Whilst I’ve been enjoying Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, it has at times felt like it’s been removed from the rest of the High Republic series, happily doing its own thing without really touching upon the other parts of this universe too much. This seems to have changed with the latest issue, and it’s by far the best of the series to date.
The story moves away from the clash with the Nihil, instead seeing two of the supporting padawans from the first story arc, Farzala and Qort, being sent into Hutt space as their mentor is dispatched to broker a lasting peace between the Jedi and the Hutts. This opportunity has only presented itself thanks to the forces of Jedi Marshall Avar Kriss and the Hutt army led by Myarga the Hutt fighting side by side to combat the sentient dark side plant creatures, the Drengir (currently taking place in the Star Wars: The High Republic comics from Marvel).
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In order to get to Hutt space the three Jedi are travelling on board Vessel, a star ship with an interesting crew who might be familiar to those who’ve read the The High Republic: Into The Dark novel. Upon arriving at Nal Hutta, however, Master Obratuk falls into a hibernation cycle, leaving it up to his young students to step in and try to negotiate peace. Things take an even more dangerous turn when a gang take over Vessel, using it to try to disrupt the peace. Now Farzalla and Leox Gyasi are trapped on the surface, running from Hutt forces, whilst Qort, Affie Hollow, and Geode, are left on the ship trying to take back control.
For possibly the first time since the series began, Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures feels like part of a bigger whole. Yes, it was always clear that it was a part of this new era that Disney are creating, but it always felt like it was taking place in its own little bubble. However, here we have a plot being motivated by events in the other comic series, and featuring characters from one of the novels too. Suddenly this series feels like it’s an important piece of the larger tapestry, and I’m seriously enjoying that.
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The story of the fight against the Drengir is a very interesting one, and has led to some amazing character moments and story beats in the other comic series (Jedi riding Rancors into battle will always be one of the coolest things ever), and we get a taste of that here. There is a brief appearance of the Drengir in this book, and whilst it’s not around for long it makes a big enough impact to impress upon readers how dangerous they are; which could be very useful if people are only picking up this title.
Some of the best parts of the issue come from character interaction, and I really liked the way that Daniel Jose Older brought the crew of Vessel to life, and integrated them with the young Jedi. It may sound strange, but the scene where the Padawan we can’t understand has a conversation with a living slab of rock that never talks, and ends up hugging him was strangely one of the best moments in the book. Older was able to somehow convey a lot through these two sharing a scene together, and it brought a surprising smile to my face. It kept surprising me how much Geode became a character to watch throughout the issue, and how this sentient slab suddenly appearing or dissapearing around the ship, frightening adversaries was an absolute delight.
It wasn’t just the writing that felt great this issue, as the art seemed to take a big leap in quality too. Whilst I very much liked the style used on the first story arc, and the somewhat messy and chaotic style suited the story being told there, the cleaner art style here works really well. The art team of Harvey Tolibao, Pow Rodrix, and Rebecca Nalty really brought the characters and locations to life in enjoyable ways. I especially liked how they managed to make the young characters look even cuter in a tiny flashback panel too.
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures has been a lot of fun since it first began, but this is the point where it starts to feel like an essential entry in the new era, where anyone who tries to claim it’s just for younger readers and doesn’t really matter or doesn’t count is proven wrong. This is a title that’s not only a ton of fun to read, but is becoming a vital part of the High Republic.
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #6 is out now from IDW Publishing.