After the smorgasbord that was last week, Marvel comes right back a week later with two more issues! I’m excited, but my budget is glaring at me like a cat that’s about to knock something off a table out of spite…anyway, we once again infiltrate the Screaming Citadel this week, thankfully, for the last time – I’ll be brutally honest here: I don’t like this arc at all, but, hey, that’s okay, I’ve seen at least a few people say positive things about it so it’s not a complete loss. In addition to the saga of the confetti Queen, though, we also get back to the ongoing Poe Dameron story after last week’s “where in the timeline is it?” Annual. I’m excited to see where this story goes, and to find out if there’s any Terex left in Terex…so, without further ado, on with the show!
Doctor Aphra #8
So, the long awaited showdown between bug-infested Luke and the Queen turns out to be more of a dance followed by them just standing across from each other while the Queen’s weird pixelated confetti magic is everywhere. With the Queen and Luke occupied, it turns out her two underlings and Han are the next plane in the hierarchy, so they take off to try to take charge while Aphra sends Rur to help Luke. Speaking of Han, he’s now somehow out of his guardsman armor and holding a candelabra for some reason…anyway, he’s still fighting with Leia & Sana until he realizes he’s in control and tells everyone to stop fighting. At this point the two underlings bust in and say to kill Han, Han says to shoot them and release Krrsantan on them and battle ensues. Back with Luke and the Queen, they’re just standing there, but apparently projecting their bug thoughts to each other? Having a psychic bug war? Something dumb…anyway, Rur seeps into Luke’s mind and tries to help him take control and be some kind of unstoppable bug-man, but Luke rejects his plan and lets go, allowing the Queen’s bug to kill his bug, essentially separating himself from the symbiote. Then, with one quick saber slash, he kills the Queen. Back with Han et al., with their leader killed, all the symbiote-controlled people get a headache as the hive mind goes haywire – Leia shoots the old dude underling, and Krrsantan likely dismembers the other assassin lady (it doesn’t show it, but that’s what I’m assuming). After this, it leaves Han as the top of the food chain, so everyone’s hailing him as king and, for a moment, he thinks about going with it, but instead frees everyone, which also includes all the townspeople. Maybe as a stroke of dramatic irony, Sana says, “How are we going to live with this?” even though it’s almost definitely never going to be referenced again outside of the next half a dozen comics or so…after his heroics, Han boasts about doing the Kessel Run in eleven or fewer parsecs so they sedate him and Luke & Aphra join the party. Leia has 000 extract the symbiote from Han, and Aphra tell BT to burn the place to the ground. She even suggests contacting the Empire because the symbiotes are “one thing they take seriously.” After Han’s impromptu operation, he gives a nice callback (or call-ahead, really) to The Force Awakens by saying he “thought it was a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but turns out…well, it’s not…” He and Leia have a cute little moment, then so do Aphra & Sana – those two couples are interesting opposites: Han & Leia have that opposites attract quality where Aphra & Sana are almost too similar, thus polarizing, yet different enough that they can get close but never, it seems, connect completely…anyway, Aphra offers Rur to Luke, but he refuses, saying it’s not a Jedi. He then has some pretty solid dialogue about effort and learning lessons that elevates this piece of the Scream Citadel arc slightly, but not enough to say it’s worthwhile. The two crews part, and 000 gets a good burn in on Aphra about her “failings of character.” Meanwhile Han makes a joke about getting another medal as they fly off to hyperspace…now, you’d think this is the end, but it’s not…back at the Citadel, a young couple is scavenging for things to sell when they make their way off-world when the girl stumbles upon the Queen…whose symbiote is still alive and attacks the poor girl. Somehow, even though the symbiote is about half the size of her body, it manages to crawl in her face, leaving a diagonal scar across her face (much like Kylo’s, only bigger), and somehow giving her the Queen’s Amidala-like makeup…oh, and her pixelated confetti stuff…oh also she says, “Skywalker”…and that’s the end of the issue! OH GREAT, THERE’S GOING TO BE MORE! I CAN’T WAIT! (That was extreme sarcasm, just fyi.) I think the worst part about this issue is that I was teased with the end of the Screaming Citadel, but it’s not so…hopefully this is something that carries on through the Aphra comic only, and doesn’t interrupt the big three from finally going to save the droids! Gah!
