Comic Review – The Jedi Race to the Rescue of Their Peers in “Star Wars: The High Republic” (2022) #8

I’m still getting caught up on Star Wars publishing material that came out before, during, and after Star Wars Celebration 2023, but as always it was a pleasure to read through the new issue of Star Wars: The High Republic by Cavan Scott from Marvel Comics.

The High Republic, Phase II, #8 begins with Jedi Knight Oliviah Zeveron (I’m still curious about her sharing a last name with the leader– The Mother, to be specific– of the Path of the Open Hand) clinging to life in the Dunes of Contemplation outside Jedha City.

Back in the tapbar known as Enlightenment, Oliviah’s Jedi allies scramble to find a way to rescue her without going through the rioters who have them cornered in the building. Fortunately, Enlightenment’s owner, the insect-like Villarandi called Kradon Minst, had an escape tunnel under the city built into his establishment. It seems the former Guardian of the Whills Tey Sirrek has already used the tunnel to make an egress, and soon the rest of the survivors are following behind him. But after an attack by vicious six-eyed rats and the collapse of the tunnel caused by shelling during the Battle of Jedha still taking place outside, Sirrek and Jedi Vildar Mac get isolated from the others, who must return to the bar. So after bidding farewell to Matty Cathley through the rubble, Tey and Vildar make their way through the remainder of the tunnel and emerge in the Jedha desert on the other side, where they find the Final Protector statue already having toppled and Zeveron near death beside it. Sirrek uses his Sephi pheromones to slow Oliviah’s heart-rate, while our two would-be heroes venture into the hidden chamber beneath the fallen statue.

In the secret passageway, Vildar and Tey search for the missing Jedi Master Leebon until Mac begins to suffer from the Force-draining, fear-inducing effects of the Leveler creature. They also spy the Herald of the Path of the Open Hand, Werth Plouth, claiming an artifact called the Rod of Daybreak from the chamber. Then Plouth and his followers bring out Leebon as a sacrifice to the Leveler that accompanies them, which gives us this issue’s tantalizing cliffhanger ending. Like I said at the top of this review, I don’t think there has been an issue of Marvel’s main The High Republic title that has left me disappointed, and this was no exception. Scott and his collaborators, artist David Messina and colorist Frank William, have kept things taught and briskly paced, with illustrations that convey the action in a consistently clear, well-choreographed manner. The overlap with other Phase II stories like The Battle of Jedha audio drama remains welcome, and I feel that I’ve come to know and care about these various characters over the past eight issues. Knowing The High Republic, that likely means tragedy for the two remaining installments, but we’ll have to wait until next month to find out for sure.

Star Wars: The High Republic #8 is available now wherever comic books are sold.