Story: Charles Soule
Art: Marika Cresta
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
What They Say:
More SECRETS are revealed from the “MISSING YEAR” following the fall of STARLIGHT BEACON! ELZAR MANN and AVAR KRISS, star-crossed JEDI MASTERS, attempt to navigate a galaxy that seems determined to keep them apart… What is the STORMWALL, and what danger does it pose to THE REPUBLIC and THE JEDI ORDER?
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 still, outside of one of the early novels. Thankfully, Charles Soule 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 Marika Cresta on the art duties with Guru-eFX handling the color design and it delivers well with so much covered. We get to pop to a number of planets and focus on Coruscant a lot where there are a lot of Jedi and other characters from across various era-related properties popping up here. And it all feels cohesive and solid with some good detail even as it has to cover far more ground than it should in such a short period.
This installment has a pretty good and narrow focus as it’s on the pairing of Avar and Elzar. With Avar being a prominent character across the board in this period, her coping with the fall of the Starlight Beacon has her pushed to an extreme. She and Elzar both lost a close friend in Stellan over it and Elzar holds himself somewhat responsible since he killed a Nihil scientist that seemed to be working to stop the fall of the platform. While the two have a lot to process early on, we see their different approaches quickly. Elzar obeys the order to return to Coruscant while Avar heads after the Nihil in order to bring them to justice and figure out who is truly behind everything. That takes some time and it goes badly in a way because she ends up trapped in a sector of space that the Nihil have closed off with their Stormwall that hinders hyperspace travel and communications. There are far slower ways of getting through but this basically seals off the sector.
Elzar throws himself into trying to figure out how to contact her and is just rude across the board to the droid he’s working with. Avar’s story is more interesting as we see over the next six or so months how she survives, tracks down information, and sets up shop on one world in order to see how the Nihil are manipulating the situation and the various beings now under their control. Avar’s still pretty focused as time goes on but she’s at least not trying to do something big and grand but rather documenting everything. Naturally, it all does go a bit bigger toward the end but that’s more on the Nihil than anything else and it’s more setup for what’s to come than anything else. Elzar’s involved throughout the story but this is more focused on Avar and that’s to its benefit as Elzar doesn’t do much to make himself interesting here across it, even with the loss he’s working through.
The shift in focus with this installment to Avar and Elzar works well. Avar is still the standout character for me across the High Republic era stories as she’s had the most material I’ve seen and there’s a lot of good story stuff for her to engage in. Her path here is one that certainly feels right in this more kind of freewheeling period of the Republic and going through some of the issues that exist between her and Elzar works well after coming to grips with the fact that Stellan is dead. The Nihil are handled well enough here and you can see how it would cause more ripples across the outer rim in the decades to come to keep it less connected to the Republic – making it ripe for the Empire.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 8th, 2023