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Star Wars: The High Republic #1 Review

4 min read

“Balance of the Force: The Pilgrim Moon”

Creative Staff:
Story: Cavan Scott
Art: Ario Anindito, Mark Morales
Colors: Franke William
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher

What They Say:
A new chapter begins for Star Wars: The High Republic! One hundred and fifty years before the fall of Starlight, another beacon burns bright in the galaxy, a beacon of faith and spirituality. Jedha. The Pilgrim Moon. The Kyber Heart. But tensions are rising in the holy city and dark days are to come.

Jedi Vildar Mac, a Jedi safe and secure in who he is and what he could be, arrives as Jedha’s fragile peace begins to crumble… But a nightmare awaits…a nameless terror that will become the stuff of legend…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The High Republic era continues to be something I’m fascinated by but haven’t really latched onto with a central kind of approach. I’ve dabbled in a couple of books and several comics, but it hasn’t had that gateway that’s worked for me where I’m really invested in following it. Cavan Scott’s involvement in the novel side definitely has made for some solid comics in the previous run and my hope is that as time goes on and they all get a better handle on the larger approach, things move in more interesting directions. Ario Anindito and Mark Morales return for this series which works well as they definitely helped to set a lot of the visual ton in the previous run and continuing that here is a plus. I like the detail we get with all of the creatures with the Nihil and the layouts are pretty solid all-around so that it has a good flow to it that makes it engaging to read.

This series is bringing us into a new realm of characters and it’s also focusing on an interesting area with Jedha. Introduced in Rogue One, we had some tidbits with it in the main Star Wars book with Luke going there. Taking us back 200 years prior and exploring it here is interesting, particularly through the eyes of 55-year-old Vildar Mac, a Jedi who chose to come to the Convocation. This is a group that essentially tries to promote unity among all of the various religious groups that operate in the city – a city that still holds a seriously long grudge from when the Jedi essentially ruled Jedha and continue to view it as a Holy City. Mac is someone that’s struggling with some of his childhood in how his village was destroyed by someone that could tap into real power before he ended up being rescued himself and brought into the Order.

The opening issue allows us to see Jedha through his eyes but also that of a Padawan named Matthea, or better known as Matty. She’s got all the youth and enthusiasm to her approach to living here while also knowing how it all works with the frictions that exist. The city here comes alive in a very distinct way because it has so many competing approaches to it in a fairly tight space, so it’s easy to see Vildar get thrown by things while Matty tries to navigate it and keep everyone happy. Vildar’s drawn quickly into a problem with one of the groups that has had a highly valued painting stolen from their church essentially and that comes as he gets involved with a street fight with a thief that may be tied to it. It’s very busy, very chaotic at times, and a lot of information is thrown at you in a way that doesn’t flow quite so well. Comics and novels are very different and this would get a more leisurely bit of exposition in a novel, but even this approach here is like a floodgate of information that slows down the storytelling, keeping you from really connecting with the characters.

In Summary:
With this also featuring a backup story that digs into the Convocation itself and several of the groups arguing about things with a new applicant, it’s a very overstuffed issue in trying to cover the bases of how Jedha works. I want to know everything about Jedha but half of it felt like it just needed to be done as bullet points going in rather than trying to wedge it in as dialogue and action-ish oriented exposition. Vildar Mac seems like an interesting character to latch onto as our eyes into this journey and the pairing with Matty is familiar yet has a good kind of classic charm to it. The creative team here has a lot of possibilities they can work with considering what Jedha is like and exploring the various groups and how they perceive the Force within their own religions. It just needs to slow down a bit and connect us with character more rather than an information dump.

Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 12th, 2022
MSRP: $3.99