The Screaming Citadel 1 is a one-shot comic that served as the first issue of Marvel Comics' crossover event of Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel, a crossover event between Marvel Comics Star Wars and Doctor Aphra series. The Screaming Citadel 1 is written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Marco Checchetto, and published on May 10, 2017.
Rebel pilot and rogue archaeologist wander side by side into the darkest shadows of the galaxy as Luke Skywalker reluctantly teams up with Doctor Aphra! The Doctor makes Luke an offer he can't afford to pass up…one that leads him to a very rare gathering at the heart of the infamous Screaming Citadel. Will Luke find what he's looking for? Can Aphra be trusted? Or will they both wind up victims of the Citadel's Queen?
The Jedi and the rogue archaeologist
Rebel Alliance starfighter pilot Luke Skywalker enters a shady cantina on the Outer Rim world of Horox III. Met by hostility from the predominantly Sabat patrons who object to the presence of a human, Skywalker responds that he just wants to be alone. When one of the Sabats tells him to prepare for a beating, Skywalker responds that he is not worried about them since he knows whom he has to fight.
Before a fight can break out, Dr Aphra enters the cantina and tells the Sabats that Skywalker is with her. Before Dr Aphra can confront the Sabats, one of them knocks her to the ground and denounces her for stealing the Ur-Tharn processors. Before the Sabat can strike her with a liquor bottle, Skywalker smashes him on the head with a stool. With the help of the Wookiee Black Krrsantan, Skywalker and Dr Aphra subdue the Sabta patrons.
Despite working together, Skywalker distrusts Dr Aphra because she worked for Darth Vader, regarding her as evil. Dr Aphra corrects him that he used to work for Lord Vader and responds that "evil" is a very strong word. Skywalker is unwilling to have anything to do with Dr Aphra but she convinces him to change his mind by offering to help find a Jedi Master.
Outside the cantina, Skywalker asks Dr Aphra what makes her think that he is a Jedi, Aphra replies that he is learning. Skywalker is annoyed at being called a "kid". Dr Aphra ponders at Darth Vader's interest in capturing Skywalker alive and patronizes him for his role in destroying the Death Star. Skywalker tries to deny being a Jedi but Dr Aphra points out his exceptional skills as a shooter and starfighter pilot.
Knowing Skywalker's desire to become a Jedi, Dr Aphra shows him a cylindrical green crystal of Eternal Rur that she recovered from the Ordu Aspectu temple. Since Skywalker is unable to reactivate it, Dr Aphra plans to take it to the Queen of Ktath'atn, an ancient queen who swaps favors for meeting interesting organic and Force-sensitive lives. Dr Aphra invites Skywalker for dinner with the Queen of Ktath'atn in return for meeting his ancient teacher. Skywalker is unsure so Dr Aphra asks him if he is a farmboy or a Jedi Knight.
Journey to Ktath'atn
Skywalker agrees to accompany Dr Aphra on her trip to Ktath'atn. Aboard the Ark Angel II, Skywalker has a reunion with Aphra's psychopathic protocol droid Triple Zero, who electrocuted him during their last meeting. Triple Zero counters that Skywalker cut off his arm with his lightsaber but reassures him that droids don't hold grudges. Triple Zero introduces Skywalker to his astromech counterpart Beetee, who fought R2-D2 during their last encounter. Triple Zero warns Skywalker of Beetee's homicidal rage.
During the hyperspace journey, Skywalker says he wished that they informed Han Solo, Leia Organa or even Sana Starros. Dr Aphra responds that they may have stopped them because they distrust her. She adds that the Queen of Ktath'atn only sees people for one night a year.
Skywalker, Dr Aphra, and her companions land at the Citadel of Ktath'atn during a rainstorm. When Skywalker asks what Ktath'atn means, Triple Zero translates it literally as "the military expedient construction of loud, shrill exhalations" but prefers the shorter name, the "Screaming Citadel." Several starving villagers, who have white eyes, from the Ktath'atn village beg for food but Black Krrsantan scares them away.
As they approach the threshold to the Queen's palace, her guards do not permit Black Krrsantan because the Queen is allergic to Wookiees. Dr Aphra gives Krrsantan a deck of cards as consolation and tells him to befriend the locals, which include Gamorreans and Sabats. When Skywalker asks Dr Aphra how she met Black Krrsantan, she responds that she owes him a lot of money. Skywalker asks Dr Aphra how she located him but she is reluctant to answer.
