The Screaming Citadel crossover is somewhat inspired by Gothic Horror, and yet it seems to fit into the Star Wars Universe quite well. To sum up the story so far, Luke Skywalker and Doctor Aphra, a completely amoral archeologist who used to work for Darth Vader, travelled to the Citadel. Aphra wants to safely activate an ancient and dangerous Jedi artifact, and Luke reluctantly agreed to help because it might help his own quest to become a Jedi. It turns out that the Citadel is ruled by the queen of a hive mind, where everyone is linked by these bug-like parasites. The most powerful mind is in charge, and when Luke tapped into the hive mind at the end of the previous issue, he became a direct challenger for that role.
Doctor Aphra 8, written by Kieron Gillen, concludes the crossover with some pretty intense stuff. While Luke and the Queen are battling each other for control, it frees up several other people, including Han Solo, to start their own power struggle. The fight between Han’s allies and the Queen’s loyal servants is intense, with lasers flying around and Aphra’s wookie friend, Black Krrsantan, unleashing himself. The aftermath of the fight is also entertaining, with the two former enemy crews leaving the citadel together.
The core of this crossover is really how similar yet different Aphra and Luke are. They’ve both experienced trauma with loved ones dying. They both came from a simple upbringing and were forced into the galactic conflict by circumstances beyond their control (even if Luke dreamed of helping for years). They also both learn something significant through this crossover. Luke realizes that the Jedi artifact can’t help him, and that there are some things about the force he needs to learn for himself. Aphra comes to a tough realization that she can’t blame her trauma alone for her very weak morals, and she’s clearly shaken up by this realization. It feels like this crossover will affect both characters going forward.
The art by Andrea Broccardo is good. The opening pages showing Luke and the Queen facing off are very well detailed, and they highlight the creepy nature of the parasite with the dark energy that seems to be flowing around. Luke and Han, while they’re dealing with the parasite, both have expression somewhere between angry and blank, and Han later looks confused when the queen is defeated. Aphra’s saddened look at the end of the comic, as Triple-zero talks about how Luke and Aphra are different, says everything about how she feels. The backgrounds aren’t as detailed as the rest of the crossover, but they do set the scene well, and the amount of debris on the ground during the ending teaser is great. There are a couple times when Han doesn’t really look like Han though. Antonio Fabela’s colouring is great. Everything is bright and colourful, and there’s good use of shadows and parasitic power flying around.
This is a great crossover. It’s just the right level of creepy, and the similarities and differences between Luke and Aphra make them a fascinating team. The main Star Wars series by writer Jason Aaron is an easy recommendation for Star Wars fans, taking place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back so far. Doctor Aphra’s series is kind of like Indiana Jones in the Star Wars Universe, just with a bunch of morally questionable characters. If that sounds interesting, you should check it out, and this crossover is a good place to start.