Comic Review – Keeve Trennis and Friends Scramble to Escape a Nihil Space Station in “Star Wars: The High Republic” (2023) #9

Today saw the release of the ninth issue in Phase III of the main Star Wars: The High Republic comic book from Marvel, and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.

The High Republic (2023) #9 begins where the previous issue left off– with Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis and her allies stuck on the Nihil-operated Shingcu space station, and Lourna Dee having set explosives to blow it all to smithereens with no regard to who might still be left inside. Lourna carries the Yacombe girl into the Jedi ship Ataraxia, while Keeve (having just defeated a Nameless creature– or so she believes– by decapitating it) joins the Force-bonded twins Terec and Ceret as the run back into the station to rescue Master Sskeer and Tey Sirrek. Meanwhile in Baron Boolan’s lab, Sskeer manages to break free of his “mist-bond” restraints when Boolan uses the ancient Sith gauntlet known as the Hand of Siberius against Tey, and Trennis arrives just in time to have her mind bended by the Children of the Storm Rrkak and H’tar. There’s a minor scuffle, and Sskeer manages to claim the Hand of Siberus and uses its powers in revenge against Boolan, though Keeve warns the embattled Trandoshan Jedi Master about “giving in to rage.”

Boolan uses this new perception of Sskeer– who says he’s “not so sure” if he even considers himself a Jedi anymore– to whisper in the Trandoshan’s ear about how he could “help him rise again,” while Dee is persuaded by Jedi Master Torbalin to return into the station to help. Here we cut to Terec and Ceret, who are attempting to disable one of Lourna’s bombs when they are interrupted by Boolan’s Igor-like assistant Reek and two Nameless– one of which is still alive and active despite now being headless. The bomb explodes, affecting everyone aboard the station in different ways. One hero and one villain– Terec and Rrkak, specifically– apparently die in the chaos, and Sskeer flees with Boolan aboard the mad scientist’s own personal stormcruiser. On the Ataraxia, Torbalin repairs and revives Lourna Dee’s protocol droid Q4, but they’re also using the ship’s tractor beam to hold the station together so they can’t head off Boolan’s cruiser. Instead, Lourna takes it upon herself to do so in one of the Jedi Vectors.

Keeve, Tey, and Ceret make it back to the ship, but as Lourna’s Vector approaches Boolan’s vessel, she realizes she can’t operate the starfighter’s weapons without a lightsaber. She’s hit by enemy fire and crashes into the stormcruiser just as it jumps into hyperspace. The issue ends with the crew aboard the Ataraxia receiving a homing signal from someone aboard Boolan’s ship… could it be Sskeer acting as a spy? We’ll have to wait until the next issue to find out, but for now I’d say The High Republic #9 absolutely lives up to the lofty and exciting standards that writer Cavan Scott and returning guest artist Laura Braga have set for themselves. There’s a lot going on here, but I’m definitely loving Baron Boolan as a villain and I’m finding myself fascinated by the results of his experiments. I have to wonder what the Nameless’s newfound (or is it?) invulnerability will mean for the Jedi’s chances against the deadly Force-eating creature in the future, and I’m very curious to find out where Sskeer true allegiances lie as we continue to follow his story in future issues.

Star Wars: The High Republic #9 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.