*** This post includes full spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic #1 ***
The first comic series from The High Republic era of Star Wars recently released, with issue #1 of Star Wars: The High Republic being written by Cavan Scott and drawn by Ario Anindito.
This issue focuses on Keeve Trennis and her master, Sskeer. The story is set after many of the events of Light of the Jedi, and thus contains minor spoilers from the book, but most of the issue takes place before the dedication of the Starlight Beacon – something we actually see at the end.
Let’s dive in to this first issue of the brand new series!
The story centers on Jedi Padawan Keeve Trennis, who has been brought to the planet Shuraden by her master, the Trandoshan Jedi Master Sskeer. The two engage in a brief training duel, and then Sskeer reveals that the reason they are there is for Trennis’s Trials. He explains that he has hung a pendant at the peak of some daunting needles on the planet, and Trennis needs to recover it. She sets off climbing the needles and is joined – and annoyed – by a couple of very friendly Ximpi, named Kanrii and Lekaki. But as she climbs, suddenly a herd of Ridadi burst through and cause trouble. Trennis springs into action, choosing to abandon her trial and instead try to save the city.
Meanwhile, on the Starlight Beacon, Jedi Masters Estala Maru and Avar Kriss prepare the station for the dedication that is just nine hours away – and they have no clue where Sskeer is, as he hasn’t been the same since the Nihil attack and the death of Jedi Master Jora Malli. Grandmasters Veter and Yoda then show up, having arrived early for a meeting with the Chancellor, and Veter offers Kriss the role of Marshall of the Starlight Beacon.
Back on Shuraden, Trennis contacts Maru asking for help, informing him of the situation. He gives Trennis the information she needs about this alien species, but adds that records show they avoid inhabited worlds. Trennis then connects with the Force and discerns why the Ridadi are there. Contacting Maru, she learns that the Ridadi follow magnetic pulses, and shares that the Starlight Beacon’s signal must have drawn the species off course. Trennis takes off in the Jedi Vector, luring the Ridadi away from the city, and sets the autopilot before jumping out. The Ridadi continue to follow the ship, while Maru changes the signal from the beacon to avoid any similar incidents.
In the aftermath, Sskeer confronts Trennis and they head back to the Starlight Beacon. It seems that Sskeer is upset, but the two encounter Avar Kriss, who names Trennis a Jedi Knight.
Later, the Starlight Beacon is dedicated with a grand ceremony, attended by Supreme Chancellor Lina Soh, Avar Kriss, and many other Jedi, including Yoda. In the aftermath, Sskeer heads off alone, screaming out, “Noooooo!” in much anguish.
This was a great first issue and way to kick-start the series, and it really balancing a story on both a personal and galactic scale. We begin the issue with that personal story, as it’s just Keeve, Sskeer, and the Ximpi. I also loved how the issue portrayed Sskeer at first like you think he might be the villain, since after all we’ve seen Trandoshans play villains before. He lurks in the shadows and then springs out, attacking Keeve, but we then learn that he’s her master and this is all part of her training.
Then with her trial, even though it doesn’t go like Sskeer planned it, the will of the Force was something different, and Keeve passed her trial. She abandoned her quest for the pendant, even though that might mean not achieving Knighthood, so that she could help protect and save the city of innocents from the Ridadi. It’s no wonder she passed the trial, then, because her actions were distinctly Jedi-like, selfless, thinking of others. Additionally, even her actions with the Ridadi were noble, as rather than trying to strike out and kill them, she actually works with Maru to help them by leading them away from the city but also adjusting the beacon that was confusing them.
There’s nothing that particularly stands out from Keeve’s trial as spectacular, but it’s a fun tale about her passing her Jedi trial. It’s in connection to the Starlight Beacon that this issue really finds its grounding in the larger galactic scale, however. We see two very important events happen with the Starlight Beacon.
First, Avar Kriss is offered (and accepts) the role of marshal of the station, meaning that she will help to oversee the station and will be the lead Jedi presence there. She obviously plays a major role in Light of the Jedi and figures to be one of the most prominent figures from this entire era, and her new role on the Starlight Beacon will surely only enhance that.
Secondly, we see the dedication ceremony for the Starlight Beacon, which is pretty cool. We see Chancellor Linh Soh and tons of Jedi in attendance, and all the Jedi raise their ignited lightsabers in unison to commission the brand new project, which will aid Soh’s plans for expansion into the Outer Rim, as well as provide aid for worlds in need.
So much of this ties into Light of the Jedi and A Test of Courage, of course, as both books end with the dedication of the Starlight Beacon. And actually these events in this comic are alluded to in A Test of Courage, while events from Light of the Jedi are alluded to in this comic. How so? Well, Sskeer is missing an arm, which he lost in an encounter with the Nihil in that book, and he’s mentioned as not being the same since Jora Malli’s death, which also occurs in the book at the hands of the Nihil. That loss was clearly devastating to Sskeer in the book, and that is expanded upon here. And that leads to what is by far the most intriguing aspect of the comic, as the final page shows Sskeer getting away and clearly in anguish. But what’s going on here? I am extremely curious to find out. Is this simply his grief? Is this about his displeasure with something in this issue? Or is this showing him descending toward the dark side?
Overall, I thought this was a very good first issue that kicks off this series, and I can’t wait for more!