With the final adult novel of Phase II hitting bookstore shelves next week, this year’s Star Wars: The High Republic output is reaching a glorious crescendo.
And in issue #7 of Volume 2 of Marvel’s main Star Wars: The High Republic comic book, the title’s Jedi Knights are reeling in the aftereffects of the Battle of Jedha.
As The High Republic #7 begins, riots are spreading in the streets of Jedha City, and Jedi Master Vildar Mac has partnered with Twi’lek Padawan Matthea “Matty” Cathley to bring survivors of the collapse of the Path of the Open Hand almshouse to safety at the local tapbar known as Enlightenment. At first, the bar’s proprietor– an insect-like Villarandi named Kradon Minst– is hesitant for his establishment to serve as a refuge for those escaping the riots, but after some persuading (not to mention the promise of Jedi protection), Kradon gives in and Enlightenment truly becomes the haven the shrewd entrepreneur had always insisted it was. As the survivors gather inside, Vildar and Matty stay in the alleyway entrance to the bar to fend off any attackers, a plan that ends with Mac having to collapse a wall with the Force just to keep people from overwhelming them. Meanwhile, at the fallen Jedi statue known as the “Final Protector” out in the Jedha desert, Jedi Knight Oliviah Zeveron and Jedi Master Leebon protect the monument from mysterious, heavily-armored raiders who want something that might be buried underneath it. Back at Enlightenment, we learn from former Guardian of the Whills Tey Sirrek: the Rod of Daybreak, a Force artifact that a select few Jedi have kept secret on the so-called Pilgrim Moon.
Holding Enlightenment soon proves to be a more difficult task than initially assumed, as a member of the Sorcerers of Tund suddenly comes crashing through the rear entrance, followed by a battalion of deadly Enforcer Droids. Luckily, Kradon reveals that the bar is equipped with its own energy shield, as we learn more about Vildar’s youthful encounter with a rogue Sorcerer. Then this issue’s cliffhanger ending comes in the form of a call for help from Jedi Zeveron (whose last name I just realized is intriguingly shared with that of the leader of the Path of the Open Hand– Elicia Zeveron, AKA the Mother). It seems Master Leebon has gone missing at the hands of the aforementioned raiders, one of whom then uses Oliviah’s own lightsaber against her, to impale the Jedi right through her midsection. It’s a shocking twist, but hopefully Vildar Mac and Matty Cathley are able to respond in time to save Oliviah. In the meantime, issue #7 was another edge-of-your-seat thrill ride for this phase of The High Republic comics, and the creative team of writer Cavan Scott and artists Andrea Broccardo and Marika Cresta are doing a bang-up job of keeping things both visually interesting and moving at an entertaining clip. One thing I also want to point out about the art that I noticed in this issue: the variety of panel sizes really makes for a kinetic, always lively read. I’m not sure how much that’s part of the initial writing stage or whether that’s the choice of the artists, but either way it goes a long way in keeping my attention throughout the book.
Star Wars: The High Republic #7 is available now wherever comic books are sold.