REVIEW: ‘Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures,’ Annual 2021

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Star Wars The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021 - But Why Tho

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021 is published by IDW Publishing, with a combined five stories making up the annual. “Set For Life” is written by Charles Soule, art by Sam Beck, and letters by Johanna Nattalie. “No Stone Unturned” is written by Claudia Gray, art by Jason Loo, colors by Megan Huang, and letters by Neil Uyetake. “First Mission” is written by Justina Ireland, art by Yael Nathan, and letters by Neil Uyetake. “Crash and the Crew Do What They Do” is written by Daniel Jose Older, art by Jesse Lonergan, and letters by Jake M. Wood. “The Haul” is written by Cavan Scott, art by Stefano Simeone, and letters by Nathan Widick.

The ultimate goal of Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021 is to introduce new readers of the High Republic to some of the characters, stories, and tones crafted by the respective creative teams.

“Set For Life” tells the story of a Jedi Master and their padawan as they save a minor in distress who risked their life for the payday of all paydays. Soule cleverly pairs the danger and the action of the story with a very poignant message about the use of power. It fully embodies all of the influence of Jedi teachings a short story can muster. The art from Beck was light, but enjoyable and reaches that all-ages audience. The lettering was decent, with nothing exceptional to write home about, but placed well, and at a good size and font style.

“No Stone Unturned” from Gray, Loo, Huang, Uyetake tells the story of a few smugglers who go after an artifact on a planet rumored to be deserted. But when they meet the locals the grifters are in for a rude awakening. This story had a foundation, but all in all, it felt incomplete. Annuals are difficult and I personally feel one of the stories always suffers from not enough page space, and this was that story.

“First Mission” from Ireland, Nathan, and Uyetake introduces you to a padawan as she is first assigned to her master and must accompany them to a dignitaries ball between warring factions that have just brokered a peace treaty. But a secret force plans to scupper the dinner in lustful move to seize power. Ireland crafted a fun story with intrigue, action, and a fantastic callback to a future era of the franchise. The art feels like it let the story down as it comes across as a little light or flat.

“Crash and the Crew Do What They Do” by Older, Lonergan, and Wood was a fantastically conceived idea that creates a hole in the ending designed to pull you in. I appreciate the understanding from Older that these short stories should create a pull into their respective comics world. The art took some getting used to, as it wasn’t what I was necessarily expecting for a Star Wars comic, but it grew on me as the story developed. I’d definitely like to see more from this story continue forward.

By far my favorite of the collection of stories from the Annual was, “The Haul” by Scott, Simeone, and Widick. Each panel encapsulated the tone of the story and the darkness therein. The characters were devious but engaging, and the art was messy and exciting. Heck, even the lettering was dynamic and attention-grabbing. A brilliant story to end on, and for this reader, it absolutely entices me to want to follow more of this creative team’s comics.

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021 took a gamble by combining this many stories together over 44 pages, and sadly, there were some submissions here that felt a lot more lackluster when compared to others. But that’s inherently the trouble in aggregating short stories like this into one book without giving creative teams the space to create. There were definitely some stories I enjoyed here, but overall, it isn’t something I’d necessarily passionately recommend either.

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021 is available now where ever comics are sold.


Star Wars The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021
3.5

TL;DR

Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures Annual 2021 took a gamble by combining this many stories together over 44 pages, and sadly, there were some submissions here that felt a lot more lackluster when compared to others. But that’s inherently the trouble in aggregating short stories like this into one book without giving creative teams the space to create. There were definitely some stories I enjoyed here, but overall, it isn’t something I’d necessarily passionately recommend either.