Story: Cavan Scott
Art: Ario Anindito, Jim Towe, Mark Morales
Colorist: Jim Campbell
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher
What They Say:
STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC RETURNS FOR ITS EXPLOSIVE PHASE III! A year after the destruction of STARLIGHT BEACON, MARCHION RO and THE NIHIL stand victorious! The galaxy is in turmoil: The once mighty JEDI are outclassed, the REPUBLIC is on its knees. On the edges of the galactic frontier, JEDI MASTER KEEVE TRENNIS leads a desperate assault against an invading force! The odds are stacked against her, but a Jedi always clings to hope. THE FORCE is with her…right? Not so fast!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
My relationship with the High Republic era continues to be complicated simply because I’m only really engaging with the comics, outside of one of the early novels. Thankfully, Cavan Scott is writing this series and he’s been one of the better comics writers and heavily involved on the novel side so it tends to dig a bit deeper than some other books. And this one is working to seed the next phase of this era in some familiar ways. For this issue, we get Ario Anindito back with Jim Towe this time on the artwork and with Mark Morales inking some of it as well. Anindito has done a lot of Star Wars work so there’s a solid bit of familiar “house” style with it here and the execution is pretty strong as expected since there’s a lot of familiarity with previous works for The High Republic era to build off of.
With some of the Shadows of Starlight material out, it’s easy to reconnect to aspects of it here with where the state of the galaxy is after the fall of the Starlight Beacon. One of the things playing out is the push for power by Marchion Ro and his group and that has them now trying to ally with a Hutt named Skarabda that would see them gaining influence and acknowledgment by doing so. The Hutt isn’t too keen on it because it doesn’t believe it needs the Nihil but you know that’ll factor into things as it progresses. There’s some good stuff with this on board the Jedi ship as they’re being assigned to head to where Skarabda is and try and deal with the Nihil even though the Jedi on board there want to do other things. There’s still that sense of general chaos and uncertainty in the mix since a chunk of the outer rim is now cut off. And throwing together a fight makes up a good chunk of the back half, bringing in a little Nameless to reshape the fight.
The book does two interesting things. The opening focuses on Keeve as she’s struggling over the loss of Skeer. It’s haunting her dreams and even making her meditation time problematic as her mind is filling in the gaps with how he must have died in the last battle. This gives us a good reconnection to Keeve since it’s been a while since the last series ended and reinforces the bond she shared with Skeer that’s still haunting her. But we also get a different kind of haunting toward the end of the book as she deals with more loss in the battle as Santar gets taken down by one of the Nameless and then discovers that one of those fighting with the Nihil is actually Lourna Dee. That is only going to make things worse after how things went down with the Starlight Beacon and the fact that she “liberated” the Ataraxia as well, which was definitely a psychological blow for a lot of the Jedi at the time.
The High Republic era still hasn’t completely gelled for me and I know a lot of the reason is that I’ve mostly stuck to the comics. Cavan Scott does a solid job of working the storyline here though I’m thankful I read a few of the Shadows of Starlight issues first to fill in some of the blanks about things like the Stormwall and all. I’m glad to get back to Keeve and see how they’re handling things after some pretty bleak events have unfolded. There’s a lot going on here and it goes a bit faster into the action and scale than I think it should, but it sets the stakes out clearly and quickly while keeping some good character material in it as well.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 8th, 2023