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Star Wars: The High Republic #8 Review

4 min read

“Battle For The Force: Dunes of Blood”

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

What They Say:
TERROR ON THE DUNES OF BLOOD! One Jedi lies dying in Jedha’s frozen desert, and another is missing. Can Vildar, Matty, and Tey escape the siege of Enlightenment in time to save them both? All the time, the Leveler waits in the shadows, desperate to feed. Plus, the identities of the mysterious raiders are revealed.

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. This issue has David Messina on the book after an issue where the previous team didn’t mesh for me. With Messina, 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.

With the chaos at hand in the city, we get a fairly straightforward in this installment which helps keep things flowing better than some previous issues. It largely revolves around Vildar as he’s now intent on going out to find Oliviah and see what’s happening there with Leebon and the fall of the giant statue. The problems are knocking on their door and they thankfully have a way out as Tey is already running there as there’s an underground passage that was a secret that he found out about. It’s a pretty good bit that shows how Tey is intent on helping and doing the right thing even though everyone keeps seeing it in the wrong light. Vildar going after him reinforces the kind of bond the two have even though Vildar is still taking his time in coming around to realizing that Tey is more likely than not on the right side of things. The problem is that so many others don’t see him that way and they’re the loud ones in the room. Which Vildar should know better.

A large chunk of the book involves the tunnel sequence with this as Matty and Vildar have come behind Tey to get a lot of the people out only to have it go wrong. Yet first encounters some nasty creatures that were supposed to be small rats but they’re much larger, which Vildar helps out with. And then things go worse with a collapse of the ceiling that separates Tey and Vildar from the rest, which gives them time to go to Oliviah. She’s in a bad way and it’s almost comical in how they try to figure out how to help her in the short term since she wants them to get inside the ruined temple to help Leebon. But even that feels secondary as the Herald is in there putting together a device that will be problematic as we know more about it but with such a sense of the Dark Side within the temple, Vildar’s starting to lose what little control he has left at this point. Suffice it to say, we continue to see that the Jedi just aren’t all that great in this instance.

In Summary:
Things continue to move forward and we see some of what the Herald is up to and acquiring from within the temple. There’s more to learn to be sure and they’re still not compelling villains, but we’re at a place now where Vildar and Tey are working together so I’ll take that as a win. And Vildar even helps to reassure Matty that she’s definitely the right person to be doing what she’s doing when it comes to helping others and the bigger fight here. It’s a generally solid book in moving events forward and sticking to either Vildar or Tey and with them together it feels a bit more cohesive. There are some areas where Messina’s art doesn’t click too well, though some of that may be the color designs, but overall it all gets the job done.

Grade: B-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 12th, 2023
MSRP: $3.99