Wednesday, September 8, 2021

#IReadsYou Review: STAR WARS: The High Republic #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Cavan Scott
PENCILS: Ario Anindito
INKS: Mark Morales
COLORS: Annalisa Leoni
LETTERS: VC's Ariana Maher
EDITOR: Mark Paniccia
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Akira Yoshida a.k.a. C.B. Cebulski
COVER: Phil Noto
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Ario Anindito with Rain Beredo; Joshua “Sway” Swaby; Stephanie Hans; Pascal Blanche and Gonzalo Kenny
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (January 6, 2021)

Rated T

“There is No Fear” Chapter One: “Trial by Ordeal”

Star Wars: The High Republic is a new publishing initiative that includes novels (adult, young adult, middle-grade, and young readers), comic books (including all-ages, graphic novels, and manga), and other prose and multimedia releases.  Lucasfilm, the bosses of all things Star Wars, announced The High Republic in February 2020, with the first publication to be released in August 2020.  Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, January 2021 sees the release of the first novels and comic books.

Star Wars: The High Republic is set 200 years before the film, Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.   The Jedi Knights are at the height of their power, but they must face a deadly serious threat to the Republic, the antagonistic “Nihil,” a race of “space Vikings.”

The first comic book release is the ongoing comic book series, Star Wars: The High Republic, from Marvel Comics.  It is written by Cavan Scott; drawn by Ario Anindito (pencils) and Mark Morales (inks); colored by Annalisa Leoni; and lettered by Ariana MaherThe High Republic comic book is set directly after the events depicted in the first High Republic novel, Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi (released January 5th).

Star Wars: The High Republic #1 (“Trial by Ordeal”) opens on Shuraden, on the Republic frontier.  Padawan Keeve Trennis, under the direction of her Master Sskeer, prepares to complete her “Jedi Trials.”  It would help if one of the planet's inhabitants, a “Ximbi” named Kanri, would stop pestering her.  However, she will face a bigger challenge when she must protect the innocents from  the “Redadi” – a species of star-locust, but is the problem really what she thinks it is.

Meanwhile, the Frontier prepares for the dedication of the majestic “Starlight Beacon,” which will help Republic pioneers as they push into new territories in the Outer Rim.  Now, Master Avar Kriss faces two legendary JediGrandmasters” who have arrived with a momentous announcement for her.

THE LOWDOWN:  I had not heard anything about the rumored “Project Luminous,” which was revealed in February 2020 to be the Star Wars: The High Republic publishing initiative.  I am a longtime Star Wars fan, but I don't dedicate much time to following Star Wars news.

So what do I think of Star Wars: The High Republic #1?  It is good, but not great.  I have enjoyed writer Cavan Scott's work on IDW's young readers Star Wars comic book, Star Wars Adventures.  His writing on Star Wars: The High Republic #1 is a little more intense than his IDW work.  Right from the beginning, Scott makes Keeve Trennis a strong character that is very likable, and he seems to have a handle on Master Avar Kriss, another strong and engaging female character.

Ario Anindito's art looks like it was drawn for a young adult graphic novel.  It seems closer to the sensibilities of animation than it does to the work of other Star Wars comic book artists like Jesus Saiz, Will Sliney, John Cassidy, and Salvado Larroca, to name a few.  If anything, Anindito's art here reminds me of artist Denys Cowan's work on the 2017-18 miniseries, Star Wars: Mace Windu.  I think Anindito's art will make Star Wars: The High Republic appeal to young readers who don't go to comic book shops, but will find the eventual trade paperback or graphic novel collection of this first High Republic story arc, “There is No Fear,” in bookstores.

Star Wars: The High Republic #1 makes me curious about where this comic book is going, and I plan to read more.  I do recommend that Star Wars readers check it out.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Star Wars comic books will want to sample Star Wars: The High Republic.

[This issue includes afterwords by Cavan Scott and Ario Anindito.]

7 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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