– Spoiler Review –
The Screaming Citadel crossover continues in Part 2 – Star Wars #31! Despite a new creative team for this portion of the crossover, none of the charm from Part 1 is lost and things spiral, ever entertainingly so, even more out of control for Doctor Aphra and Luke.
After the crazy space vampire reveal at the end of The Screaming Citadel #1, it took no time at all for Star Wars #31 to push this roller coaster of a crossover into high-gear, as by the end not only are Aphra and Luke on the run from the Queen of the Citadel and her Abersyn symbiote controlled creatures (more on that in a moment), but Leia, Han, and Sana arrive to see what they can do about saving the day. The gothic-horror story vibes dripped from part 1 and Jason Aaron, with Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado on art, carry on the crossover’s tone expertly. Whether it’s the architecture of the Citadel, the darkness pervasive in the most of the panels, or the twisted breakfast scene, this issue feels like a natural continuation of the events in Part 1.
The Aphra and Luke dynamic doesn’t disappoint under Aaron’s writing, with the entire scene at breakfast getting quite a few good laughs from the way Aphra talks over Luke to distract him and the Queen, as well as how she seems to ignore Luke’s plight (a knife at his throat from the Queen’s right hand lady, Vespinax, for motivation to use the Force). I was fairly certain Aphra knew a lot more about the Queen than she was letting on last issue, and she confirms that here by telling Luke the Queen actually intends to keep the subjects she accepts at her annual gatherings, which makes Aphra all the more fun to watch this issue as she’s doing what she does best: diving into situations that’ll probably kill her to get what she wants, even if she already knows the odds are stacked against her. I don’t think she’ll worry about getting the Queen to help with activating her Ordu Aspectu crystal after the symbiotes were unleashed on them, but she likes to surprise so we’ll see.
We didn’t get to spend too much time with Leia, Han, and Sana, but she and Han still have the same lovely rapport they had when she was first introduced back in 2015’s Star Wars #6. What I love the stuff with these three most this issue is how Leia takes Sana’s side here, telling Han to drop any attack on Sana and her past with Aphra, showing how much the two women have changed towards each other over the last two non-Yoda arcs of the Star Wars series. I’m still most excited to see Sana and Aphra confront one another again, especially as last issue hinted at Sana possibly cooling towards Aphra for how she ended their relationship, and it looks like I won’t have to wait long! The issue ends with Sana, Leia, and Han at the mercy of Triple-Zero and Beetee-One, who have a hilarious conversations with Aphra about what to do with their latest capture, which is cut short by Aphra and Luke screaming from being attacked by the symbiote manipulated creatures, something Triple-Zero finds to be quite lovely.
The Abersyn symbiotes, a beyond quarantine species (aka kill on sight), were first introduced in Doctor Aphra #1‘s included prequel one-shot which shows how Aphra received her doctorate: by stealing the symbiotes from a jerk of a Sava and claiming the find as her own. Supposedly the symbiotes were quiescent due to the Sava’s efforts, but the ones in the Queen’s possession are not only awake, they’ve already claimed the minds of new victims (as seen in a rather ghastly but cool panel where Abersyn symbiote controlled aliens stumble after Luke and Aphra). How did the Queen get some? Could the person who Sana sent to Aphra to help move the symbiotes taken a few for themselves and brought them to the Queen? Has she just always had them? Or does it really matter? I’m curious, but I won’t be disappointed in this crossover at all if we don’t find out.
As usual, I was more than pleased with Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado’s work, as they certainly get the tone of this gothic-horror set tale, but I did find all the faces quite odd this issue. I know Larroca seems to trace faces here and there, especially for the movie characters, but not only was seemingly inconsistently used for such characters like Han, Luke, and Leia, even Aphra (and the Queen) seemed to get the treatment. Luke, Leia, and even Han’s faces weren’t bad by any means, but the final panel where we got a full shot of Han, Leia, and Sana made them pretty apparently weird next to the rest of their bodies, especially Han, who’s head looked too small for his body. I was excited and more than happy to see Aphra drawn once again by the team who first created her, but the face seemingly used to trace her felt off to previous Larroca-led issues (especially considering I went back to reread Aphra #1’s prequel which he and Delgado contributed too, as well as a few Darth Vader issues for comparison). Overall, good work, but the human faces were certainly hit or miss this issue, which usually isn’t the case (at least to me) for Larroca’s work.
Here are a few other things:
- Remember how I mentioned the Queen’s “allergies” to Wookiees possibly being a hint at a stake/silver bullet type scenario for the space vampires? I’m not so sure anymore, but whatever the Citadel does to Wookiees seems even more important now due to how this issue includes Sana telling Han and Leia to keep Chewbacca at the Rebel base. Could Wookiees just be another pet for the symbiotes? Or is there something else the Citadel dwellers have in store for Wookiees? Eager to see either way, and keeping Chewie out of it helps raise the stakes even more for Krrsantan’s fate.
- Considering Aphra is a dark mirror of Indiana Jones, driven home by her introduction issue and the first arc of her series, I shouldn’t have been surprised at another reference to Harrison Ford’s other famous character: in the breakfast scene with the Queen, supposedly Luke and Aphra are to be served candied rat-monkey offal aka space chilled monkey brains, as offal is a reference to internal organs as food, which would be a nod to the dinner scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where such a delicacy is brought out (I linked the video to start at the moment they bring out the monkey brains)!
- As cool and creepy as the double-headed Hammerhead and other oddly disfigured Abersyn symbiote creatures were, how about that Gungan!?! Now that’s a truly frightening sight!
- Reading and reviewing this issue Wednesday night gave the somewhat violent thunderstorm (plus Tornado watch) happening over my part of Southeast Wisconsin a slightly more sinister edge.
Star Wars #31 – The Screaming Citadel Part 2 doesn’t disappoint and gets the crazy truly rolling, setting up plenty of fun and excitement for the rest of the crossover.
+ The crazy comes fast and swift
+ Aphra and Luke dynamic continues to bring the laughs
+ The gang’s all here!
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
The Screaming Citadel (crossover of Doctor Aphra and Star Wars on-goings)
Part 1: The Screaming Citadel #1
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Annual: #1 | #2
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13) | Legend Lost (#14 – 19)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Darth Maul (mini-series)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Rogue One (adaptation)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)