is in Imperial hands. The new rebel base at Horox III is in full-action, mostly functioning without C-3PO. On one hand, it feels strange that the Rebellion has so little concern for rescuing him! It seems that the same strike team that went after Cymoon and took the Harbringer would be emboldened enough to do…something. That being said, I don’t mind this little derivation from the pattern. In fact, I would prefer if he stayed out of the picture for a while so we can focus on Luke again!
In terms of Aphra’s story, this story is the perfect continuation of what she’s been doing for the past arc. I love seeing this progression, and really, the freedom she enjoys in her own series. She was super enjoyable as Darth Vader’s sidekick, but I think that story really reigned in a lot of what she was capable of. On her own, the series is allowed to breath and explore new avenues of Star Wars story telling that we wouldn’t have been able to see before. Space archaeology? How sick is that? And, we know that her archaeologist skills were what helped Vader find the murder bots, but that felt like the extent of her knowledge. Now, being able to explore the Citadel of Rur and explore Jedi secrets, new elements of the galaxy are opened up, and I am so excited.
Following up on the Murder Bots, I am probably in the minority: by the end of Darth Vader, I was getting a little tired of them. They were making a dark series even darker, and the jokes were falling a bit flat for my tastes! But, brought into a lighter, more comedic series, I think I’ve enjoyed them a lot more. I’m not quite able to place a finger on why, though. Maybe because between the new room given to the Aphra family’s situation, Black Krrsantan, and a lot less gloom and doom, they feel like they add something different? Maybe this will be for a future post. But, to narrow this discussion back to Screaming Citadel, I loved their interactions with Luke here. The naive farmboy meets Triple-Zero, and they are on the same side! Incredible.
Now, to address the Screaming Citadel itself. I was honestly a bit worried about this one. They were stressing how this story was Star Wars meets Gothic art. As you’ll see in my Legendary Adventures, I’m not always a fan of the ways in which Star Wars melds with other genres. For example, Star WarsxZombie literature was some of the weakest Star Wars lit ever produced, and yeah, I’m including the Glove of Vader. And there were too many times where Clone Wars episodes felt more like a direct lifting of a movie rather than a fun homage.
Thankfully, as far as it looks so far, the gothic doesn’t pull Star Wars too far in the wrong direction. Rather, it seems like a good fit. It’s contained in a single planet, and the designs of the Queen’s Consortium were not too far from what we’ve seen in Lost Tribe of the Sith or Knights of the Old Republic. The citadel, and the town, act as a beautiful gothic mirror of Coruscant’s glittering heights. I was wrong to be worried, honestly!
I don’t know about you all, but I’m super excited to see where this series is going to go from here! The promise of adventure in a new realm – and the intense shipping wars about to erupt between Luke and Aphra – make me excited for Star Wars comics in a way that I haven’t been in a long time.