Star Wars: Screaming Citadel – A Book Review

I’ve greatly enjoyed the various Marvel Star Wars series, but Star Wars: Yoda’s Secret War left me a little unsatisfied.  I’m very happy to say that the next installment–Screaming Citadel–righted the course and returned the series to its high standard.

Of course, this volume is not just comprised of the Star Wars series.  It also has issues from Doctor Aphra.  Obviously, the two comics crossed over with each other to deliver this story as  whole.

Doctor Aphra has an ancient crystal supposedly housing the sentience of a powerful Jedi.  She needs the Queen of the Screaming Citadel to access it for her, and she needs Luke Skywalker to entice the queen into doing so.  You’ll have to read the book for the details on using Luke as bait.  Doctor Aphra sells it to Luke as a chance for him to encounter an actual Jedi master, and it’s a chance for her to witness a remnant of the ancient past because she is an archaeologist after all, albeit a bit of an immoral one.

That’s a pretty good premise to achieve what this story is really all about–watching Luke and Aphra interact.  I believe Doctor Aphra is one of the greatest additions to the Star Wars universe in decades.  She first appeared in the Darth Vader series, and she won over the audience so thoroughly that she quickly earned her own title.  Honestly, though Aphra works best when pitted against the pure of heart, or at least those on the side of the Rebels.  She’s Aphra, so of course she manipulates Luke, double-crosses him, saves his skin a few times, then cheats him again.  That’s just who she is.

It’s also interesting to see a rebellious streak in Luke as he jaunts off with Aphra without telling Han, Leia, or anyone else for that matter.  We know his dad didn’t always follow protocol, so these little deviations are always revealing when Luke is concerned.  It’s also fun to see him beginning to realize his power.  This particular story takes place soon after A New Hope, so Luke has not yet begun to completely understand what he has at his disposal–though this book does depict Luke having some pretty cool moments with his burgeoning abilities.

We also have quite a bit of Han, Leia, and another invaluable addition to the mythology named Sana Starros.  All three get their moment to shine as Han finds more and more of the hero within, Leia further establishes herself as the capable leader she is, and Sana Starros slowly reveals more and more of her past to the reader.  Guess what?  Not only does she have deep connections to Han Solo, but it’s heavily hinted that she is also tied to Doctor Aphra as well.  The specifics may surprise you.

And, as always, Aphra’s versions of C3PO and R2D2 steal the show.  They are named 0-0-0 and BT-1.  They are basically the murderous, demented, evil version of our favorite droids, and they are forever a delight.

The story of Screaming Citadel itself is entertaining.  The art is very pleasing to the eye and keeps the plot moving at a quick pace.  At times the faces of the characters based off of real life actors look almost photo realistic, which is sometimes jarring when the rest of the panel does not look so true to life.  Of course, the best quality of the book is simply seeing all of these characters play off of each other.  It’s refreshing to have such rounded, charismatic new characters as Aphra, Sana, Triple-Zero, and Bee-Tee 1 making waves with our legendary favorites.

Image result for screaming citadel book cover amazon

(Did you enjoy this review?  Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)

 

 

 

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An Idea About the Plot of The Force Awakens

I’ve floated the following idea by some friends, and since they received it well, I thought I’d commit it to writing.  Though I haven’t yet read anything similar online, I’m sure I’m not the first to think of it, so my apologies if this trail has already been blazed.

Needless to say, spoilers abound regarding Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

…  I think we all noticed about three-fourths through The Force Awakens that the plot seemed, well, familiar.  I won’t go through every intricate similarity, but I absolutely believe the creators knew what they were doing and those similarities were not by accident.

Now that the film has literally made more than a billion dollars, they were very smart to give the audience what it wanted.  The film and the comparable plot obviously resonates with people.  They wanted a classic Star Wars movie, and that’s what they got!

But I believe the recycled story beats are working to do more than simply please the fans.  There’s was a saying in the Old West (and professional wrestling), that to be the best, you have to beat the best.

Rey is clearly one of the most powerful potential Jedi to have ever lived.  Within moments of her power’s awakening, she executes Jedi mind tricks, levitates objects, and wields a lightsaber like she’s trained her entire life.  She battles an adept villain to a standstill, assists blowing up a new “death star,” and offers solace to General Leia.  Heck, Chewbacca even even takes her on as a co-pilot before she personally finds and faces Luke Skywalker – heretofore considered “the best.”

I suspect Rey has great things in store for her.  But for us to take her seriously as a contender to Luke’s greatness, she must do everything Luke did in near equivalent circumstances, but do them even better.  In our first encounter with Luke, he never piloted the Millennium Falcon, he never came near mastering the Force, and he certainly never faced a villain close to Darth Vader’s caliber.

I love Luke Skywalker.  (It should be noted I am 39 and he was my childhood hero along with Indiana Jones and Batman.)  But I also love Rey.  She is very relatable and charismatic.  They set her up brilliantly within one movie to be the new hero of the franchise, a hero both worthy of Skywalker’s legacy and even proven capable of surpassing it.

To be the best, you have to beat the best.  (Feel free to “woo!”)

Star Wars: The Weapon Of a Jedi by Jason Fry – A Book Review

Set after A New Hope, this Luke Skywalker young adult novel is a fast-paced read that takes no time at all to finish.

Luke becomes distracted during a mission as The Force pushes him to investigate strange ruins.  If you ever wondered what circumstances led Luke to master his lightsaber, this is the book for you!

It’s fun reading a book dedicated solely to Luke, and it offers insight into the noble man behind the myth.  We even encounter a new antagonist called the Scavenger (who has already received his own action figure).

The Weapon of a Jedi is helpful in that is helps explain Luke’s path to becoming an actual Jedi, but it also lays the groundwork to future story lines, particularly in regards to the ruins he discovers.  I have to wonder if there is a direct connection between these ruins and Luke’s personal quest in the graphic novel Shattered Empire which impacts Shara Bey, mother of The Force Awakens’ Poe Dameron …