The third issue of Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures makes it pretty clear from early on that it’s going to be spending its time showing the contrast between the Jedi and the Nihil, putting Zeen Mrala and Krix Kamerat front and centre.
We’re told that it’s been a week since the events of the last issue, and during that time the two young friends have found themselves on very different paths. Zeen has been taken to the Starlight Beacon along with the young Jedi who came to protect her home. The Starlight Beacon is making its first appearance in Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, but has been previously shown as a literal beacon of hope in the Outer Rim; a place where Jedi are able to come and spread their light into the darker parts of the galaxy.
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Zeen finds herself making a lot of new friends on Starlight, whilst Krix is very much isolated on board the Nihil ship Gave Electric. Zeen is made to feel like one of the Padawans, is accepted as part of their group, whilst Krix is pushed around and abused by the Nihil. Despite being treated badly by them we get to see how the Nihil are able to get inside Krix’s head, to turn him even more against his friend, whilst the Jedi try to encourage Zeen not to give up on Krix.
There’s definitely a dark mirror thing going on here, as we see the two kids being put on very similar paths, though one is filled with hope whilst the other with hate. We see that the two of them are going to be heading towards some kind of conflict eventually, something that was set up in the first issue but is even more obvious here. I honestly don’t know if Krix is going to be a character that can be saved or redeemed (and after something he does in this issue he will need a bit of redeeming) but I do know that Zeen is the kind of character that isn’t going to give up on him, and that she seems to be a good fit for the Jedi, even if they think she’s too old to begin the training (where have I heard that before?).
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Despite being aimed at younger readers Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures is doing a good job at expanding the High Republic era, and I think a large part of that is due to them focusing on a younger viewpoint. Writer Daniel Jose Older isn’t putting older Jedi like Avar Kriss or Yoda at the centre of things, where it might feel like a story is being ‘dumbed down’ or tailored towards children in a way that alters the story. Instead it’s a story being told by children, by people who are the same age as the target audience. As such the book does feel like it’s for a younger reader, but not at the expense of any kind of quality, and it certainly doesn’t feel like anyone’s out of character like in some of the other ‘kid’ versions of Star Wars stories.
The story of Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures continues to build in interesting ways, and puts its characters at the forefront. It’s managed to give readers a good insight into the inner workings of the Nihil, and I’ve already become enamoured with Zeen, and I’m hoping she might end up becoming a favourite character or mine as she keeps growing.
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #3 is out now from IDW Publishing.