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Star Wars: The High Republic #4 Review

4 min read

“Balance of the Force: The Herald of the Open Hand”

Creative Staff:
Story: Cavan Scott
Art: Andrea Broccardo
Colors: Franke William
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher

What They Say:
The Temple of the Whills has been attacked, Vildar Mac critically injured in the blast. Is Tey Sirrek to blame? The Herald of the Open Hand has arrived to address the Convocation, but just what is the nameless horror that lurks in the streets of the Holy City? The Battle of Jedha begins here!

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 hasn’t really become something that I’m just heavily into yet. 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 are off for this issue as Andrea Broccardo steps in to handle the art duties which works well as they definitely have a good handle on the look of the property while also bringing in something that feels just a touch different in how it’s grounded and detailed.

The basic theme here are tensions rising and a new arrival that’s throwing everything into chaos. There’s some initial exploration of what’s going on after the explosion as the Convocation is trying to keep things calm while figuring out what happened, especially as Vildar is trying to reorient his views on Tey. The Convocation opts to cover up the explosion by saying it’s a gas explosion but that just feeds into the readers view of how there’s a solid level of corruption here already, something we’ve seen with those that are handling Tey and the history that shows a problematic run for the Convocation. But all of this gets elevated into something more with the arrival of Plouth, the Herald of the Open Path. He’s striding into the main chamber where all of this is being discussed gives him more ammunition in his cause.

And it’s an interesting one that gets into some of “what is the Force” question that has always been out there. Here, he talks about how the extensive use of it on Jedha and by so many of the Convocation, including the Jedi, are creating an imbalance by concentrating it here so that it’s not available elsewhere in the galaxy. The Convocation talks about that not being true, but it’s something that Plouth at least believes and intense to use in order to shut things down because the Convocation won’t agree to a no-use period for the Force. Which on a world like this could never be enforced anyway. But what it does is set up a moment for him where he makes more of everything that goes on in the tense discussions and throws it into the public sphere, twisting aspects of it to suit his needs. Such as his walking out turning into him being thrown out. That just makes it a flashpoint, especially as other elements are in the area that are altering at least one member of the Convocation’s view of reality as they see something much more insidiously in the crowd.

In Summary:
There’s a lot going on here that’s moving too fast to be told as well as it should. Plouth and what he’s doing here is clearly a gish gallop kind of plan being put into motion so it mostly works for him, but if you go into what he presents as an honest debate it’s going to just be a disaster. The Convocation doesn’t do itself any favors here in how it’s dealing with so many things and it just points to institutional decay and failure, which is all well and fine to contend with. Pluth and the Open Path have their own approach, however, but we don’t know their actual goals just yet. It’s a decent book in what it’s trying to present and I get it but it just feels too forced at times. Broccardo’s artwork is always great and they’ve got a strong handle on this world and material that it just feels like it’s effortless. I’m excited to see more of their time in this place and property.

Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 11th, 2023
MSRP: $3.99

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