– Spoiler Review –
Star Wars #32 is Part 4 of The Screaming Citadel crossover and it is the zaniest and most enjoyable issue yet! Triple-Zero falls in love (?!?), the symbiotes bring plenty of screams, and Doctor Aphra makes a surprising (for her, at least) decision.
After the series’ strong start with Part 1, each issue since has built on the last, exponentially expanding on what insanity has transpired before it all the while keeping it entertaining to read. Part 4 of The Screaming Citadel is no exception and proves to be the best issue yet, doubling down on the laughs while further embracing the Space Vampire/Gothic Horror of the setting and giving us excellent character moments for everyone involved. Jason Aaron is at the top of his game this issue, handling every character with ease (it probably helps some of them he has been writing for 2+ years straight), including the ones he didn’t create like Aphra and the murderbots.
Before I dive too deep into the events within the penultimate TSC issue, I can’t go any further without mentioning how Triple-Zero and Bee Tee are the fountain of humor (in the vein of the fountain of youth, expect real-ish), consistently delivering the laughs no matter the situation and no matter the writer. Star Wars #32 is their stand out issue for TSC (though there is one issue left…) and it all begins with the instant classic and unforgettable moment where Triple-Zero asks Sana and Leia, “…is this how it feels to be in love?” as he looks on in adoration at Black Krrsantan’s murderous rampage after being infected (on purpose by Triple-Zero) with an abseryn symbiote. Even better yet is part of his plea to the murder-mad Wookiee to spare their lives, “We…are not worth the gory glory of your luxuriously savage touch!” The humor simply does not let up for the entire issue, as the interplay between 0-0-0 and BT-1 also has plenty of hilarious gold to be mined, including how they constantly compliment one another for their destructive actions and lecherous deeds; this isn’t anything particular new of them of course, but they are certainly in rare form this issue. Intriguingly, the murderbots warm to Sana Starros by the issue’s end, mainly because the scorned ex of Doctor Aphra promises the droids that if they assist her and the rebels escape, she’ll help them kill their master; it’s a threat I wouldn’t put past Sana to make good on, considering she shot Aphra at point-blank range the moment they saw each other again. Seeing how this alliance plays out, and if Aphra can convince Sana to let go of her hate over what happened between them, will be one of MANY intriguing developments to see fully unfold in the crossover’s finale.
Speaking of Aphra…let’s unpack her decision to do a very un-Aphra-like thing: come back and save someone despite it not really serving her needs. Aphra has, over the course of 2+ years, shown she has a heart and isn’t someone you can outright call evil by any means, but you wouldn’t necessarily call her good. She’s floating somewhere in the middle and in the previous issue, Aphra #7 aka Part 3 of TSC, Kieron Gillen laid hints for the possibility Aphra might actually help the heroes of this story by having several scenes where she protects Sana despite the other’s apparently intense hatred for the her. I theorized in my review for the previous issue that we’d see her actions from it lead to her helping Luke, and Sana, before the crossover closes and by this issue’s end she’s sticking her own neck out for Luke despite her actions not actually somehow benefiting her financial goals or own self-interests. How she arrives to that decision is an interesting path: initially confronted with having to leave Luke to the Queen’s devices, she makes a minor hesitation but plays it off in her trademark nonchalance style, making for a quick and speedy exit from the planet. Before she gets in a ship, the now awakened spirit of Rur (the Queen did come good on her end of the deal after Aphra sold out Luke to her, reactivating the crystal holding the ancient Jedi’s consciousness) intervenes, forcing her to face the unusual feeling inside of her: guilt (which Rur points out, funnily enough, is more unusual to her than the betrayal that spurned it). She tries to play this off with her defensive sarcasm by calling him a rock and that he’s not very insightful, as we’ve come to know and love from her, but Rur certainly to hit a chord and she seems to finally take his advice when he counters her argument she has no friends by telling her it simply isn’t true. Luke has called her his friend, something she was quite surprised hearing in the last issue, and his willingness to trust her like that has stuck with her ever since. However, a rescue attempt by Aphra isn’t going to be anything like what a normal hero would attempt, as she blows her way into the Citadel and essentially allows Luke to be taken over by a symbiote because she knows their hive mind will register him as the dominate master over the Queen, due to his strength in the Force, thus making him the King of the Citadel!
Just when I didn’t think this thing could get any crazier, it goes and ends that amazing image and development of Luke becoming the King of the Citadel, thus making it seem almost impossible for everything to unravel and the heroes to escape alive by the end of the next issue! There was a hint dropped this issue that the hive mind of the symbiotes can be cut off, thus freeing those under their sway, so if there’s anyway for the team to save Luke, and everyone else for that matter, I imagine that’s how they’ll go about doing it. Though I am curious to see if Sana punched symbiote-controlled Han Solo hard enough to knock him free of their influence, because then I’d just love for the entirety of the next issue to be just Sana knocking everyone out to save them! Yes, I know that won’t happen, but Sana punching more fools will always be a good thing!
Returning to Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado’s teamwork on art highlights how last issue’s team was certainly a bit off on the tone of The Screaming Citadel, so I’m a little apprehensive about returning to them for the final issue. But for Larroca and Delgado, the problem I had with the tracing of Han’s face disappeared this issue, as even though Larroca was tracing, Han’s head felt more proportional to his body (probably mainly because he was in a suit of armor…YES, this is not a drill, Han Solo was in a Knight-like suit of armor…HASBRO, WHERE ART THOU?), while even the Queen, Leia, and Luke’s faces worked much better this issue. Sana had the appropriate amount of attitude I always imagine her to have, while Aphra being drawn by her original creators is a thing of pure bliss and beauty. Thankfully, the pair is sticking with the Star Wars series into its next arc!
Here are a few other things:
- While the murderbots can lay claim to some of the best lines this issue, while Aphra certainly has her share too, the one line that expertly sums up the insanity of what’s going on (and gives Triple-Zero an amazing nickname) comes from Sana: “Hey, Creepio. How do we stop this rapid super-Wookiee from killing us?” Creepio?!? 100% this nickname.
- Assistant Editor Heather Antos shared an image of a Star Wars fan whose first tattoo is of Doctor Aphra’s arm tats! Pretty amazing.
The Screaming Citadel continues to be a riot every issue and its penultimate one simply does not disappoint in any regard!
+ Triple-Zero falling in love…and other humorous happenings with the murderbots
+ Aphra’s big decision
+ The set up here almost seems impossible to resolve!
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
The Screaming Citadel (crossover of Doctor Aphra and Star Wars on-goings)
Part 1: The Screaming Citadel #1 | Part 2: Star Wars #31 | Part 3: Doctor Aphra #7
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)
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith
The Chosen One (#1-6)
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)