Today saw the release of the second issue of Marvel Comics’ Star Wars: The High Republic – Shadows of Starlight miniseries, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.
Last month, the debut issue of Shadows of Starlight filled in the year-long gap between Phase I and Phase III of Star Wars: The High Republic, and #2 does the same thing, but focusing on different characters: namely the Jedi Masters Elzar Mann and Avar Kriss. This chapter, entitled “A Resonance of Hope,” opens on a beach of the planet Eiram, where the decimated Republic space station Starlight Beacon has just crashed into the ocean. Now without the third member of their longtime trio, Stellan Gios– who died in the catastrophe, Avar and Elzar struggle to make sense of their situation and their future paths. Kriss blames herself for the tragedy, since she served as the Marshal of Starlight Beacon and believes that she should have buffed up the station’s security against the ruthless band of marauders known as the Nihil. So she vows to bring that group to justice and confront their enigmatic leader Marchion Ro in the process.
Mann, meanwhile, feels more compelled to follow orders and return to Coruscant, where all members of the Jedi Order have been recalled in order to come up with a more cautious plan to combat the Nihil. But when the Nihil activate their “Stormwall” that divides the galaxy in two, Avar becomes stranded in the so-called Occlusion Zone and is forced to fend for herself as she is hunted by the devious General Viess and her minions. Meanwhile, Elzar spends his days attempting to send a message through or otherwise breach the Stormwall, rather unsuccessfully I might add. This is a story about two Jedi who clearly have feelings for each other, but have been unable to act on them due to the strict “no attachments” rule of their Order. And now that they’re separated, they become one another’s touchstones across a no-longer-metaphorical barrier they cannot traverse.
This story continues into the novel Star Wars: The High Republic – The Eye of Darkness of course, which I’ve already read and reviewed, though I won’t spoil how their relationship progresses from this point. It’s just cool to see the beginnings of this conundrum, even though reading things out of order has thrown me for a little bit of a loop (those reading in release order should have an easier time making sense of it). I like watching Elzar work alongside the protocol droid JJ-5145, which was gifted to Mann from Gios earlier in the timeline, to come up with a technological way through the Stormwall, while Avar has her companion astromech droid KC-78 helping her on her perilous journey through the Occlusion Zone. There’s some intriguing drama on an unnamed planet that’s mirrored by Elzar’s steadily increasing desperation to reach Avar, but it all ends with hope for the future. And that future will play out in other media, but in the meantime we’ll have more gap-filling to look forward to in Shadows of Starlight #3, which will apparently focus on Jedi Bell Zettifar. This is a great miniseries so far, though I rarely find much to complain about with writer Charles Soule’s work.
Star Wars: The High Republic – Shadows of Starlight #2 is available now wherever comic books are sold.