Review – A Binary Dilemma in IDW’s The High Republic Adventures #4
The Nihil and the Jedi continue their interstellar game of cat and mouse. Time will tell who is cat and who is mouse. With the Nihil determined to exploit a connection one of their newest members has to a potential Padawan they are setting up the pieces to an elaborate trap. The Nihil are counting on young Krix to steer the Jedi through Zeen but Marchion Ro and the Jedi may have underestimated the power of friendship. SPOILERS AHEAD….
In case you haven’t noticed, the art by Harvey Tolibao and Rebecca Nalty has been sublime. This issue opens in a Republic outpost on Ord Mantell. Writer DJ Older continues to reinforce the new bond between Zeen and Lula. Lula is still trying to disarm Zeen about her preconceived notions of the Force. Zeen is having trouble focusing because her thoughts keep turning to her old friend Krix.
I like how Older continues to highlight the regret and guilt Zeen still feels about leaving Krix behind. So often in Star Wars people change sides and don’t even contemplate what happens to those they left behind. Zeen didn’t just hop on a Jedi ship, pick up a lightsaber, and start feeling good about the galaxy. She hopes she’s on the right path but still questions it, especially after years of inundation the Jedi and the Force are bad things. The bond with Krix was foundational for her and she’s very worried about him.
Before Lula can help Zeen sort out her conflicted feelings, chaos ensues. The Jedi are called to a potential Nihil outpost. Hoping to stop the marauders, the Jedi hastily hop into their vectors, leaving the Padawans behind. The missed opportunity to engage the Nihil irks some of the Padawans but there is little time. The Nihil move quick, so the Jedi must match their erratic maneuvers.
Meanwhile, on the junk moon Quantxi, Krix is having questions of his own. Marchion Ro is keeping a close eye on Krix, knowing the his connection to Zeen is crucial to pulling off his plan. We learn Marchion Ro is luring the Jedi to this junk planet as some sort of diversion but to what end remains to be seen. One of the locals, a species called Junk Mavenzz, turns against him. Fearing they will inform the Jedi, Ro sends Krix after them. Krix fires at the Junk Mavenzz, who vanish right before his eyes.
The Jedi come out of hyperspace, with the Nihil waiting. You can almost hear those sub-light engines vrooming in. This issue often jumps off the page. All the Jedi call in and prepare to engage.
Krix catches up with the Junk Mavenzz but has other ideas. Using this time away from Marchion Ro, Krix records a message for Zeen, begging her to meet him on the junk planet. Krix isn’t interested in the conflict between the Nihil and the Jedi – he just wants his friend back. He never gets to send the message because his target escapes once again, leading Krix deeper into the junk moon. Just as he catches up with the Junk Mavenzz, the local has reached a communications relay and broadcast the Nihil’s location to the galaxy.
The Padawans discover Zeen has already set out to help her friend Krix, without even seeing his message. Discouraged they might lose her and by being left behind, they all crowd into a vector of their own, determined to join the Jedi. There are some beautiful passages about the Force, reflecting both the stability and chaos it can sow for those in the galaxy. Experiencing the Jedi through the lens of Zeen and Lula is a great choice by Older, providing a dichotomy of the certain and uncertainty Padawans experience in their training. As the Padawans set out to join the fight, the Jedi pick up the signal from the junk moon and change course toward it.
Someone else is already there.
Another solid issue from DJ Older. I’m loving The High Republic Adventures! The scope of the High Republic has been massive so far. I’m grateful we get to zoom in on a smaller, contained story about a couple of friends who each make their own choices for what they believe to be right. They’ve both been sheltered and are now out in the galaxy far, far away – a place we know to be filled with equal parts wonder and terror. The choices they’ve made are not greater than the bond they value and now they each choose to turn there. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next issue to see this imminent reunion. Not to mention what looks like a great Star Wars battle between the Jedi and the Nihil.