This week, Lucasfilm launched headfirst into a brand new era of Star Wars, The High Republic. The books, comics and TV shows taking place in The High Republic take place anywhere between 50 to 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, lending writers a lot of creative freedom when it comes to the stories they want to tell. Marvel’s Star Wars: The High Republic comic is a great introductory issue for readers unfamiliar with the world many writers at Lucasfilm have been playing around with for the past year.
Star Wars: The High Republic follows Jedi Padawan Keeve Trennis as she is put through the Jedi Knight trials by her master, Sskeer. During her last trial, Trennis discovers a herd of giant red bugs heading toward a nearby city. With help from the Jedi’s new Starlight Beacon, a space station meant to help lost space travelers and aid the Jedi in reaching planets in the outer rim, Trennis and other Jedi are sent across the galaxy to aid those in need.
It is somewhat refreshing to see the Jedi act more nomadic and like actual peace keepers. Since this comic takes place far before the fall of the Jedi (as seen in the prequel films), the Jedi wear lighter robes, often white and gold to differentiate them from the Jedi that have appeared in the films and TV shows up until now. The character designs add to the uniqueness of the era, showing certain alien species that have often appeared as antagonists in the Star Wars universe as Jedi. The most obvious example of this is Sskeer being a Trandoshan, a far cry from other Trandoshan characters like Bossk. Sskeer is wise yet easily agitated by his young apprentice.
To contrast, Trennis, the protagonist of this series, is youthful and reckless (similar to how Ahsoka is in The Clone Wars). She plays off her master and the other older Jedi that appear in this issue. I am interested to see how she grows over the course of this mini-series.
This whole issue reminds me of Dark Horse’s Old Republic comics, creating a new sense of adventure that is detached from the rest of Star Wars canon. The atmosphere created by artist Ario Anindito, inker Mark Morales and colorist Annalisa Leoni, gives the whole comic a unique feel that greatly differentiates it from Marvel’s other Star Wars comics. The art, especially during Trennis and Sskeer’s sparring match is exceptional. I also can’t deny that Trennis’ double-bladed lightsaber is pretty cool.
I’m excited to see where writer Cavan Scott takes the story in the issues that follow. It seems like a very simple story that just happens to revolve around the Jedi during The High Republic. All of the new characters are interesting and I’m excited to see their stories explored further, whether in this comic or in other media.