In Star Wars: The High Republic #1, Padawan Keeve Trennis begins her trials to become a Jedi Knight, but on a quiet planet in the Outer Rim, Keeve gets much more than she bargained for. When lives are at stake, a Jedi has only one choice—protect the helpless. But is this the start of something much more sinister?
Star Wars: The High Republic #1
Ario Anindito (artist), Annalisa Leoni (colourist), Ariana Maher (letterer), Mark Morales (artist), Cavan Scott (writer)
January 6, 2021
Star Wars: The High Republic #1, ‘Trial by Ordeal’, is set 200 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The galaxy is a different, more peaceful place. There are many more Jedi than we have seen on-screen and the sight is nothing short of breathtaking. The art in this book is stunning and it’s easily the first thing that captures the eye.
The art team, Ario Anindito, Mark Morales, and Annalisa Leoni, do an amazing job in bringing one of my favourite fictional universes to the comic page. Shuraden—where the majority of the action takes place—may be a new planet to me, but it’s quintessentially Star Wars. The colourful rocks and trees look like they’re straight out of the animated Star Wars shows.
The characters are just as well-embellished. There’s a richness in the details of their clothes, movements, and expressions that had me studying each panel multiple times. You can see that the creative team loves this universe and have poured that affection into every page of Star Wars: The High Republic.
Moving on from the art, I love our new protagonist, Keeve Trennis. I’m always concerned about established properties adding unknown characters to its repertoire. Without the history and richness of the live-action films or animated shows, these characters can sometimes need several issues to grow on me. But Keeve is an instant favourite.
Keeve is a woman of colour, which is great. The Star Wars universe still isn’t as diverse as it should be so it’s a relief to see some progress being made in the comics. I realise it’s just the opening issue, but I found myself drawn to Keeve. She’s earnest but also funny. She patiently handles a very talkative Shuraden native, Kanrii—as one would expect of a Jedi—but does begrudge the lack of silence. She’s aware of her abilities but nervous enough about whether her masters realise the same, so she keeps pushing herself. You don’t have to be a Jedi Padawan to relate to Keeve!
Keeve’s story is intertwined with her master’s, Sskeer. Star Wars: The High Republic #1 doesn’t tell us much about Sskeer, but his story will be integral to the plot in coming issues. He’s a powerful Jedi, but also a mournful one. Sskeer is one of those teachers who you can spot as a teacher from a mile away. I’m beginning to wonder whether Anakin Skywalker was left off the council because of his sarcasm. Most Jedi masters are so dry and dull.
We do meet a couple of other knights and masters who seem to have lighter personalities. These characters are tied into the secondary plot of The High Republic, the Starlight Beacon. This adds some flavour to the story, but I’m not sure whether there’s enough meat in the beacon plot for another issue. By the end of this book, we get a hint of something more menacing in the offing. I hope that doesn’t mean a tonal shift in upcoming issues. This book got the balance between levity and intensity just right and I wouldn’t like to see that change.
Star Wars: The High Republic #1 is a solid start to a new story in our beloved Star Wars universe. The characters are interesting, the art is gorgeous, and the story is already shaping up to be engaging. I’m excited to see where the Jedi go next.