If you have been thirsting for a comic that is the intersection of horror and Star Wars, the current plotline in Star Wars: The High Republic is exactly that. Sure, we’ve seen allusions to horror in the past, but there is something downright terrifying about Terec’s worsening condition. Paired with stories about missing children among cornfield-like fauna (Vratixian Barley), the ominous feelings are all there.
Review: Star Wars: The High Republic #3
For anyone who has read my past reviews about the new-released High Republic novels (or anyone who follows me on Twitter) then you will know my somewhat controversial opinions about the colonialism undertones being employed in the characterization of the Jedi, the Republic, and the Nihil in The High Republic era. These subtle allusions, whether intentional or unintended, come back into play yet again in “Down Below” and I’m going to talk about them again at the end of this review.
While Avar Kriss and Sskeer discuss Terec’s declining condition, Keeve sets out to investigate rumors of local children going missing. She is accompanied by Bartol, a local child, who is looking for his missing friend. I loved the way Keeve reflected on her journey and her experience as a Jedi. It’s refreshing to see characters who have internalized conflict.
The pair discover a sinkhole and something even more sinister during their investigation. Keeve and Bartol stumble into the clutches of the terrifying Drengir that have Killed Bartol’s friend Julus and nearly killed Ceret, who is slowly succumbing to the sentient and carnivorous plant.
While Avar Kriss believes that Terec succumbed to the lure of the Dark Side, Sskeer learns the hard way that Terec has actually been taken over by the Drengir. Star Wars: The High Republic ends on an ominous panel revealing that Sskeer may have been taken over by the Drengir.
Now onto the colonizer allusions utilized in the comic. At the start of the issue, Keeve is greeted by Sedri Minor’s locals who have arrived to greet the Jedi with offerings of food (it’s mostly just a lot of bread) which, as a historian, evoked a lot of historical imagery. While some inhabitants seem excited about the Jedi’s arrival, others seem resistant to the idea of them getting involved with their local issues.
Back aboard the ship, Avar Kriss is greeted with some hostility from Speaker Sulman. The exchange was quite illuminating about how the two groups view themselves. The Jedi see themselves as protectors and residents see them as unwanted visitors that can’t even keep track of their own. This tells me that when the Jedi arrive on a new planet, they haven’t been invited by the locals, but have invited themselves to “do good works.” I think it’s a fascinating angle to approach these stories and I’m excited to see where these threads go as we see more of The High Republic.
Star Wars: The High Republic “Down Below” is available today everywhere you read your comic books.