The High Republic #5: Attack of the Hutts
The Hutts arrive just in time to join the fun of fighting the Drengir in Marvel’s The High Republic #5 (coming out a week later than usual) but one of the most action-packed issues in the series. This is the beginning of a new arc and we open with an introduction to Myarga the Benevolent, a member of the Hutt cartel who promptly tells the Jedi to leave Sedri Minor because it is a part of Hutt Space.
It doesn’t take long for Master Sskeer, influenced by the Drengir and dark side, to lose patience with Myarga and attack the Hutt. Then more Drengir show up, on Sedri and on Starlight Beacon, attacking Vernestra and her Padawan Imri. Both Vernestra and Keeve Trennis try to retaliate against the Drengir by using their lightsabers to cut the roots (Vernestra cuts the ones that hold her Padawan and Keeve the ones that are coming out of her former Master’s arm). Both attempts are unsuccessful and the Drengir mock the “meat,” the term they apply to any of their potential victims.
I must say that, while I am not the biggest fan of the Drengir so far in The High Republic, something is intriguing about sentient plants that treat other beings the same way most humans treat plant life in our world: not as a living thing but as a means to some sort of gratification. We cut down countless trees for resources and land, grow flowers and other plants because they are aesthetically pleasing while pulling the weeds. This might not be the angle the writers are going for and, right now, there are no redeeming qualities about the Drengir to empathize with as they all seem to have one mind with the same purpose: to conquer and destroy. Then again, one could say the same thing about humankind.
Sskeer manages to break free of the Drengir control long enough to tell Keeve that she must convince the Drengir that they, the “meat”, is rotten and will infect them so they back off. Keeve seems to have a specialty in communicating with creatures (as she did with the Ridadi in issue #1) and this proves to work. Keeve force-communicates with the Drengir and convinces them that they are all contaminated and the plant monsters retreat on Sedri and on Starlight…but potentially at a cost for Sskeer.
We also learn why Sskeer has seemed more disconnected and it turns out that Avar Kriss not being able to hear Sskeer’s song in issue #1 was an important line as Sskeer confesses to Keeve that he is losing his connection to the force. This might be due to his unresolved trauma from Light of the Jedi or the Drengir but it presents another hurdle for the poor Trandoshan Jedi Master. It is also a touching moment of vulnerability for Sskeer, confiding in Keeve and seems to be an important shift in their relationship. Ceret and Terec seem to be back to their old selves and it is good to see that both are ok. But no one is out of the woods yet as they will still have to deal with Hutts and their territorial claims in the coming issues. And the Drengir are still out there, broken but not defeated.
The High Republic Adventures #4: The Mountain
It doesn’t take long to connect the title to the theme of The High Republic Adventures #4. On the first page, we learn that Padawan Lula Talisola understands the force as a mountain that cannot be moved and when a Jedi is one with it, everything is possible. The High Republic team said that readers would learn that each Jedi in this era sees the force as something: Burryaga views the force as a forest of trees, Elzar Mann a raging sea, and Bell Zettifar as a flaming light. Avar Kriss is an outlier as she doesn’t necessarily see the force but hears it as a song and can connect with Jedi by hearing their “songs.” Lula is trying to meditate with Zeen, whose status within the Order is still unresolved, but the girl’s mind is on her friend Krix. There is little time to discuss it because an alarm rings out on the Jedi outpost on Ord Mantell and reports go out of a possible Nihil attack, which sends Jedi Masters and Knights away, including Lula’s Master Kantam Sy, Buckets of Blood, and Yoda.
This is all a diversion by Marchion Ro, who is on the junk moon Quantxi, putting Krix through a loyalty test. In the vein of Darth Vader, Marchion wants Krix to prove himself useful to justify the Nihil leader keeping him alive. He messes up, failing to kill a trash keeper before they can send out a distress call (which is a good thing I suppose). But Krix is still a selfish brat and sends Zeen a message stating that if she rescues him, he’ll forgive her for lying to him about being force-sensitive. It is a trap but it works and Zeen leaves her well-intentioned, good friends to rescue a bad friend.
We have to wait to see how that works out for her but the Padawan team of Lula, Farzala, and the unintelligible Qort take a ship to go after her to help while Lula rethinks the way she views the force. While the Jedi fleet tries to radio for reinforcements from Starlight, Yoda realizes that the distress signal came from Quantxi and hopes they are not too late.
This is an issue where I remind myself that this comic series is geared more towards younger Star Wars fans and that the next issue will have more focus on Marchion Ro. I really enjoyed the first issue but, if it wasn’t for Marchion Ro and the plot to find an artifact that could prove significant to the overall High Republic story, I might not continue. On the positive, I am enjoying these galactic data file inserts and this month is all about the lightsabers, highlighting Farzala’s weapon. I do like what little we have had of the Zygerrian Padawan and hope he gets more to do.
Also, this suit Marchion Ro has for the cover of the next issue feels very steampunk, which is a perfect style for a space pirate leader.