The horrors of the Drengir continue in the fourth issue of Star Wars: The High Republic. Ensnared by the carnivorous plant, Jedi Master Avar Kriss and Jedi Knights Ceret and Keeve struggle to survive as they discover that their friend and Master, Sskeer, has succumbed to the hive mind of the botanical beast.
Star Wars: The High Republic #4
The comic starts out with a flashback to six years ago on Kirima, in the Mid-Rim, as Sskeer trains his apprentice Keeve. This training exercise — which involves jumping across an insurmountable chasm — brought back a flashback for me as well. While the intentions of Sskeer are clearly to train his apprentice to tap into and trust the Force (and to provide Keeve the time to reflect on her Master’s training in a time of need) I was reminded of a panel from Star Wars: Age Of Resistance – Supreme Leader Snoke. In that panel, Snoke throws Kylo Ren off a cliff, only to catch him and taunt him. In Age of Resistance Kylo Ren remarks: “Would you have caught me if I hadn't caught myself, Supreme Leader Snoke?”
This, perhaps unintentional parallel, stands in stark contrast with Keeve’s own contemplation: “My Master. Always there to catch me when I fell. To put me back on track.” The parallel cuts even deeper when Sskeer reassures her: “There are no ssshortcuts on light’s path. We ssstrive. We repeat. We sssucceed.” For those who have read Age of Resistance, you might recall that Snoke’s own response to Ben Solo was: “I need more from you. I need you to find your true power. Your true potential. If you are to rule by my side, Ren, then I can't have you defeated by heights.”
I want to believe that this comparison is intentional, seeing as the Drengir and the Amaxine station are seen in scenes between Snoke and a young Ben Solo in The Rise of Kylo Ren comic series — centuries in the future, of course.
Star Wars: The High Republic goes full-tilt into the horror genre with some gorgeous and terrifying panels that reveal the early origins of the Drengir, complete with skulls and rhinophobia inducing images. It also ties in Claudie Gray’s Into the Dark and subtly clues readers into where we are in The High Republic timeline.
Back on the Starlight Beacon, the Hutt autopsy goes awry as they discover that the cadaver is infested with Drengir! Terrible luck for Imri and Vernestra (first seen in Justine Ireland’s A Test of Courage) as they are caught in the crosshairs of a new adversary.
Fortunately for the Jedi dangling in the clutches of the Drengir on Sedri Minor — Jedi Master Sskeer had been playing the long game with Drengir and allowing himself to fall prey to its thrall long enough to learn what he needed to know about defeating it and rescuing the other Jedi. This section of the comic has me curious to see where The High Republic goes with exploring the Jedi killing. We’ve seen hints of this in past issues of this comic run (when Sskeer kills the Nihil) and in Into the Dark when the purpose of the lightsaber is brought up.
If you’ve been reading my past reviews, you may be sighing a breath of relief that I haven’t mentioned colonization once, but… this review isn’t over yet!
Issue #4 closes out with Jedi Masters Sskeer and Kriss breaking down the door of Speaker Sulman’s residence (where he is roughing up two Rodians who have given information to the Jedi). It’s very clear that Sulman is up to no good on Sedri Minor — but does that warrant Sskeer using the Force to violently pin him to the ceiling?
Sulman maintains that he knows nothing about the Drengir, though the Drengir is not the only adversary the people of Sedri Minor are up against as the comic closes on the arrival of and takeover by the “glorious Hutt Cartel.”
As always, Cavan Scott has created another thought-provoking issue of Star Wars: The High Republic. While I love good, aimless fun, I also enjoy picking up a comic that leaves me ready to have a deep-dive conversation with my friends, as we pick apart the overarching themes and issues addressed throughout The High Republic.