After a brief couple of issues following two of the young Padawans, Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures begins a new story arc; one that feels a lot closer to how the series began, exploring the conflict between the Jedi and the Nihil through childhood best friends Zeen Mrala and Krix Kamerat.
A brief warning needs to be given before people delve into this issue, however, as this new arc of the story takes place after two other entries in The High Republic cross-media saga. This new story follow on from both The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott, and Race To Crashpoint Tower by Daniel Jose Older, two novels in the series. If you’re up to date on these book then there’s nothing to worry about, but if like myself you’ve struggled to find the time to read all of the novels whilst keeping up with the comics you will get some spoilers, one of which is a reveal of a character death.
The comic picks up several months after the last time the Padawans have been together, and it really does look like time has passed for them. One of the things about this particular title that has been frustrating is knowing the age of the younger characters. In the first story arc Zeen, Krix, and all the others looked to be barely into their teens, possibly still around ten or eleven years old. They were fresh faced kids, whilst here they’ve definitely matured, especially Krix, who seems like a weathered young man in his late teens. I know that a lot of this is down to which artist is working on the book, but thanks to a few lines of dialogue dropped in this issue it really does feel like a long time has passed.
Unfortunately, this passage of time seems to have firmly entrenched Krix in with the Nihil, and he’s seen here leading raiding parties to try and kill Jedi. I’ve very much enjoyed how Older has been using these two childhood friends to show what each side of the conflict is like, but it’s getting to the point where I honestly don’t know if the two of them could ever resolve it. It very much seems like Krix has gone too far down a dark path; but then again, redemption has always been a big theme in Star Wars.
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Outside of the existing characters this issue brings some new faces into the series. Ram Jomaram, who first appeared in Older’s novel Race To Crashpoint Tower, has joined proceedings, making his first appearance in comic form. It also seems like Ishnar Ti-Kharatal, who appeared in the previous arc as a member of the Hutt security forces on Nal Hutta, has joined our regular cast of teen characters, having travelled to Starlight Beacon with her new friends. These two are both very different characters to the rest of the cast, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring to the table, especially Ishnar, who has no connection to the force at all.
Possibly the coolest addition to this issue, however, is Jedi Sav Malagan. This is a character that was revealed in a review a while ago, and one that Older has revealed to be ‘the most bad-assed’ Jedi he’s ever written. And her introduction in this issue definitely seems to show that. A Kyuzo, the same species as fan favourite bounty hunter Embo, she wears a similar shield helmet, and wields a staff that can split in two to become twin purple bladed light sabres. Older gives her a hell of a first showing in this issue, and with promise of more to come from her next month I’m genuinely excited to see more of her.
The art on this issue is also really good, with Toni Bruno and Rebecca Nalty providing both the art and colours respectively. I think that whilst this might not be the favourite of the art styles that’s been used on the series so far it might be one of the better ones. Bruno draws the younger characters in a way they’ve never really looked before, and it’s thanks to this change that I’ve finally been able to see the kids as anything but ten year olds. The characters finally feel like teens, and the way he’s drawn Krix really sells the journey he’s been going on. Bruno also draws the action incredibly well, and the scene where Sav gets to cut loose is one of the best in the series so far.
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures continues to be a strong book. It’s well written, the art is great, and it’s one of the most enjoyable and accessible part of The High Republic that’s around. I’m honestly loving this series.
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #8 is out now from IDW Publishing.