Luke's rebel friends
Meanwhile at the temporary rebel outpost on Horox III, Sana Starros plays back Dr Aphra's hologram message seeking to make amends following their last encounter at Sunspot Prison. Han Solo then enlists Sana Starros' help in communicating with Skywalker's temporary R5 astromech droid Essfour, who can only speak Binary. Princess Leia Organa wants to know Luke's whereabouts but the droid responds that he cannot tell. Questioning the droid, Starros learns that Skywalker did not go by himself but that he went with Dr Aphra.
Leia is unhappy while Solo ponders why Skywalker would go with someone as deranged as Dr Aphra. Leia thinks that Dr Aphra kidnapped Skywalker while Solo asks if Dr Aphra could reprogram a droid to keep a secret. Starros does not think that Aphra would be able to do that and opines the Aphra never considers the consequences of her actions.
Guests of the Queen
At the Citadel of Ktath'atn, Dr Aphra shows Skywalker how to wear a spavat with Triple Zero adding suggestions. When Dr Aphra remarks that Skywalker looks very sophisticated for a "farm boy", Skywalker replies that he is not just a farm boy. Dr Aphra tasks Triple Zero and Beetee with guarding their room. When Skywalker asks why Dr Aphra has not dressed up for the reception, she responds that he is the "main attraction."
In the ballroom, Skywalker is mesmerized by the well-dressed guests and the diverse species. Dr Aphra tells Skywalker to follow her lead and advises him to hide his lightsaber. Skywalker responds that he has been keeping his Jedi identity a secret for a long time. When Skywalker asks about the "A.I. Jedi", Aphra responds that she only met him briefly but that he has strong opinions. Skywalker encounters an Ezaraan guest who talks about replacing the Empire with a Dominion of the Ezaraa where they would consume the flesh of all "lesser species." Skywalker thinks that the guests are crazy.
The two soon see the Queen of Ktath'atn standing at front of her throne with her entourage. The Queen is a pale-skinned humanoid woman with red hair and read and black clothes. One of her servants Varroa, a bald pale man, welcomes the guests to submit their presents. A humanoid with orange eyes presents a chained Hyropodic aetherbeast, native to three biomes on Yolthani VI. Varroa replies that the Queen is intrigued and will consider his request.
A Toydarian presents a cyberanimate flop from the laboratories of the "gene-heretic" Cylo. However, Varroa responds that the Queen is not interested in his gift. A Dressellian guest offers a microflora effusion of polysatyrs. Varroa responds that his Queen will consider his request. Dr Aphra then presents Skywalker, describing him as a very interesting Tatooine farm boy. Varroa rejects Skywalker and warns Aphra that the Queen does not easily tolerate offense. The Ezaraan mocks Skywalker as a foolish boy.
Aphra tells him to leave Skywalker alone but he grabs her arm, telling her that he acts as his wish. Skywalker warns the Ezaraan to leave Aphra alone and uses the Force to throw the Ezaraan to the ground, intriguing the Queen. Aphra compliments Skywalker while quipping that someone has eaten too many cannapes. Varroa orders all the guests to leave and offers compensation to the guests whose gifts are no longer required. However, he allows Skywalker and his companion to stay so that the Queen can hear his request in the morning. Aphra teases Skywalker for blowing his Jedi cover.
The heart of evil
Later, the Queen tells her female servant Vespinax that Skywalker has so much power and so little experience, making him perfect for her intentions. When Vespinax asks if they should bring Skywalker to her, the Queen responds that they should not because they need to be at their full strength for such a confrontation. The Queen then orders her servants to gather her harvest, which involves drawing the life energies from the inhabitants of the surrounding village. The Queen then feeds off the harvested life energies of the servants while desiring the taste of Jedi.
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Notes and references
- This issue takes place after the Alliance to Restore the Republic's victory at Yavin, which is featured in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 0 BBY. The issue also takes place prior to the assault on the Mako-Ta Space Docks, which Ultimate Star Wars, New Edition dates to around one year after the Battle of Yavin, meaning that it takes place in 1 ABY. Therefore, this issue must take place between 0 ABY and 1 ABY.