Eagle eyed readers of our comic reviews will have noticed that we’ve covered Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures before, and that the series came to an end last year. You’re not imagining things, and this is indeed the second time that this series has been made. And whilst the names are the same, the contents inside are quite different.
The latest era of the Star Wars universe, The High Republic, proved to be a hugely popular series of stories set around 200 years before the event of the prequel trilogy. Spread over books, comics, and audio dramas (and with a live action series set in that era being made right now!) it was an exciting time for fans. But those stories came to a close, and the decision was made that the second phase of The High Republic would go even further back in time. And that’s where this new comic takes us.
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In the first issue we were introduced to Jedi Padawan Sav Malagán, a Kyuzo Jedi who appeared as an older woman in the original run of the series in issue eight, who is a much younger woman now (barely more than a young teen). Training on the planet Takodana, she’s become obsessed with the stories about the pirate queen and outlaw Maz Kanata, who owns the castle across the lake from the Jedi outpost. Sneaking over there one night, she ends up getting involved in one of Maz’s adventures, and finds herself going off planet with Maz’s crew to help.
The second issue picks up with Maz and her people heading into orbit to chase after the Dank Graks (evil space gang). However, it seems like Maz and her people got into space first, so they leave their ship and board the bad guys’ ship before they can get back. Unfortunately, the Graks realise this, and end up boarding Maz’s ship to take that over. Thus we end up with each group on the other’s ships, having a space battle.
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Where the first issue gave readers a lot of different things to sink their teeth into, this second issue feels a little light on the ground in comparison. The overview of the plot above is pretty much most of what happens here, and there’s not really much for either group to do other than board a ship and start fighting. There are a couple of small moments where we get some more insight into the characters that make up Maz’s crew, such as Coromont having a small corrections officer living inside his back that pops out to tell him off whenever he breaks the law.
These are the more interesting parts of the book, as Maz’s crew are definitely one of the weirder and more eclectic teams we’ve seen in Star Wars. I understand that the comic needs to have some action beats here and there in order to keep things exciting, but I can’t help but feel that time might be better spent exploring these characters a bit more first, giving us more details about them.
In comparison, it felt like I had a much better handle on the characters in the phase one version of the series than I do here, with the young Jedi in that series being characters that were a lot easier to get to know and connect with than this bunch of space pirates. One thing that Older does do here, that was a big part of the first phase comic, is to introduce another queer Star Wars romance. Whilst this seems to be one that has come to an end, it does seem like it’s one that will have some bearing on the story. Plus, it’s great to have more queer Star Wars content.
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The art on the book, by Toni Bruno and Michael Atiyeh, is bold, bright, and easy to keep track of. The book is mainly designed with younger readers in mind (even though it’s a book for all ages) and the art reflects this. Its pretty simple to understand, and the characters all have distinct looks and designs that are easy to recognise and pick out of a crowd. That being said, this issue is mainly people either sitting around, or walking through hallways, so it does feel like this issue fails to really show off the full extent of what the art team can do. I’m looking forward to seeing what they might be able to deliver in future issues.
Overall, this is an okay start to the series, though it does feel a bit more directionless than the Phase One content, which seemed to have a very clear mission statement. I don’t know what these characters are going to be getting up to, or much about them, but hope that this is something that future issues helps to lock down.
Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #2 is out now from Dark Horse.