Comic Review – Our Heroes Confront Baron Boolan and His Minions in “Star Wars: The High Republic” (2023) #8

Today saw the release of the eighth 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.

The High Republic (2023) #8 begins at Shingcu Station in the Occlusion Zone, which serves as the headquarters for the Nihil’s Ithorian mad scientist Baron Boolan and his minions. The protagonists of this comic– namely Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis and her allies Ceret, Terec, Master Sskeer, Tey Sirrek, and (unlikeliest ally of them all) former Nihil Tempest Runner Lourna Dee– have tracked the young Yacombe girl (see previous issues) to the station and plan to rescue her from Boolan’s grip. But the Jedi sense the presence of Nameless creatures aboard, so only though without– or with diminished– Force sensitivities can board the station for the mission. So Lourna, Tey, and Sskeer head over and report back that Shingcu is “on the bed-wettingly creepy side.” They find large tanks filled with the torn-apart bodies of dissected nameless, and current artist Jim Towe really delivers on the splash-page reveal of this disturbing idea. But when one of the Nameless in the tanks begins to twitch as though it were still alive, Lourna Dee loses her cool and shoots the tank, alerting Baron Boolan and his Nihil underlings to the boarding party’s presence.

It’s also revealed that Boolan and his diminutive assistant Reek are already running experiments on the Yacombe girl, but their progress is interrupted by the chaos. Sirrek, Dee, and Sskeer battle the Force-using “Children of the Storm” H’Tar and Rrkak, while above in the ship, Keeve decides this is “too much.” The fight on the station proceeds to the point where Lourna confronts Boolan face-to-face, and there’s some back-and-forth about how she betrayed the Nihil. But as always, Dee has one final trick (literally) up her sleeve as she presses a button on her gauntlet, triggering explosives that she’s furtively planted around the station. Lourna escape’s Boolan’s lab with the girl, but they’re set upon by a Nameless, and soon all hope seems lost until a green lightsaber blade comes out of nowhere and decapitates the creature. It seems that somehow Keeve found a way to fight past the sense of dread and disorientation that the Nameless cause in Jedi, and she wants to help her other friends as well. But in the final panels, Dee reveals that there are more explosives set to go off very soon, and left uninterrupted they will promptly destroy Shingcu station and everyone in it.

That’s the cliffhanger ending to another really exciting issue of The High Republic deftly written by Cavan Scott, and though Towe isn’t my favorite illustrator to have worked on this comic, I think his style is appropriate enough for the tone. But what I’m into the most here is how weird things are getting the more time we spend with Baron Boolan and those he surrounds himself with– there’s some fairly disturbing imagery here, although the title is still rated T for Teen, and I’ll readily admit I’d love to see more. The weirder the better when it comes to Star Wars, I say! Plus it’s just fun to watch these characters– some of whom I could never have pictured fighting side-by-side– interacting with each other. Tey Sirrek is settling in nicely as the comic relief of the group, and I’m finding myself fascinated by Sskeer’s gradual return to peak form. The question right now is how everyone is going to get off Shingcu Station alive, and for the answer we’ll have to wait until next month.

Star Wars: The High Republic #8 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.