Comic Review – Keeve Trennis Ventures Into the Occlusion Zone in “Star Wars: The High Republic” (2023) #4

Today saw the release of the fourth issue in Phase III of Marvel Comics’ main Star Wars: The High Republic title, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.

At the end of the previous issue, Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis had retaken the Jedi flagship Ataraxia along with re-capturing the ex-Nihil Tempest Runner Lourna Dee. And together with the Force-bond Jedi twins Ceret and Terec, they have ventured across the Stormwall into the Nihil-occupied occlusion zone in search of missing-in-action Trandoshan Jedi Master Sskeer. As, The High Republic (2023) #4 opens, we get a flashback to Keeve’s Padawan training under Sskeer and how he helped her through her very first spacewalk. Then writer Cavan Scott cuts back to the present, where Trennis is spacewalking once again, though this time her intention is to fight off the scav droids that have arrived to dismantle the Ataraxia. Meanwhile Terec and Ceret work to hack into Lourna Dee’s protocol droid Q4 and retrieve a code that will send the scav droids scattering.

Naturally, all this time the combative Lourna Dee is being less than a pleasant guest, doing all she can to resist the Jedi’s influence, even though she is held in restraints. When Ceret attempts to use a Jedi Mind Trick to extract more information about the whereabouts of Sskeer, Keeve tackles them, declaring “This is not our way. Not now. Not ever.” Instead they are able to use the same code to track Sskeer to a backwater planet in the Occlusion Zone called Kindosorn, where Lourna is immediately attacked by a monkey-like creature and Trennis stumbles across the amorphous blob-like Ugor Jedi Master OrbaLin. They also find the Latero Jedi Knight Goonral Monshi injured at OrbaLin’s camp, apparently having been attacked by Sskeer, who Goonral says has become “crazed” and “dangerous.”

So Keeve orders Ceret and Terec to take OrbaLin and Monshi back to their shuttle, while she and Lourna Dee investigate the ruins where Sskeer has been hiding out. This issue ends with two cliffhangers: the shuttle having been sabotaged by an unknown party, and Trennis coming face-to-face with her old master, who now seems possessed by madness… or something else? This is another really great, exciting effort by Scott with his talented artists Jim Towe and Marika Cresta. I particularly liked getting to see Master OrbaLin without his environment suit– just the image of that green blob wielding an ignited lightsaber made me giggle with continued appreciation for the weirder side of Star Wars. I’m also enjoying the uneasy alliance between Lourna Dee and Keeve Trennis… it’s a pairing that feels ripe for plenty of drama as this arc continues. Plus, there’s just so much potential in the reunion between Keeve and Sskeer, especially now that he’s gone ever further off the deep end. Can’t wait for the next issue!

Star Wars: The High Republic #4 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.