Poe Dameron #16
So, Poe is hurtling through an asteroid field in the Speed-like, explosive-rigged tanker while Black Squadron is outside shooting rocks out of his way. They’re nearly through, but the X-wings are out running on fumes so they have to dock with the tanker, leaving Poe on his own…which, of course, turns out fine. Duh. They have a little discussion about how many problems they have and whether or not Poe’s “space crazy,” then they come up with a plan based on their ability to refuel the X-wings and BB-8’s ability to track the First Order tanker which is still nearby because it has no on-board hyperspace and has to make its way to a hyperspace ring to get back to First Order space. Back with the First Order, we see Phasma-not-Phasma degrading the lobotomized Terex by calling him a “good little boy” and pulling on his cheeks like a grandmother stereotype. They assume all is well and good until they get the warning that an ship, the Resistance tanker to be exact, is barreling toward them at a speed it should not be able to sustain with breaking down. Commander Malarus, aka Phasma-not-Phasma, aka Angry Eyebrows bellows to “launch fighters,” instructing them to blow the tanker, but from a safe distance since it’s rigged to explode. But then, surprise! The X-wings come out, having siphoned fuel from the tanker’s own operating fuel, and split up: two go to take out the TIEs, two go toward the First Order tanker. At this point, Terex gives Angry Eyebrows the odds of their success in protocol droid-like fashion, to which she replies, “shut up, Terex.” Next we see that, ah ha! The two X-wings weren’t going after the tanker after all, they were going after the hyperspace ring, which they destroy with ease. Poe then gives the tanker his options: use the escape pods and live, or stay and get blown up. Angry Eyebrows tells them not to abandon ship but also says she has direct orders not to directly engage the Resistance (even though they pretty much already had) so she won’t be sending aid…and, smartly, the tanker crew abandons ship. Angry Eyebrows, who’s, believe it or not, angry at this cowardly betrayal, gets annoyed with Terex spouting off about odds again and slams him to the wall, which he hits head, more specifically cerebral implant side of his head, first. While Angry Eyebrows ensures that the tanker captain at least engaged the self-destruct before he left, we see a closeup of Terex with what appears to be, to me anyway, oil dribbling from his mouth (though I assume it’s supposed to be blood). I’m under the impression we’re supposed to assume that Terex has regained a bit of himself in this moment, but we’re not given anything further to clarify whether or not that is the case (I desperately hope it’s the case, Terex absolutely made this comic for me, and it would be a shame if this is all that becomes of him). Moving on, Poe lands on the First Order tank and dispatches BB-8 to disarm the self-destruct that he’s sure they’ve enabled…and you’re not sure if he’s going to make it in time and then, oh no! There’s a huge explosion, but, of course, it wasn’t the First Order tanker, it was the other one that was rigged to explode. Again, duh. So, all’s well with the world. The Resistance got their fuel back. Poe, and, honestly, as usual, BB-8 are heroes…I wonder what interesting mission they’ll return victorious from next? (Honestly, I think the most exciting part of this whole issue is the “Next Issue” page that shows a cool-looking alien lined up with the Resistance.)
And there they are, ladies and gentlemen, in all their mediocre glory! Okay, maybe that’s too harsh, the Poe comic was interesting if a little obvious, and the Aphra comic had some decent dialogue…remember? I said that…anyway, I hope Poe’s series gets back to having more to do with Terex because that’s when it really shined: look, we know Poe’s going to be fine, we’ve seen him past this, Terex, though, who knows? That’s where the excitement and intrigue is. It’s the same for Aphra, honestly – we have no idea what could happen to her, the droids, or Krrsantan, so lets keep their stories about them and leave the very safe big three out of it…so, yeah, what’d you think? Are you excited the the Screaming Citadel isn’t actually finished and the over-sized symbiote saga is still moving forward? What do you think about Terex? Did he come back to himself there, or is that just wishful thinking on my part? Give the books a thorough second read and let me know what you think in the comments…or I’ll send the Queen’s special symbiote to your house disguised as the Publishers Clearing House and have it infect you so you’re perpetually surrounded by confetti…TWS out.