It’s a great time to be a fan of Star Wars comics. The quality of nearly every Star Wars series since Marvel took over the franchise back in 2015 has been excellent, and between the upcoming Darth Vader origin series that takes place moments after Revenge of the Sith and a very unique crossover event spanning multiple titles, the upcoming weeks are especially exciting.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The latter event continues this week in the form of Star Wars #31, which also serves as part two of "The Screaming Citadel" arc that started in a standalone title last week. It’s something different, and not just because it’s spanning multiple titles and spawning one-shots like Vader Down before it. The subject matter tackles themes and fantasy archetypes not usually seen in the Star Wars universe, which makes it feel incredibly fresh.
Case in point: The lead antagonist, the Queen of Ktath’atn (how do you pronounce that, Aphra?!) is essentially a blood queen, a vampire–she lives to feed on the flesh of living beings, especially those with all manner of physical deformities and oddities, and that broad definition includes Jedi. Doctor Aphra is in possession of an ancient artifact containing the consciousness of a Jedi that could seriously help Luke in his Force training, but the Queen is the only one who can decipher it. Therein lies the problem.
The issue mainly focuses on Luke and Aphra preparing to face the Queen, which is really the only place this issue falters–it feels like it simply takes too much time to get to the good stuff. That’s not to say the journey isn’t enjoyable, but the premise and consequences are explained by multiple characters several times over, and there comes a point where you just want the showdown to start already. When we get there it’s great, but there is a fair amount of stalling.
The artwork by Salvador Larroca is a treat. Characters that appear in the movies look startlingly like their real-life counterparts and the artwork has a photorealistic feel. Backgrounds are drawn beautifully and the art really helps imbue the Screaming Citadel with the creepy factor it’s going for–everything feels appropriately gothic, which is a breath of fresh air for Star Wars. Action scenes can feel somewhat static here and there, but otherwise, this issue is a treat to look at.
Is It Good?
The issue leaves on an interesting enough cliffhanger. As mentioned earlier, the main complaint, as with the first issue in this arc, is that I just want more. It’s already clear this arc will read wonderfully as a collected trade, but in the meantime, the suspense is killing me. This story could have serious implications for the Star Wars universe as a whole and could change how we view movies like Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and it’s exciting to expand on the established mythos like this. The next installment can’t come soon enough.