Doctor Aphra #8

Doctor Aphra #8
The Screaming Citadel Part 5 of 5

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Andrea Broccardo
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Marco Checchetto

Warning: Review contains full spoilers.

The Screaming Citadel arc comes to an end with Doctor Aphra #8. Sadly, it wasn’t a triumphant ending. While the heroes did win the day in the end, the arc overall wasn’t that great of a read. Some of the inconsistent characterization elements pop up in this issue. The art is okay. The plot is rushed. In the end, there just isn’t a lot to make this issue, or the arc, worth the money, time or effort required to read it.

The issue opens with bug possessed Luke engaging in a battle of wills with the queen. With red and black confetti everywhere, they dance and sit and eventually the symbiotes attached to them come out to fight. Aphra tries to help by bringing in the eternal Rur who tells Luke how to control the symbiote. Instead, Luke sacrifices his symbiote, then whips out his lightsaber and kills the queen. Meanwhile Han regains control of himself to an extent and helps out the rest of the gang who is battling the queen’s minions. There’s a bit of humor, and with the queen’s death, they kill off all her minions. Aphra unleashes BeeTee on the castle as he burns it down. Everything wraps up with the heroes saying their goodbyes and leaving the planet. There’s a final touch showing the queen’s symbiote finding a new host and swearing vengeance on Luke.

So gripe number one: the symbiotes. After five issues, how the symbiotes actually work isn’t really clear. Everyone in the castle was infected by them, and the queen was the dominant controller. Yet was she in control or the symbiote? When she became distracted with Luke, everyone infected suddenly regained the ability to think on their own. So this seems to indicate that the queen was using her symbiote to subjugate everyone else to the point that they had minimal control over themselves. The other odd aspect is how the symbiotes conveniently decided to leave Luke and the queen in order to fight. This ignores the fact that all Luke’s symbiote had to do was make him use his lightsaber to kill the queen. Then again, what kind of powers did the symbiotes actually have? According to Rur, it was just emotional drive. None of it really coalesces into an understandable and significant plot. Instead there are just random bits thrown around that allow the story to move forward. At least that’s how it feels.

Gripe number two is the inconsistent characterizations. Throughout the entire arc, Luke has been this positive, nice guy who is constantly giving Aphra second chances. Then when she finally comes back and enables Luke to save the day, he turns the cold shoulder on her and says he never wants to see her again. It’s a complete flip of his character up to this point and there isn’t a justifiable point in the story to make it believable. She’s certainly done worse things before this. Then there’s Sana who has been such a hardass on Aphra, and who has emphasized a couple times that she was going to kill her. Yet in this issue, she suddenly turns into a nice person and all is forgiven. Even Leia acts weird as she is super nice to Han.

Gripe number three is that with the survival of the queen’s symbiote, this storyline isn’t dead. I was really looking forward to saying goodbye to this story, but now there’s the possibility of it coming back. From the sloppy writing and some of the mediocre artwork, this is not an arc I want to revisit. Hopefully if the symbiote does return, they can come up with a better storyline. As is, I give this issue a two and a half out of five metal bikinis. Overall, this is an arc you can skip.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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