Published by Marvel Comics, Star Wars: The High Republic #4 is written by Star Wars lore specialist Cavan Scott, while Ario Anindito provides, ink by Mike Morales, colors by Annalisa Leoni, letters by Ariana Maher, and Phil Noto rounds out the team with cover art. This horror meets Star Wars series continues to unravel the mystery behind the dreaded Drengir as Star Wars: The High Republic #4 shows the true power of this new foe.
Previously in Star Wars: The High Republic #3, the Jedi were investigating Sedri Minor where they tracked a Nihil-attacked Hutt starship that was transporting important grain. The search for answers quickly turned into a rescue mission as the inhabitants reported missing persons on the field-covered planet. Even the Jedi were not safe from the disappearances as one of half of the Force-bonded twin Jedi Knights, Ceret, was also taken. Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis took it upon herself to search for the missing people with help of a local boy. Together the duo was able to find Ceret and the other missing farmers but not without a horrifying sight. The Drengir, sentient carnivorous plant-like creatures, had taken control of not only Ceret but Trennis’s master, Sskeer.
Star Wars: The High Republic #4 opens not in the underground tunnels of Sedri Minor, but a flashback to six years prior. Much like the first issue of the series, the flashback feature Keeve Trennis training with the Trandoshan Jedi Master Sskeer. While the lesson is taking place, Trennis’s thoughts from the present reflect how much her master has taught her and how much he means to her. Through the expertise of the art team, the flashback presents Sskeer in a different light than when readers saw him in the previous issues. The calm and collected Jedi Master is a direct mirror of the Trandoshan who has been plagued with temptations of the Dark Side through much of the series. The dichotomy is quickly paid off as readers are thrown pack to the present with Sskeer an amalgamation of Trandoshan Jedi and Drengir.
The trapped Jedi desperately try to plead with Sskeer to let them go. Jedi Master Avar Kriss takes a more direct approach seemingly angry with the Jedi’s inability to resist the temptations of the Drengir. Trennis on the other hand attempts to appeal to the Jedi Master through their past experiences and the lessons he has instilled in her. Both prove futile as Sskeer paints the story of the Drengir for the Jedi to hear. Readers learn that the Drengir once spread across the galaxy devouring all in their path with aid of red lightsaber-wielding beings which can only be assumed to be early followers of the Dark Side. However, they were betrayed by their alleys and were locked away into a deep slumber until they were awoken by the Jedi.
The rest of Star Wars: The High Republic #4 plays out the very grim circumstances for Trrennis and her fellow captives. Further, the issue also transitions to the Starlight Beacon where the Hutt corpse from the previous issues is being examined. When a revelation is made where the Hutt was not killed by the Nihil gas as was previously believed, it spells similar unfortunate circumstances for the Jedi light-years away from Sedri Minor.
Overall, Star Wars: The High Republic #4 feels like a much slower issue compared to the three preceding it. This is not necessarily a bad thing. There is much to glean from Sskeer’s history lesson with the relationship between the Drengir and the Dark Side, the Hutt revelation, as well the introduction of other major players who will undoubtedly be factors in further issues. Writer Scott, has me guessing at every turn with every cliffhanger giving me more to think about than I ever would have thought in a single issue. Further, the art team continues to do an out-of-this-world job at conveying so much in each panel. With so many characters involved in the story now, there is never a moment of not knowing who is speaking as the speech bubbles for each character are distinct in their design and ink. Even Trennis’s inner monologue sticks out compared to her own voice giving scenes like the opening flashback that much more weight. While it may not be action-packed, Star Wars: The High Republic #4 continues to build out the conflicts to come and has me counting the days until the next issue.
Star Wars: The High Republic #4 is available wherever comics are sold.
Star Wars: The High Republic #4
Things look grim for Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis and Jedi Master Avar Kriss with Jedi Master Sskeer corrupted by the Drengir with seemingly no way out.