Star Wars: Screaming Citadel #1 (Marvel Comics)
Almost a year after the end of the first Marvel Star Wars crossover, it’s now time for the next one. But instead of crossing over with Darth Vader, the main Star Wars title is crossing over with Doctor Aphra for “The Screaming Citadel”. As the first major event since Vader Down, there’s a lot of speculation over this story, but Keiron Gillen and Marco Checchetto are able to craft a cool little story that’s an interesting addition to the Star Wars mythos.
Doctor Aphra has acquired an ancient Jedi relic, but in order to use it she needs the help of a mysterious alien race. The problem with that is that these aliens will only help her if she can bring them a new alien race that they’ve never met before for their annual gathering at the Screaming Citadel. Believing that Luke Skywalker’s connection to the Force can help her in both regards, Aphra brings Luke with her to the gathering. When Luke accidentally uses his Force abilities against a guard, Aphra is welcomed in by the Queen. But not is all as it seems with this alien race, because the Queen has plans for the young Jedi.
I was initially a little hesitant when I opened Screaming Citadel. Everything I had read leading up to it made me initially think that Keiron Gillen and Jason Aaron would attempt to insert some horror elements into Star Wars, which is a very tricky thing to pull off (remember the Galaxy of Fear series from the late 90’s? It wasn’t great).While Aaron and Gillen don’t use Screaming Citadel as an excuse to make things dark and bloody for our heroes, Citadel is definitely a lot moodier and spookier than we’re used to in this universe. Thankfully though, it works really well here, as the change in mood and tone is a big refresher for this series. Gillen’s new alien race is really interesting, and they seem to be a legitimate threat for Luke and Aphra (even though Luke can’t die here).
Marco Checchetto is no stranger to Marvel’s Star Wars line, and it’s a real treat to get him on this book. Checchetto’s clean style works extremely well for at the movie heroes we know so well, but he’s made great strides in his depictions of the aliens of the Star Wars universe. There’s a wide variety of creatures on display at the queen’s party, and it’s a great showcase for Checchetto’s style.
Screaming Citadel was a very strong opening issue that adds a new interesting element to the Star Wars mythos. While it’s not exactly new reader friendly (you’ll have to check out the Doctor Aphra series for some key background info), it’s exactly the kind of book that we need to shake up the Marvel Star Wars books. Here’s hoping Aaron and Gillen and keep the interest for the next installments.