Trouble has found both of our group of heroes in The High Republic and The High Republic Adventures in the form of the Drengir and the Nihil, respectively. And both villains have seemed to turn once old friends into enemies. This month’s issues but resolve and bring new problems to light for the Jedi.
The High Republic #4 : Song of the Drengir
Marvel’s The High Republic #4 follows two storylines, one taking place on Sedri Minor and the other on the Starlight Beacon. On Sedri Mino, Keeve Trennis, Avar Kriss, and Ceret find themselves trapped by the Drengir who have also taken control of Master Sskeer. The issue begins with a memory of Sskeer teaching Padawan Trennis.
It is also through Sskeer that we learn more about the Drengir and they use him to tell their story…well the part that from the Into the Dark novel. There is also a panel visual on the Amaxine Station during the High Republic era as well as the totem’s that the Sith used to keep the Drengir asleep (Reath Silas and Cormac are also featured). But there is some new information given as well, namely that the Sith (who were in great numbers back then) worked alongside the Drengir with a common purpose until of course, they didn’t. The Drengir understood the Sith enough to know betrayal was in their nature and attempted to destroy the wielders, who in turn used totems to force the “Great Progenitor” to sleep. And this is the other new information: the Great Progenitor is what they call the first of them and what happens to her affects the rest of them (her forced slumber put every Drengir in the galaxy to sleep), indicating they are a hive mind. It is interesting that the same comic series that introduced this hive mind plant also has a Jedi duo (Ceret and Terec) who also operate similarly and seem more affected by the Drengir.
Meanwhile, on the Starlight Beacon, Jedi Master Maru, Jedi Knight Vernestra Rhow, and Padawan Imri Cantaros are doing an autopsy of the body of the dead Hutt found. The team discovers that the Hutt’s demise was not caused by the Nihil but by an infection from an unidentified plant…then a Drengir pops out of the Hutt’s corpse. The scene is quite horrific and something straight out of Swamp Thing or other pulpy horror films from the 70s.
Master Sskeer ends up proving to be quite as powerful as Keeve feels he is when the trandoshan beats the Drengir at their own game, getting a plant arm in the process. We will see if this is to the benefit or the detriment of the Jedi but they barely have time to worry about it when another problem arrives on Sedir Minor to provide another cliffhanger for the final stretch of the run.
But this issue also raises some interesting questions about the backstory of the Drengir, specifically in their dealings with the Sith. Drengir and the Sith were working together and what exactly would that look like, two different dark side entities working together and who had a greater influence on whom. Also, what was the greatest gain and what did the galaxy look like when both were dominating? Is Sskeer’s new connection to the Drengir unique or did a similar connection happen with the Sith? None of these questions are expected to be answered in this run of The High Republic but this makes the Drengir a little more interesting.
This issue also raises some interesting questions about the backstory of the Drengir, specifically in their dealings with the Sith. Drengir and the Sith were working together and what exactly would that look like, two different dark side entities working together and who had a greater influence on whom. Also, what was the greatest gain and what did the galaxy look like when both were dominating? Is Sskeer’s new connection to the Drengir unique or did a similar connection happen with the Sith? None of these questions are expected to be answered in this run of The High Republic but this makes the Drengir a little more interesting.
The High Republic Adventures #3 : Starlight
This month’s issue of The High Republic Adventures is less exciting as it follows a similar structure to the first issue, this time comparing the experiences of Zeen and her friend Krix. We learn that Yoda gave Krix, a holoprojector before he was taken off-world by the Nihil so that he and Zeen could communicate. Zeen is adjusting to life on the Starlight Beacon and getting closer to Lulu and the other Padawans while the Jedi Masters (including Avar Kriss) decide what to do with her. Meanwhile, with the Nihil, we learn why Marchion Ro showed interest in rescuing Elder Tromak: he is looking for an ancient relic hidden somewhere only Tromak knows. Tromak refuses to tell Ro but confides in Krix where the relic lies. With this knowledge, Krix seemingly betrays the Elder to the Nihil, who discovers the holoprojector has a tracking beacon. Zeen is also called upon by the Jedi to help with the Nihil while Krix is asked to help the Nihil set a trap for the Jedi. Both Zeen and Krix miss each other (although it is clear that Krix holds deep resentment that Zeen never mentioned her force sensitivity) but both are hesitant to help lead their respective sides to a confrontation. This issue had some odd pacing moments and I am not sure why there needed to be a full panel of all of Zeen’s friends on the Starlight Beacon to prove a point to the Jedi Masters that she could have a place in their ranks. Wouldn’t her connection to Lulu be enough, considering they had similar apprehensions of their abilities from the first issue? But mostly, this issue seemed like an information dump and filler on the way to a greater conflict.
Like Marvel’s The High Republic, this storyline from The High Republic Adventures is also supposed to run six issues so we are officially at the halfway point. It was a nice surprise that Marchion Ro showed up in this story so, if the search for the relic is not resolved in the next three issues, perhaps this is something that will carry over into other publishing mediums. Speaking of which, Avar Kriss also appears in this issue as one of the Jedi Masters discussing Zeen’s future with the Jedi.
I am not sure when The High Republic Adventures is supposed to take place compared to The High Republic series, but reading both these issues reminded me that the timeline within the era has already become confusing and could use some timestamp at the beginning of novels/comic issues. Not everyone is reading everything published and not even both comics but it was odd going from one story where Avar Kriss is in danger to another where she is hanging out on Starlight Beacon and not knowing which one comes first. I am sure there is an unofficial timeline of when every High Republic project takes place but it also made me wonder if there will be any time jumps between this first phase and the second. Until then, there are some interesting characters and plot threads introduced in both comic series that I hope continues in some way to have a presence throughout all phases.