Released: October 24th 2017
Issues: Doctor Aphra 7-8, Star Wars 31-32, Screaming Citadel 1
Fans of the Star Wars comic series are used to this, but I’ll still lay it out here just in case. This volume consists of issues from two different series, plus a single issue that only exists in this novel (or if you want to buy it separately of course) to start off the plot. For those that want to read them in issues, the order goes: The Screaming Citadel, Star Wars Issue #31, Doctor Aphra #7, Star Wars #32, and finally, Doctor Aphra #8.
So before I start my review I should mention that Doctor Aphra is one of my favorite characters and that I’m fascinated by symbiotes, so any inclusion of either of those two will immediately get my attention.
As with any story that includes Doctor Aphra; well laid (or not) plans tend to go awry, and this one is no exception. She and Luke decide it’s a brilliant idea to head to the Screaming Citadel (I can’t imagine anybody would ever want to go to a place like that, except for maybe Professor Farnsworth) to have an ancient Jedi artifact activated for Luke. I can’t see what could possibly go wrong with that plan (please note the teasing sarcasm here).
I really liked the designs for the characters introduced; the Queen of Ktath’atn is both beautiful but also very clearly evil (I love how art styles can imply that), as are her minions and guards. It’s so easy for an artist to be tempted to have the villains be ugly or decrepit or something else that’s obvious, but I personally love it when they make them elegant, but with sharper edges (or some other hint to their true selves).
Things get pretty crazy during Screaming Citadel, with at least three members of the team getting a symbiote stuck in their skull – but like any crossover, there’s little permanency to this sort of event. For example, while Luke and Aphra succeeded in activating the crystal (or more accurately, Aphra talked the Queen into activating it for her), it turns out that it is useless as far as training Luke is concerned (fun fact: just because it has the knowledge of the Jedi doesn’t mean it acts like one).
On a happy note, both Aphra and Luke learned quite a bit from this little excursion. Luke learned more about the correct attributes in a Jedi (by seeing a bad example in the way the crystal acted), as well as gained some confidence in himself. Aphra learned…well I was going to say she learned to be more human, but that’s both harsh and not harsh enough. She realized she has empathy for people still, and was unwilling to leave Luke behind to die. I’m looking forward to see Aphra’s character growth in the future, as I’m sure it can only get better (especially without Vader’s continued influence on her).