The High Republic comic series (written by Cavan Scott) began a new arc with issue #6, and it gives us a look at the Jedi’s fight against the Drengir!
I read this when it first released but am only just now getting into a review of it, but don’t let that drive you away from this issue – it’s fantastic, just like the whole series has been, and it connects really well with the new wave of books from the High Republic era as well!
Let’s jump into the review.
Jedi Marshall Avar Kriss has aligned with the Hutts to fight against the Drengir along the Outer Rim, but after months of fighting, things aren’t getting any better; in fact, the Drengir continue to spread faster than anyone can keep up with, having spread to hundreds of worlds. Hope and excitement have been replaced by fear and uncertainty. On Daivak, the Jedi and the Hutts ride into battle together to face the Drengir.
Back on the Starlight Beacon, Maru speaks with Jedi High Council Member Stellan Gios via hologram, and both share their concerns with Avar’s alignment with the Hutts. Stellan also inquires about the state of Sskeer, who is in a stasis field that is keeping the Drengir infestation in check, but he’s not getting better. His former apprentice, Keeve Trennis, refuses to leave his side, working with Doctor Gino’le to try to find out what’s wrong. Keeve can barely feel his presence now, as her master is slowly slipping away, and she regrets her actions on Sedri Minor that escalated the situation. Gino’le speculates that Sskeer’s issues might be more of a crisis of faith than physical, but Keeve refuses to believe it.
On Daivak, the Rancor that Avar rode into battle is taken over by the Drengir, and the fight continues to slip out of hand, leaving to Avar calling for help from Starlight Beacon, ordering every Jedi to be scrambled immediately. Even Maru prepares to leave, and he contacts Keeve saying that Avar needs their help. Keeve then makes her decision: she deactivates the stasis field and approaches Skeer, and soon she too is taken over by the Drengir. Sskeer and Keeve reunite in a strange realm which they describe as the root system the Drengir use to communicate; they aren’t actually present, but their consciousness is. Together, they forge ahead to find out what lies at the heart of the root system.
Avar senses this, as she suddenly hears not only the discordant song of the Drengir but senses that Keeve’s song is with them. She contacts Maru, who learns from Gino’le that Keeve has allowed herself to be infested. Keeve manages to tell them that she’s searching for the first seed and thought she was strong enough, but is not. Maru and the other Jedi on the Starlight Beacon then lend their aid through the Force to Keeve and Sskeer, who with the additional help push through the root system and find the Great Progenitor, the oldest and greatest of the Drengir. As Keeve looks into it’s mind, she is endangered, and Sskeer finally severs the connection between them and the Drengir. But Keeve was successful: the thorns carved into her arm the name Mulita.
Maru finds no planet with that name in the Coruscant archives, but does find a mention of it that dates back to the days of the Nightmare Conjunction. The system is deep in wild space, and Maru realizes that Keeve has actually done it: they now know where the Great Progenitor is.
This issue ties really well into The Rising Storm, which mentions that Avar Kriss and her Jedi allies are off fighting the Drengir and therefore are unable to be at the Republic Fair. Additionally, the book delves into some of the unease that others in the Republic have with Avar’s alignment with the Hutts, which shows up in this issue too. This connection shouldn’t be surprising, given that Cavan Scott is the author of both that book and this comic series, but it’s still great and makes this all feel like one big story.
And in this issue, we’re seeing the part of the story that deals with the Drengir. We learn that they’ve now spread to hundreds of worlds, and we continue to see that they’re extremely hard to kill. So rather than continuing to react to Drengir attacks, the Jedi finally decide to take the attack to them. Together, Sskeer and Keeve are able to locate the power behind the Drengir, working together to infiltrate this root system. It gets a bit confusing, but that’s probably a good thing. The Drengir themselves are a bit chaotic, but we do learn that they are communicating together with this root system. Keeve wonders if it’s through the Force, but Sskeer doesn’t know. We as the reader know a bit more than they do, as we know that the Drengir have a strong connection to the dark side of the Force, though what exactly that means we aren’t sure. I do wonder if this root system is somewhat rooted in the Force, however, and that would explain how they stay connected and united even while spreading across the galaxy.
But we also learn that this Great Progenitor is the greatest and oldest of the Drengir, so the implication is that if they could find it, they could deal a massive blow against the entire Drengir. I’m not sure if it’s like the battle droids in The Phantom Menace, where destroying the ship takes them all out, but it could be. At the very least, it seems like destroying the Great Progenitor (which is much easier said than done) would be the turning point needed in this desperate fight against this mysterious enemy in a battle that the Jedi don’t seem to be winning.
I am curious to see what happens with that, as it seems that the Jedi will turn their attention to finding this planet. I am curious to see what comes of Avar’s alignment with the Hutts, as the concern others are expressing could be foreshadowing something down the road. And I am also curious to see what happens with Sskeer from here, as it seems that his connection with the Drengir is now severed – does that mean he’s fine, or will we learn more about his issues that might be spiritual? There’s a lot of stuff I’m really intrigued by.
But of course I have to mention the name-drop that came near the end of the issue, alongside the name Mulita. Maru mentions that he can’t find any planet with that name within the Republic, but he does find a mention of it being in wild space, dating from the time of the Nightmare Conjunction. This first appeared in Dooku: Jedi Lost, which was also written by Cavan Scott, in which we were told that Darth Krall – a former Jedi turned Sith Lord – had tamed the Nightmare Conjunction. Things get even more interesting when we see that upcoming issues of this comic series have shown us that Darth Krall will appear (and don’t worry; it appears to just be through vision-like sequences). And this is fascinating – it seems like we’ll be dealing with the Sith for the first time in the High Republic, and I can’t wait.
And this particular mention leads to all sorts of interesting speculation. I want to mention two things. First, Into the Dark (by Claudia Gray) seemed to imply that the ones who trapped the Drengir on the station they are discovered at by the Jedi in this era were actually Sith – and this The High Republic comic series confirmed that it was indeed the Sith, who aligned themselves with the Drengir and fought alongside them, until they betrayed them and trapped the Great Progenitor, causing all the others to sleep. So my point is that the Drengir and the Sith have a history, and with Darth Krall, the Nightmare Conjunction, and Mulita all being connected, it makes me think that the Drengir is connected to all of that too. Could it be that the Nightmare Conjunction that Darth Krall tamed was actually the same thing as the Great Progenitor? Maybe, but at the very least it seems all of this is connected.
Second, though, is that Darth Krall (formerly known as Radaki) is one of the Lost Twenty of the Jedi Order – Masters who became disillusioned with the Jedi and left the Order. Star Wars fans might be more familiar with another member of the Lost Twenty, Count Dooku. Apart from Dooku and Radaki, do we know of any other members of the Lost Twenty? Yes, one: a Master Trennis. In Dooku: Jedi Lost, Master Yoda remembers with sadness how Master Trennis grew disillusioned and left the Order. You can probably connect the dots here, but in case you’re not sure, Cavan Scott has confirmed that we do already know where Keeve’s story winds up. So yes, Keeve Trennis will almost certainly eventually become a member of the Lost Twenty, and with that in mind, I’m even more intrigued about a potential connection between her and Krall (even if it’s only through the Force), because they both share that in common. I’m not suggesting Keeve will turn to the dark side, but I am saying that this could be a moment that begins setting Keeve on a path to leaving the Order.
Anyway, this issue kicked off a new arc, was really well done, and I’m incredibly excited to see what comes next!