Star Wars: The High Republic #3

THE HIGH REPUBLIC

THERE IS NO FEAR

Chapter Three

“DOWN BELOW”

The noble JEDI, protectors of the REPUBLIC, have launched STARLIGHT BEACON as a symbol of hope for the galaxy. Young Keeve Trennis is now a JEDI KNIGHT.

Aboard a derelict Hutt ship, a lone Nihil warrior attacked Keeve, Sskeer and the Jedi twins Terec and Ceret. Sskeer brutally slaughtered the Nihil, much to Keeve’s shock. Something dark is happening to Sskeer.

The trail of the Jedi’s investigation led them to Sedri Minor, where Ceret has just vanished without a trace….

Writer: Cavan Scott
Penciller: Ario Anindito
Inker: Mark Morales
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Colorist: Annalisa Leoni
Cover artist: Phil Noto
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publication date: March 3, 2021

As Terec rages in panic over his missing twin Ceret and Master Sskeer exhibits unusually angry tendencies, Avar Kriss attempts to calm the escalating situation while Sskeer’s padawan Keeve waits outside. Approached by friendly villagers bringing food, we learn of the troubles the inhabitants of the planet are suffering, with dying crops and issues with the Hutts. As the local community leader Kal Sulman ushers the Rodian farmers away as they explain their problems to Keeve, she makes the decision to investigate further, not wanting to bother her masters who are are tied up with their own issues.

Keeve is startled when a young boy called Bartol sneaks up on her but soon they move deeper into the fields, a rotten stench growing as they happen upon a sinkhole. The intrepid young boy leaps into the deep hole, confident the Jedi will catch him, which she does but as they land she is struck by the feeling they are being watched. We step back to Kriss, Sskeer and Terec, now silent as they pass out. Kriss admonishes Sskeer for his loss of control as she reports back to Starlight Beacon, and then heads out to find Keeve with Speaker Sulman, who is less than impressed by the unwelcome presence of the Jedi on his planet.

Meanwhile, Bartoc and Keeve move deeper into the hole, the darkside almost blinding her as they come across a captured Ceret and a stolen villager. The Rodian villager is dead but Ceret is awake and as he speaks an unseen creature attacks Bartoc, its tentacle slashed by Keeve. Her lightsaber illuminates a Cthulu-like terror approaching, the Grengir. Back on the ship Terec wakes, and as Sskeer tries to calm them a black mist shoots from Terec’s mouth into Sskeers face, as we cut back to Keeve in desparate trouble as Ceret turns on his friend, grabbing Bartoc as Keeve struggles to contain Drengir. Avar Kriss arrives, smashing through the floor and ignoring negotiations to slice the Drengor in two. Back to themselves, Ceret says the darkness was too strong, a fear proved right as the two haves of the diced Drengir come back to life, a turned Jedi Master Sskeer alongside them promising a bountiful harvest.

The artwork in this issue from Ario Anindito and Mark Morales is especially impressive, the use of colour by Annalisa Leoni adding depth and danger to the claustrophobic environment below ground while the sharp writing of Cavan Scott not only highlights the determination of Keeve Trennis to prove herself as a Jedi and do good, but also the struggles the Jedi of the time have keeping to the light. Early impressions of the High Republic era are that the Jedi have little experience fighting the darkness. No sith and few organised adversaries, it appears to be a time of expansion, when the fights and battle they face are fuelled by greed and power but not the dark side. To see a capable Jedi like Sskeer bowed by the dark, and Avar Kriss quick to leap into attack mode to counter it bodes very well for future issues. Another engaging, captivating entry in the early days of The High Republic.

 

Star Wars: High Republic #3 (Kevin Walker Variant Set) @ ForbiddenPlanet.com