REVIEW: ‘Star Wars: The High Republic,’ Issue #1

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Star Wars: The High Republic #1

The first stream of publications for Star Wars: The High Republic is finally here. While the very justified hype surrounding the novelizations is abounding,  Star Wars: The High Republic #1 is here to ignite this multimedia project’s comic arm. Published by Marvel Comics, Star Wars: The High Republic #1 is written by Star Wars lore staple Cavan Scott while Ario Anindito provides art, ink by Mark Morles, colors by Annalisa Leoni, letters by Ariana Maher, and cover art by Phil Noto.

Set over 200 years before the Skywalker Saga events, Star Wars: The High Republic #1 takes place just after the events of Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi and just hours before the dedication of the Starlight Beacon. The galaxy is recovering from The Great Hyperspace Disaster that has devastated that saw countless innocents lose their lives as starship debris ravaged the Hetzel system at lightspeed. While the Jedi work to aid the Republic in relief efforts, it does not mean that the training of padawans in this era has come to a stop.

Star Wars: The High Republic #1 opens with Jedi padawan Keeve Trennis in the midst of her Jedi Trials with her Trandoshan master Sskeer. Tasked with retrieving an object from a seemingly unreachable point, it made evident that Trennis is a determined, calm, and competent young padawan. Wielding a double-bladed lightsaber that can be broken into two separate blades, Trennis can hold her own against the imposing foe that is Master Sskeer while also continuing her almost impossible task with one of the local insectoid inhabitant buzzing annoyingly in her ear.

While Trennis continues her trials, readers get a look at the Starlight Beacon: a large space station meant to be a symbol of hope and direction for the ever-dangerous and unexplored Outer Rim.  The station’s dedication is set to occur in only a few hours, and much of the Jedi Order is set to be in attendance. One of those currently on the station is Jedi Master Avar Kriss, one of the heroes of Light of the Jedi who is worried about why Sskeer is not present. Further, the reader is introduced to other prominent Jedi of the time, Kessurian Jedi Estala Maru, who invocates shades of Martian Manhunter and Jedi Grandmaster Veter, who shares the title with Master Yoda.

Even though the conversations are brief on the Starlight Beacon, Scott provides a mountain of information for this new time period. With the aid of a plethora of bolded words in the lettering and focus on small details within the art, it clear what information is important for the reader to know. Even if you have not read the Light of the Jedi novelization, it is quite easy to understand the Great Diaster and its ramifications and a sense that the Jedi of this time understand the Force and use technology in slightly different ways than we are used to. While the exposition is bountiful, the real action in Star Wars: The High Republic #1 picks up when padawan Trennis uncovers a threat to the Starlight Beacon.

Overall,  Star Wars: The High Republic #1 does exactly what one would come to expect in the first issue of a highly anticipated series. It provides a compelling cast of characters while providing excellent world-building without hammering the reader over the head with it. It is no secret that Scott is a masterful storyteller in the Star Wars universe, with his own novel for The High Republic coming later this year. However, it is the art that really shines for me. During this time period, the Jedi are far from the brown-robed, single-blade wielding wizards we know in the Skywalker Saga. Novelizations like Light of the Jedi, A Test of Courage, and Into the Dark make this evident, but Star Wars: The High Republic #1 brings light and life to this new era of Star Wars. 

Star Wars: The High Republic #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Star Wars: The High Republic #1
5

TL;DR

Overall,  Star Wars: The High Republic #1 does exactly what one would come to expect in the first issue of a highly anticipated series. It provides a compelling cast of characters while providing excellent world-building without hammering the reader over the head with it.