Review – The Mysteries Thicken in Marvel’s Star Wars: The High Republic #2
The first issue of Cavan Scott’s Star Wars: The High Republic carried the heavy burden of introducing this era to comic readers, feeling fresh but familiar, and not alienating readers who hadn’t read the Light of the Jedi novel (the comic contains characters from the novel and references parts of it). It achieved these goals and we got our first detailed visual look at the high republic.
This issue carries a different burden: maintaining reader interest. First issues naturally have a lot of exposition but the second issue is where we truly start to see what kind of series this will be. Luckily, this one is shaping up to be very interesting.
Picking up shortly after the first issue we see a newly knighted Keeve Trennis on her first mission, along with her former master, Sskeer, and the Identical Kotabi bond-twins, Terec and Ceret. Starlight signal has picked up a distress signal…but it’s too late.
The four go in to investigate, quickly realising the Nihil are responsible for the massacre, a threat only Sskeer has faced in a battle that recently lost him an arm. The team split into two groups, searching the ship. Sskeer is facing some sort of PTSD from his recent battle and having vivid flashbacks. Writer Cavan Scott creates an atmosphere of tension and fear as the we get further and further into the ship. This sense of dread is added to by the amazing art of Ario Anindito and coloring of Annalisa Leoni, the search tinged by a toxic green gas while the flashbacks a traumatic red. One parties search culminates in a stark image.
A murdered Hutt surrounded by his dead henchmen (it’s interesting to see that even 200 years ago the Hutt’s used Gamorreans as guards). As Trennis and Ceret try to unravel the carnage surrounding them, Terec and Sskeer face their own problems. A hidden shooter injuries Terec, forcing Sskeer to unleash his Trandoshan side and hunt the assailant. Luckily his species have an affinty for hunting though because, for some unknown reason, he can’t sense this attacker with the Force. The lone Nihil attacks but is no match for this Jedi, even with a single arm.
Slicing an opponent in half is aggressive enough for a member of the Jedi order, but the Trandoshan is obviously severely troubled by something as he proceeds to strike the Nihil’s corpse again and again with his lightsaber, decimating it in a fit of rage.
Starlight Beacon is contacted, Marshall Kriss and Master Maru analyse the data taken on the ship and figure out the next step. The ship was trafficking a form of Barley used in the creation of Bacta, which is a healing salve fast replacing the currently used Rejuv. Using that knowledge and the ship’s system of origin, Sedri Minor is the planet that could unravel the mystery of why a Hutt was smuggling Barley through a Republic system, and maybe even why the Nihil attacked it.
Ceret and Sskeer are dispatched to Sedri Minor and while the reception is anything but warm, Ceret has other things on his mind.
He is drawn away by a Rodian gesturing to him in the Barley fields. In a page that looks like it was taken straight out of a horror movie, Ceret moves further and further into the field, separated from Sskeer.
Ceret’s final panel is a juxtaposition of his Jedi optimism and the certain danger behind him.
Meanwhile, back aboard the derelict ship, Marshall Kriss and Trennis discuss Sskeer’s rage and his butchering of the Nihil, but the disucssion doesn’t last long as Terec cries out in searing pain. We learn the pain has come from his bond-twin and something terrible has become of Ceret. Kriss contacts Sskeer immediately who, on noticing his companions absence, bounds through the fields slicing a path. He’s too late, and is met by Ceret’s lightsaber lying on the ground.
This was a great continuation from the first issue as it expanded on the characters, introduced new ones, and created a lot of intriguing mystery. What has changed in Sskeer? Is Ceret alive? What happened to him? The pace of the story was just right as well, with a great balance of character and plot beats. Along with the writing the art in this series has been phenomenal so far and each panel is just as vibrant as the last, hopefully this continues for the whole run.
There is a feeling of new life in this comic series, between the ongoing mysteries and art it has the spark of something published by Image Comics while also feeling like the Star Wars we know and love. I’m loving it and can’t wait to see what is in store for us next month!
Alex Newman is huge Star Wars fan and loves to keep up to date with the canon. He’s also loved movies for as long as he can remember. He’s a massive Disney and superhero fan but will watch anything. He’s worked at a cinema, a comic book store and at Disney World but is currently working in radio in London!