For those not in the know The High Republic is a brand new chapter of the Star Wars franchise that began last month with the release of the novel Star Wars: Light of Jedi, and the Marvel comic Star Wars: The High Republic.
Set some two hundred years before the events of The Phantom Menace, this new series of novels, comics, and children’s books will be showing the Jedi when they were truly at the height of their power, long before the shadow of the Sith began to emerge and led to their downfall. It also shows the Republic in a new age of expansion, moving into remote and dangerous parts of the galaxy and coming into conflict with the vicious Nihil.
This is where we find ourselves with the first issue of Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, written by Daniel Jose Older, with art from Harvey Tolibao, and Rebecca Nalty; thrust into this bold new era as a group of young Padawans have to respond to an emergency distress call from the planet Trymant.
Luckily, there are a couple of Jedi Masters there to help them out, including a face fans will be familiar with, Yoda. Having Yoda included in this story is a great move by the writing team, as it not only means that we get to experience a much younger version of the character than we’ve ever seen before, but there’s something that long time fans of the franchise will recognise there to help anchor them in this new setting.
Though Yoda is around he’s not the main focus of the book. Instead this is split between the Jedi Padawan Lula Talisola, who’s trying to become ‘the best Jedi ever’, and Zeen Mrala, an inhabitant of Trymant who’s strong with The Force, but has to hide her abilities due to the way her society views such a connection. These two leads prove to be a great contrast to each other, and the way the narrative shifts between the two of them really highlights this. Where Lula is striving to be the best Jedi she can she struggles with her confidence, whilst Zeen wants to keep her Force powers hidden, but when it comes time to use them does so with a strength of self you wouldn’t expect. This difference in the leads is even more apparent when they both come together, and seems to be setting up some potentially interesting dynamics if they will remain together as the series goes on.
This is the first comic book outing for writer Daniel Jose Older, who has previously written for the franchise with Star Wars: The Last Shot, a tie-in book to Solo: A Star Wars Story, but you’d not know that, as he seems to settle into this new setting and new format well, delivering an intriguing comic. One of the best parts about the way that Older has written it is that it’s very easy to understand and get into, no matter how much (if any) of The High Republic you’ve read before.
The art team also do a superb job, Tolibao’s art style uses a lot of line-work that adds a lot of texture and motion to the panes, which brings a lot of the action to life in ways that aren’t immediately apparent, but definitely adds to the fast pace of the story. It’s not just the line-work that excels, but the colours too thanks to Natly, who brings brings it all to life. Whether it’s the cold dark blues used in deep space, the vibrant greens on the planet, every environment feels different and unique, and I love the way that the pinks of Zeen’s face turn into beautiful purples along her head tentacles.
The High Republic has proven to be an excellent and exciting new time for Star Wars fans in its other forms, and Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures continues that trend, delivering an exciting and action packed first issue.
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #1 is out now from IDW Publishing.