Ever since Disney bought Star Wars, the publishing side of the franchise has largely served just to fill in the blanks. While cinema got the sequel trilogy, and the streaming wars faced The Mandalorian, comics and books were doing their best to fill in the cracks. This week though, Disney and Lucasfilm launched their most ambitious multimedia initiative with the Star Wars franchise to date. Welcome to the High Republic.
This week saw the releases of the novel The Light of the Jedi and Marvel’s Star Wars: The High Republic #1. While we’re still working through the novel, the opening issue of Marvel’s series had a lot to offer. This issue was created by Cavan Scott, Ario Anindito, Mark Morales, Annalisa Leoni, and Ariana Maher.
In the wake of the Great Disaster, the Jedi are on high alert as the Starlight Beacon is about to come online in full service of the Republic. However, Keeve Trennis has other things on her mind, namely passing her Jedi trials. However, destiny and the Force may have other plans and other dangers in store for the soon-to-be Jedi Knight…
This story was a very fun introduction to the High Republic. Though I was only about a third of the way through The Light of the Jedi when I picked the issue up, Scott’s script was able to introduce the world quickly, as well as establishing the wild threats of the Outer Rim. It also uses the Jedi in a very different way, as they’re at the height of their power, but they are definitely a benevolent force, unlike the more bureaucratic and authoritarian Jedi of the prequel era.
One of the issue’s biggest strengths is in its main characters. Keeve and her master, the imposing Trandoshan Sskeer, are instantly engaging both in how Scott writes them and in Anindito’s design. They feel a bit more like high fantasy paladins than the Jedi we know from the existing Star Wars media. Keeve is quickly relatable and extremely likable, setting up the reader to be engaged throughout the entire story.
Anindito and Morales’ art is extremely energetic. The characters are always in motion, and they use the action to guide the readers across the page. They also use the natural lines of the art, such as swinging lightsabers and powerful Force pushes, to draw the eye in to important points, making the action scenes explode on the page. Meanwhile, the quieter scenes show the bustle of activity happening around the characters as we learn about them through their body language.
This issue quickly gives us a snapshot of this new setting. It creates characters that we want to follow, and best of all we have plenty to return for.
Star Wars: The High Republic #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.
A new era of the Star Wars saga launches with this engaging first issue.