It is hard to believe that The High Republic has only been in our lives for twelve months. In that time, we have had two waves of novels and multiple monthly issues of comic adventures. While the novels have given readers so much to savor and analyze, some of the best storytelling can be found in the Marvel and IDW comic book runs that have kept us tapped into the era in between book releases. The year might be winding down, but Star Wars: The High Republic is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis has endured quite a bit over the past year twelve issues of the comic run, from nearly losing her Master to being tested to now, being the sole survivor of the Nihil’s deadly unknown terror. Through it all, she has persevered, though through it all we have the knowledge that something grievous will eventually befall her, if Dooku: Jedi Lost is any indicator.
Tensions are high and even the best and brightest, like Avar Kriss, have reached their wit’s end in the wake of the Republic Fair and the continuous losses they are dealt by the Nihil. With waning faith, Cavan Scott is setting the scene for what will undoubtedly be mass heartbreak in the next wave of The High Republic.
On Xais, Avar Kriss is unable to use the Force to thwart Lourna’s escape, delivering yet another crushing failure for the Jedi. When they return to the Starlight Beacon, Avar butts heads with Stellan Gios who reminds her that the Council has recommended caution, where she wants to assault Lourna Dee and the Nihil. Their conversation is rather illuminating—given what we know about Avar Kriss and her predilection for strong-arming situations, it comes as no surprise that they would mince words over whether the Nihil have attacked the Republic or the Jedi. Throughout the entire run of this comic series, we’ve seen a much broader picture of how the Jedi are an extension of the Republic, much in the same way that, historically, religious institutions were used as an extension of the ruling class.
One piece of good news—as I previously theorized—is that Ceret and Terec are not dead, despite the dire nature of the previous issue, but rather they are trapped in a hibernation trance. We also learn that Ceret and Terec are not the only “lost” Jedi, as Maru cautions Keeve to keep an eye on Avar, who he believes is not listening to the Force, but rather following her own emotions and feelings. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
For the better part of Marvel’s The High Republic, Sskeer has been facing the after-effects of the Drengir attack and now we see just how devastating that attack was on his psyche. After the loss on Xais, Avar Kriss relieved him of his Jedi duties, taking his lightsaber, and condemning him for his actions (which ironically was being a ruthless fighter, which she is now advocating for in the present). Keeve is understandably distraught about her Master losing his title, but back on the Starlight Beacon, he reveals that this decision was justified. Tragically, the Dengir attack triggered “Magrak Sssyndrome,” which causes Trandoshans to become aggressive. While there may be a cure for the affliction, he is adamant that his connection to the Force has been forever altered.
I cannot wait to see what Issue #13 delivers in January as we venture into the next clash between the Jedi and the Nihil. I have no doubt that Cavan Scott has been carefully seeding elements in the previous twelve issues that we’ll be able to reflect on next year. This story has been nothing short of heartbreaking at every turn and it really is a show of how skilled Scott is as a storyteller because he has been able to make readers care so deeply about characters who we have only seen twelve times throughout the year across roughly 240 comic book pages, illustrated by Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, and Carlos Lopez.
Star Wars: The High Republic (#12) is on sale now.