Spoilers for “The Screaming Citadel” arc and Doctor Aphra #8
Well, the “Screaming Citadel” arc wrapped up quite nicely. It did not really add anything to the Star Wars universe that we were missing, but that does not mean it was not a worthwhile adventure for these characters. Even Han finally managed a cool moment of his own, after being mostly regulated to the background for the past four issues.
There were several things that I knew could not happen: Leia wasn’t going to be infected by the parasite while Luke was a member of the hive (and she wasn’t), and Luke wasn’t going to find a teacher in Rur because his next Jedi Master is Yoda (and he didn’t). But in the end, everyone came away with a bit of development that moves them closer to where we find them in The Empire Strikes Back.
I especially loved the moments between Luke and Aphra. What Luke said to the galaxy’s best rogue archaeologist as he left with his friends showed the stark difference between the two of them. And that is not a different he shares just with Aphra, but also with Darth Vader. Luke does not believe in shortcuts to power. He might have only known Ben Kenobi a short time, but he already knows a lot about what it takes to be a real Jedi.
The one who walks away from this with the most changes is Aphra herself, which isn’t a surprise considering she and Sana are the only two characters not already on a rigid character path (and because this is her book, after all). As Rur observed in the previous issue of Star Wars, she does have regrets. In this issue, when all is said and done, she actually manages to express some of those regrets out in the open. I know there is plenty of stories to tell between her and Sana, but personally, I think it might be best to leave their history open to the imagination, at least for now. Whatever she did to push Sana away, it had an enormous impression on her, just like Luke.
I have said that one of the things I like so much about Aphra is she does not apologize for her actions or care about what another person thinks about her, but that was never going to last forever. Especially when that other person is Luke Skywalker, Rebel hero. Still, even though we are getting to see her acknowledge some of her shortcomings—with Triple-Zero’s wonderful commentary, of course—she remains on no one’s side but her own.
Even though this issue is for Doctor Aphra, it does not do as much to set up Aphra’s future as it does for the crew of the Millennium Falcon. Beetee may have torched the citadel, but they should have stuck around to make sure the droid actually finished the job…. While at first, I was disappointed that we did not learn more about the Queen and her strange magic, future issues of Star Wars could rectify that. However, I remain far more interested in wherever Dr. Aphra’s next adventure takes her.
*Images taken from Marvel’s Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #8