Comic Review – Jedi Master Sskeer Makes a Dramatic Reappearance in “Star Wars: The High Republic” (2023) #5

Last week saw the release of issue #5 in Phase III of Marvel Comics’ flagship Star Wars” The High Republic title, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.

The High Republic (2023) #5 begins with the shocking reveal of what the Trandoshan Jedi Master Sskeer looks like now, after we got his former Padawan Keeve Trennis’s reaction to it in the last issue. So Keeve is trapped in the “Ruins of Tadneer” on the planet Kindosorn inside the Nihil Occlusion Zone with her uneasy ally Lourna Dee and the hulking Sskeer having lost his mind due to a regressive disease called Magrak Syndrome. Meanwhile back at the wreckage of their shuttle, the other Jedi– namely the gelatinous Ugor Master OrbaLin, the Force-bound Kotabi twins Ceret and Terec, and the Latero Goonral Monshi– are trying to figure out who or what exactly is hunting them, when they each start getting disturbing visions that lead them back out into the woods.

Terec finds themself confronted by the monstrous, plant-like Drengir creatures among the trees, while Ceret sees dozens of Nameless creatures out to suck the Force itself from their very being. Back in the ruins, Trennis and Dee are forced to do battle against a mad Sskeer, though Keeve is trying to do her best not to actually injure her afflicted former master. Lourna has no such qualms, however, and steals Keeve’s lightsaber in an effort to bring down the crazed, rampaging Trandoshan. In the woods, Ceret and Terec are able to snap out of their visions thanks to the guidance of a silhouetted figure, warning them against the powers of the Nihil-allied “Child of the Storm” Jedi hunter called H’Tar. But when the visions vanish, out jumps a real Nameless, apparently having actually been there all along. Fortunately the silhouette turns out to belong to the Sephi former Guardian of the Whills Tey Sirrek, who we last saw on Jedha at the end of Phase II of The High Republic.

Tey has aged significantly since then, sporting a lengthy beard and moustache, plus he’s still wielding the mystical gauntlet called the Hand of Siberus that he acquired on Jedha, and he uses this weapon to swiftly eliminate the attacking Nameless creature. In the caves, Keeve finally manages to wake Sskeer up from his frenzy by demonstrating that he wields half of her lightsaber hilt, and in a cliffhanger ending Lourna discovers that Sskeer was in actuality lashing out in protection of a young girl, whose identity is not revealed quite yet. I thought this was a really great, wonderfully kinetic issue overall that showcases both writer Cavan Scott and artists Ario Anindito and Marika Cresta working at the top of their respective (and combined) games. The action flows smoothly from panel to panel, the dialogue is crisp and taut, and I’m absolutely loving Lourna Dee’s hesitant role in this mission. To me, this comic is– and always has been- the peak example of what The High Republic is capable of when it’s firing on all cylinders, and now that Sskeer’s back I legitimately cannot wait to see where it’s headed next.

Star Wars: The High Republic #5 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.