Welcome back reader! Due to the backlog of comics I created for myself, I’ve split the roundup into two parts; one, covering the pre Return of the Jedi era, another, The High Republic (where you are now). If you’re looking for Valance and Aphra, hop on over to the other article, if you’re here for Keeve and Avar, stick around! We have a lot of great stuff to get into, everything from the mysterious past of Marchion Ro to the storming of the Great Hall, let’s jump in! WARNING: The Fallen Star spoilers ahead!
The High Republic Issue #12 & #13
Cavan Scott returns for some of the highest stakes, emotional, and most of all badass High Republic storytelling yet. Keeve has evolved so much over the last year we’ve spent with her, once an overjoyed padawan knighted by Avar Kriss, now a knight holding her back from the darkness. The connectivity, as with all Project Luminous works, is off the charts. Characters from Tempest Runner, plot points that set up and feed into Fallen Star, and all the rest continue to make this era truly an era. In just a short time, The High Republic has become as Star Wars as “the dark times” or the Clone Wars. At this point, it’s hard to talk about without writing a dissertation, it’s like a massive onion, layers, and layers of content that are all built together. In these issues, we follow the dissolution of Avar’s marshal-hood as she breaks ranks with the council to lead a rage-fueled crusade against Lourna Dee. The action in issue #13 in particular is gorgeous, Anindito knocked it out of the park and then some. The writing is great, the art is great, what more do you people want from a comic? Skeers struggle with losing the force, stunning! Zeetars death, Brutal! The duel between Avar and Lourna, she loses a damn hand! Go pick this one up stat! We’re really starting to see the cracks in the Jedi Order that will form into canyons by prequel times.
Trail of Shadows #3
The Trail of Shadows continues, and boy this trail is getting mighty long. Our favorite investigative duo seems to only hit dead ends as this issue puts the mystery on the back burner to focus on character. The source of the investigations troubles, now in retrospect, seems all to obvious. It all makes sense! Ghirra Starros…the son of bantha, not a very wizard person if you ask me. Anyway, back on topic, this issue continues to prove that there needs to be more noir in Star Wars. Older has not relented unapologetically casting this tone, and the series is all the better for it. Plus, it helps that everything looks stellar thanks to Wachter’s art, up to and including a shirtless Marchion Ro. Wachter also threw in a Feeorin, a personal favorite alien of mine, a legends species not oft seen in canon (literally only in one other thing), so it gets a bonus point for that. There’s even a Harch playing the drums! If you forgot, that’s Admiral Trench’s species. So, a human-sized spider-drummer, that gets double bonus points. By far and away the biggest takeaway is the burgeoning (romantic?) relationship between Emerick and Sian. DJO is providing the wholesome Star Wars couples like they’re going out of style. Once again, The High Republic is digging deep into what it means to be a Jedi, this time testing the boundaries of emotion in Emerick. With the Leveler threatening the very existence of the Jedi, he realizes everyone he ever cared for was a Jedi until Sian. This revelation has him feeling understandably exposed. He remarks, “he is only human,” a sin that turned Anakin to the darkside in Jedi future. I’m curious to see how he grapples with this moving forward. In all likelihood, if you’re reading the other High Republic comics then you’re already reading this one, but if for some reason you’re not, definitely do! Don’t miss this moody adventure!
The High Republic Adventures Annual & Galactic Bakeoff
Go read the Annual. No really, that’s it, go read it! I absolutely LOVED this thing, wow, it’s like a wine and cheese platter of good Star Wars stories. It is quite literally too much to try and review, in one of these paragraphs. It’s five stories, five art styles, and every single High Republic author in one ultimate issue of goodness. From Leox Gyasi to Porter Engle, this Annual should have something to interest you! On the other hand, we have Galactic Bake-Off Spectacular, a very focused tale of cooperation and connection through the force couched in a fun baking backdrop. There is even a real recipe included by Claudia Grey! The meat of the tale revolves around Masters Kantam Sy and Torban Buck as they confront the events of Light of the Jedi way back when, hyperspace tomfoolery and all. This is good clean fun, plain and simple. The Dug Jedi who kneads dough with his feet, a weird sentence I admit, is my favorite part and encapsulates the kind of joyous energy Older brings to the Adventures line of stories. By no means essential reading, but check out this issue if you want to smile a few times if nothing else.
The High Republic Adventures #12
Confrontation amongst the stars! Our heroes battle Krix and his Nihil band in a desperate last stand as Lula and Zeen face their feelings for each other. Have I mentioned Daniel Jose Older? Well, here he is again, delivering high-quality all-ages content Adventures has had some of, if not the best character development across the various runs. Qort and Farzala have come such a long way, let alone Krix and Zeen. Zeen especially fascinates me, in the prequel era, she would’ve been locked up or something reactionary like that. It’s rare enough as it is that we see non-Jedi light side force users, let alone ones that just hang out in the Jedi clubhouse so to speak. On top of that, she actively works with them on missions! Such a great concept for a character, and now that she and Lula have seemingly confused their love for one another, what strain will it put on Lula’s commitment to the Order. Potentially, it won’t be an issue at all. The Order in this era is enlightened compared to what we know, and the final word of “Balance” lends itself to a positive outlook. Though, with the way the rest of The High Republic is trending, maybe I should temper my expectations for a happy ending. Tolibao’s art is as beautiful as ever, the story is still on point, what are you waiting for? Jump into The High Republic Adventures now!
Eye of the Storm #1
Eye of the Storm, finally here, and it’s…fine? I have this one last because my feelings are the muddiest surrounding this issue. The backstory here was cool enough, the storm imagery and themes are a little on the nose but par for the course with Star Wars. The Evereni portion of part one was the most enjoyable for me as it had the most new. A lot of the Asgar/Nihil backstory was in The Rising Storm so it felt more like a refresher, or wiping the glass of a foggy mirror. I had the general idea before now it’s just a bit more in focus. I think I’m just tired of being teased with the Leveler(s?). Hell, at this point the damn things have killed my favorite Jedi so I’m thirsting for some lore as recompense. I think the second issue will bring the heat and some juicy answers. Charles Soule has stated it takes place after The Fallen Star, further tweeting, “EYE OF THE STORM #1 is about the past. EYE OF THE STORM #2 is about the future.” This issue was in no way bad, it was great in many ways, but it didn’t seem like the essential reading the second issue sounds like it will very much be.
And that’s The High Republic Round-up!
As phase one draws to a close, so too does the comic side of The High Republic. As we travel back into the past for phase two, their stories will be greatly missed. The next time we cover these comics, it’ll likely be the last time we see these characters for well over a year. Until then, we have the finales of every single series on the immediate horizon. For light and life readers, see you next time!