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The High Republic: Shadows of Starlight 3: The Will of the Force



What is it ? : We return to The Fall of the Starlight Beacon, but begin 5 days afterwards.
Bell Zettifar and Elzar Mann are standing on a beach looking out at the wreckage of the Beacon, Elzar informs Bell that the Jedi Council has ordered everyone back home to Coruscant, but Bell comments that for the Jedi home is the people they care about. That no place, not even the Jedi Temple is home, and he is going to remain here to search for Burryaga, because that feels like home to him. Elzar tells him he will tell the council of his decision.
Six Weeks after the Fall. Bell has found Burryaga deep in the oceans of Eiram, and Bell declares that it's time for them to return to Coruscant and begin to make the Nihil pay for what they did, and Burryaga, a Wookiee, looks on sadly.
Two Months after the Fall. The pair arrive back at the Jedi Temple, and Bell says that as Padawans they'll be stuck here for a while, but he is overjoyed when he is reunited with Ember, his Charhound, who has been in the care of Jedi Master Indeera Stokes. She tells the pair that they must begin practicing for their tests for Knighthood, as the council has declared that all Padawans who are ready must take the tests.
The pair almost immediately pass the tests and become Jedi Knights, which Bell is pleased at, as it means he can choose his own work, and will be free to leave the Temple to take the battle to the Nihil.
Four Months after the Fall. Bell is reviewing information about Marchion Ro, who it has been discovered is the leader of the Nihil. Burryaga questions as to why, and Bell asks him why HE isn't finding out more about the greatest enemy of the Jedi?
Five Months after the Fall. Burryaga is speaking to Jedi Master Pra-Tre Veter of his worries about Bell, and how his obsession and hatred of the Nihil is effecting him. Veter suggests that there is a mission working with a Republic Task Force against Nihil raiders which might satisfy Bells feeling that he needs to do something against the Nihil. And he suggests that Burryaga come along as well, something the Wookiee is hesitant to do. Veter, tells him that it is okay, every Jedi finds their own path, and that he is doing great work with the Jedi Younglings.
Six Months after the Fall. Burryaga is teaching the younglings, and they are doing art, he paints a picture of Bell Zettifar, and a youngling asks him why he has painted him looking so angry.
Veter and Bell are boarding their ship to leave to join the task force when they are met by Burryaga, who has decided to join them. Bell is pleased, but Burryaga's concern is increased because he friend has changed his look to a more severe style.
Nine Months after the Fall. The Jedi are aboard a Republic Cruiser, when they are asked to join a mission to the colony of Asternin, which has reported a raid by the Nihil. They land on the planet, and are spotted by mercenaries who identify Veter as a Jedi Grand Master, who the Nihil has a massive bounty on, and they call in a Nihil Stormship, heavy artillery.
The Jedi ignite their lightsabers ready for combat, but they fizzle out, and aboard the Stormship a crewmember reports that the 47 Lightsaber Nullifier is working, but it won't last long before the power drain means that their ship will drop out of the sky.
They attack, but Veter reveals he knows a Jedi Martial art named Shon-Ju and begins fighting the Nihil attackers. But he is blasted from behind by the Stormship and the Nihil call on him to surrender, but he tells them all he senses is fear, the Nihil captain tells him he is wrong as she feels elation at the reward she will get for defeating a Jedi Grand Master.
But he tells her that perhaps she should feel fear, and perhaps should be paying attention not to the Jedi she has captured, but to the ones she didn't, and we see Bell returning in speeders full of soldiers . . . .

High Points : A pretty interesting issue, showing how the fear of the Nihil, and the hatred of their actions are driving some Jedi to the brink of the Dark Side. That even if they are defeated, they are sewing the seeds of more chaos later.
And the stories within this series are being woven together in an enjoyable fashion, with us seeing Elzar Mann letting Bell Zettifar find his own path, even though he is only a Padawan, because he has just had the same conversation with Avar Kriss. And we see the younglings from the first issue in Burryaga's class.

Low Points : While the Nihil having a technology which changes the playing field (Path Drives) is interesting, as they can be more responsive to the Republic Military, and surprise even the Jedi. Them having two (the Stormshield) makes them seem really remarkable, especially when we never see these technologies used again in the centuries afterwards. But now they've got Lightsaber Nullifiers as well, so three amazing Technologies which disrupt the power structure of the galaxy, which everyone just forgets about later, it's really stretching credibility.
Imagine how any of these could have changed the Galactic Civil War, Inquisitors hunting Jedi and switching off their lightsabers, or the Rebels using it to ambush Vader. The Empire putting up a Stormshield around the Death Star 2 before the Rebel Fleet arrives, or the Rebels luring an Imperial Fleet into one. The Rebels using Path drives to make lightning raids on the Empire, or Imperial Reinforcements arriving instantly whenever the Rebels attack. All of them would be massive game changers, but everyone forgot about them, lost the plans, and had no interest in pursuing the technologies in the 100 years between the High Republic and the Rise of the Empire.

So what do you really think ? : The weakest issue of this series so far, as it doesn't cover a lot of ground, focusing in on 2 characters and not filling us in on the wider galactic situation which is what I thought this series was supposed to be about, telling us what happened in the missing year.
While there's some nice personal moments with these characters, and they seem likeable enough, I have to admit I was turning the pages not to find out what happens next. but merely to get through the issue and onto the next.

Final Words : I'm really feeling that these aren't going to come together at the end to tell a unified story, but instead they really are acting as introductions to separate stories. And I don't find myself interested enough in any of the tales so far to want to continue into brand new monthly series. I guess we'll see next issue, but I'm starting to come to terms that I'll never find out about, or even care about, the continuing stories with Yoda and Azlin Rell, with Elzar Mann and Avar Kriss (well maybe), or with Burryaga and Bell Zettifar, and I'll just go back to reading about Keeve Trennis.

Score : 8.5/10






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