By Matt Tuck
Star Wars: The High Republic #2 hauled in the new comic sales, but it also delivered another fun-yet-standard Star Wars tale.
THE FOMO EFFECT
As with most things in modern collecting, the initial buzz around last month’s High Republic #1 was the grand comic tradition of FOMO. I only learned about the acronym recently, but it stands for “fear of missing out.”
The Mandalorian changed the landscape. It breathed new life into what had become a dying Star Wars franchise thanks to box office blunders of Last Jedi and Solo, and only marginally redeemed by Rise of Skywalker.
Then came Mando, and suddenly Star Wars is hot, and with that bonfire came the comics. Virtually every Star Wars key no matter how minor got a dose of the Mando steroids. When Marvel Comics announced a new era of Star Wars comics with all-new characters, collectors and speculators bought High Republic #1 in droves.
THE REAL TEST
Now that the all-mighty first appearance is out of the way, will High Republic stand on its own merits? It is so far, so good as High Republic #2 will leave readers with enough intrigue to bring them back at least for this initial story arc.
High Republic feels less like a Spaghetti Western and more like a high-seas swashbuckler (for that matter, Sskeer's lightsaber hilt has a cutlass feel to it). In this particular issue, Keeve Trennis and her fellow Jedi even run into some space pirates.
At its heart, Keeve is in many ways a modern version of Anakin from Clone Wars. She is everything teenage fans could love: she’s trendy, she’s brave, she’s funny, a bit rebellious, and she even has her very own Star Wars-infused curse words (because, you know, teens love curse words).
And that is precisely what High Republic appears to be aiming for: a hip take on Star Wars that young adults can embrace. In that regard, the series is succeeding.
THE CAST OF CHARACTERS
While Keeve may be the face of the series, it was Master Sskeer who stole the show. His stoicism brought a much-needed balance to Trennis’ more lighthearted narration. Contrary to what we have been taught about the Jedi, the one-armed Sskeer appears full of rage and regret, though his past remains an ongoing mystery in the series.
As far as collecting and investing, there are more first appearances in High Republic #2. We meet Jedi twins Ceret and Terec. With their proper grammar and charming stuffiness, they have a certain Goofy Gophers vibe from the tragically underrated Looney Tunes Show.
Like the first issue, High Republic #2 has plenty of action and thrills to keep readers turning pages without being too bogged down in dialogue.
At times, the story flirted with a horror feel, but Cavan Scott and company pulled back just in time to keep the tone nice and family-friendly. Personally, I would love to see a Star Wars comic embrace a horror atmosphere, but I doubt Disney will allow anything quite so mature. With the talented Ario Anindito handling the pencils, it would be interesting to see what could transpire from that concept.
So far, High Republic has delivered a standard Star Wars story with a budding mystery. That is not a bad thing. It will particularly appeal to younger readers and fans of the Disney's Rebels and Resistance. While there is nothing necessarily new in terms of storytelling to be found here, it fits nicely into the Disney-era of Star Wars, and it is tailor made for a cartoon series.