The Screaming Citadel – Star Wars/ Doctor Aphra Crossover

Well… it happened… Star Wars went full on horror and it was fun, it was creepy and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

After getting into a bar brawl, Luke meets (again) Doctor Aphra who takes him to a distant planet where once a year, the Queen of the Planet hosts a party where her guests bring her unique life forms and depending on if she finds the life form intriguing she will grant the bearer one wish, whilst keeping the unique life form for her menagerie.

Aphra takes Luke to the party and presents him as a Force Sensitive farm boy but he is disregarded until he uses the Force to protect himself and Aphra. The Queen is very interested in Luke and puts an end to the party. Shortly after we see her court suck life force from the inhabitants of the planet and she in turn drains it from them.

The next day, Aphra and Luke join the Queen for breakfast but it turns out to be a trick and the two guests were to have parasites attached to them to make them a members of the Queens drone army. They try to escape but are attacked. Whilst trying to get the Murder Droid Duo to help them escape, the Arc Angel arrives and crashes down almost on top of them and it was piloted by Han Solo.

Han, Leia and Sana have come looking for Luke, especially after Sana figures out why Aphra was interested in him.

The whole gang try to fight their way out but Han is captured and infected. Aphra double crosses Luke and essentially hands him to the Queen, in return, Aphra wants the Core containing Rur (see Aphra Vol. 1) unlocked so she can learn more about the history of the Galaxy and sell it for a higher price, which the Queen does.

Feeling guilty, Aphra returns and rescues Luke but he is infected by one of the parasite drones, and because of his power, the hive mind of the parasites turns to him as the leader, resulting in a fight between the Parasites attached to Luke and the Queen.

Meanwhile, 000 has attached a Parasite to Black Krrsantan turning the ultra-violent Wookiee Bounty Hunter into a mega-violent rampaging Wookiee.

The battle of the Parasites results in Luke managing to effectively free all of the enslaved people by having the Parasites remove themselves from the hosts.

Han, Luke, Leia and Sana leave in the Falcon after Luke tells Aphra he doesn’t want to see her again and to leave his friends alone.

Aphra and her crew leave as well.

On the planet, some explorers come across the remains of the Queen and the Parasite attaches itself to one of them and vowing revenge on Luke.

When it comes to the crossovers we have had in the Star Wars titles, this isn’t the best, ‘Vader Down’ still holds that title but ‘The Screaming Citadel’ is the bravest. Kieron Gillen and Jason Aaron basically wrote a full on ‘Hammer Horror’ style Star Wars story and pulled it off in a great way.

I’ll be honest, I was dubious of this back when it was first released, which was around the time I dropped out of Comics after my Daughter was born to try and save some money so I never actually finished it, but revisiting it has been a lot of fun.

My only real criticism is that the end felt a little rushed in the final issue, almost like the writers realised the arc was coming to an end and they had to tie it up in a few pages, granted if the story had carried on any longer it would have felt too drawn out so really they picked the best option, just felt very quick to me.

Some of the imagery of the Queen and her court were seriously creepy and really played into the horror vibe, the almost Vampire like tendencies that they had could have felt out of place in Star Wars but I was happy to go along for the ride.

The interactions between the two groups were quite fun, you could almost say that Leia and 000 had an odd connection by the end of the run. The Murder Droid duo really shine in terms of comic relief and really keep the story light when it could easily get bogged down in the horror.

Luke’s Force ability seems to be growing but is still pretty lacklustre except in moments of stress and bam. They play up his Farm Boy naivety in this arc more than in previous story arcs, which, given the events that have led to this issue, he would have overcome somewhat but he seems to have regressed back to ‘Tatooine’ Luke who want to go to Tosche Station.

Leia also gets some lacklustre writing at times, threatening to Court Martial Luke and being accused of using Han and Luke for the Rebellion and not caring about them as people, which had never been the case. But by the end Leia gets some decent interaction with Han which feels like a bit of course-correction in the story arc.

Overall, a solid story arc and fun cross-over. The horror aspect is well played and for the most part the writing works really well and in terms of the story, a big improvement on the previous Star Wars arc where Yoda went inside a living mountain and experienced ‘The Lord of the Flies’ in Star Wars.

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