The High Republic 1
What is it ? : The comic begins with angled text, reminiscent of the scrolltext at the beginning of the movies, it's a 100 years before A New Hope, and the galaxy is at peace, protected by the noble and wise Jedi Knights. They've built the Starlight Beacon to serve as a ray of hope for all to see at the edge of the Outer Rim, but just as a magnificent renaissance spreads, so does a new adversary, and the Jedi face a threat to themselves, the galaxy and the Force itself....
We begin on the world of Shuraden, where a Jedi Padawan, Keeve Trennis, is receiving her test to become a full Jedi Knight from her master, a one armed Trandoshan called Sskeer. Her task is to retrieve a pendant he has put at the top of some spires, these spires are fragile and dangerous and many have died trying to climb them. As she climbs, she is distracted by a small flying pixie-like creature called Kanrii, which is a Ximpi, one of the inhabitants of Shuraden.
As she climbs, they become aware of a massive swarm of creatures heading towards the Ximpi city where they will kill thousands, so Keeve abandons her task, thinking saving lives more important than completing her task, as she can always try again at a later date.
Meanwhile on the Starlight Beacon, Jedi Knight Avar Kriss is met by members of the Jedi Council, including Yoda, and is put in command of the Beacon.
On Shuraden, Keeve takes the ship that she and Sskeer arrived aboard, and uses the force to sense the best path to deal with these ravening creatures. She senses a connection between them and the Starlight Beacon, and contacts the beacon informing them that these creatures are being attracted to inhabited worlds due to the signal the Beacon sends, asking them to change the frequency, which they do. She then sets the ships transponder to the original frequency and ejects, leaving the creatures to follow the ship off into space.
Sskeer meets with her, seemingly disapproving of her failure to complete her task, and summons another ship to collect them and take them to the Beacon, and once aboard Keeve apologises for failing her task, and the loss of the ship, but Avar Kriss grants her the title of Jedi Knight for her heroic actions, and she joins the rest of the Jedi in swearing themselves to the light.
Afterwards, Sskeer returns to his quarters, and cries out "Nooooo".
High Points : While there's a lot of heavy lifting to do, introducing not only the characters, and the Starlight Beacon, which looks to be a key part of this story, but also the entire time period. The comic does manage to get in quite a nice little tale, and one whose solution isn't just hitting something with a lightsaber, which is refreshing.
Low Points : But the solution is rather annoying, since it's basically introducing the Starlight Beacon as the new thing in the galaxy, and then showing creatures are behaving differently because of something new, I wonder what it could be?
And the main character's worry about failing a task really makes me question what the Jedi are teaching, since she's basically worried "Oh no, I saved an entire city, they'll never let me be a Jedi now!" Isn't saving cities a kind of Jedi thing to do?
Finally, Yoda's appearance just feels like fan service, as there can be no risk to him as we're aware he lives for another century, and he basically appears to be exactly the same character as we saw in The Clone Wars, so he's going to achieve no growth in this story at all. It would perhaps have been nice if he'd had some kind of negative quality which we'd see him resolve during these stories, and let us see him becoming the character we've known for so long.
So what do you really think ? : There's not a lot to get into in this story, mainly being set up with only a brief story of it's own to tell and some mysteries to seed (how did Sskeer lose his arm?, what's he seen at the end of the issue). But it seems fine, if a little bland and generic, there's nothing to differentiate this story from something set around the time of The Phantom Menace yet, but we'll see how it develops.
Final Words : I'm not sure if I really want to follow the High Republic setting, and there's nothing in this issue to make me change my mind. But I suppose I might give it a few issues and see whether I can be bothered to follow it beyond the first few.
Score : 7/10
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