It has been nearly two years since the launch of The High Republic era of Star Wars. Set centuries before the events of the films, phase one fans were introduced to new heroes, new villains, and a galaxy far, far away in a way we have never seen it. A slew of comics, novelizations, short stories, manga, and even an audio drama ushered in a new era for the franchise’s lore. Quest of the Jedi, the title of phase two, looks to up the ante by telling all new stories 150 years before the events of phase one. The High Republic: Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland kicked off the phase with a young adult novel, but Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1 kicks off the phase’s comic runs.
Published by Marvel Comics, Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1 is written by Cavan Scott while Ario Anindito provides art, including cover art. The two are not strangers to each other’s work as they both helmed phase one’s Star Wars: The High Republic (2021). The duo is joined by inker Mark Morales and letter Ariana Maher who both worked on the previous run, while colorists Frank William joins the team following his work on Star Wars: Obi-Wan. With such an accomplished Star Wars media team, my hype could barely be contained by the time I got to the first panel. Given their previous work, I thought I knew more or less about the direction this premiere issue would take. Boy, was I wrong!
Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1 opens with a third-party narration describing a tragic event in the childhood of Jedi Knight Vildar Mac. Scott and Anindito waste absolutely no time getting into the horror elements of their work that make them two of the best in the business. Within the first three panels, we are reminded that Star Wars can be dark. In this era, the galaxy, even more than in phase one, is unpredictable and dangerous, even in the inner rim. The atrocities that Vildar experiences as a child are clear and whatever dark being committed the act is clearly still haunting the Jedi Knight even 50 years later.
One of the best elements of phase one of Star Wars: The High Republic (2021) was the focus on giving fans a perspective of not only the Jedi but the Force as a whole. Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1 proves that will very much be the same for phase two as Vildar makes his way to Jedha for his newest assignment as a Jedi Knight. Fans will remember Jedha from Rogue One. Before being the site of the first test fire of the Death Star, the Pilgram Moon was a place for many followers of the Force, not only Jedi, to gather. Readers are introduced to many of these groups while Vildar and Jedi Padawan Matthea Cathley investigate the theft of a spiritual artifact.
While I won’t reveal too much of specifics of what we see in Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1, I will say lore junkies are in for a treat. Bpfassh, Sorcerers of Tund, Yacombe, Matuaki, among other things coming across the panels had me scrambling through my memory to remember which video game or Legends story these various terms came from. They are the kind of easter eggs that will excite die-hard fans while not distracting the average reader, as is true with much of Cavan Scott’s work in Star Wars. With so many new characters in a vastly different Jedha, being able to follow along is crucial for any level of fan. The lettering from Maher makes it clear what is the most important information to gather.
Overall, Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1 reaffirms Cavan Scott and Ario Anindito as one of the best duos in comics today. Even after their 2021 run together, they are still delivering new and exciting approaches to telling stories in Star Wars. Scott has long been a lore guru in his work and it is on full display here as readers will be sucked in by both the familiar and the unknown he presents throughout. Further, Anindito brings the vision to life. Whether is it the darker tone of the first panels to a Jedha’s vibrant culture, the spectrum of emotions Star Wars can invoke is evident in his art. With that said, between Vildar Mac’s ominous past and the plethora of new Forces users to explore, phase two of The High Republic is off to a phenomenal start.
Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Star Wars: The High Republic (2022) #1
Between Vildar Mac’s ominous past and the plethora of new Forces users to explore, phase two of The High Republic is off to a phenomenal start.