The second installment of Daniel José Older’s Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows picks up a short time after the devastating attack on Valo, with Jedi Master Emerick still assiduously trying to make sense of everything that has occurred. Elsewhere in the galaxy, Sian Holt is recovering from her near-death experience on Coruscant and the death of her partner Keefar.
Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows (#2)
Understandably, neither Emerick nor Sian want to work together, but they are willing to follow Chancellor Soh’s orders to an extent. They have some really spectacular banter with one another while venturing through the Vorzyd Sector, which culminates in Sian getting Emerick out of his Jedi robes and into something that will provide him with a little camouflage.
Once they arrive on Vorzyd, Sian asks Emerick a very important question. One that has been discussed to some extent throughout the last two waves of The High Republic and among readers who are getting a new approach to the Jedi. We have seen some of the Padawans and Knights questioning the purpose of combat and grappling with how weapons—like lightsabers—fit into the mission of the Jedi. Sian goes at it more directly, picking at the Jedi for their brutal counterattack against Nihil at the Republic Fair. Emerick has a very simple answer, which definitely feels like the party line for the Jedi… They are simply enacting preemptive measures.
When Emerick and Sian arrive at the rendezvous location, they discover that their other contact has been killed. Nothing like an active crime scene to set the mood for a pulpy noir comic. They track down the Nihil that were partially responsible for the agent's death and manage to stick a tracking device on their mode of transportation, which will undoubtedly be revisited in the next issue.
In the final moments of the comic we get a tease about who the mysterious Nihil is that is claiming to be a member of the upper ranks of the Nihil—a familiar face for anyone who has read the other High Republic comics.
David Wachter and Giada Marchisio have both created such beautiful, colorful artwork for this comic. It really lends itself to the aesthetic being created by Older’s storytelling, pulling from all of the classic noir tropes that Star Wars has been sorely without for too long. This issue really sets the stage for more, thrilling adventures for Emerick and Sian and I’m keen to see how this sets the scene for the next wave of The High Republic.