Release Date: December 15th, 2021
Star Wars: The High Republic Annual #1 contains five stories set in The High Republic era, which existed 300 years before the first Star Wars film (Star Wars Episode IV), and was an era where the Jedi and the Republic were at their peak. I’ve been enjoying the stories set during this timeline, it’s always fun to break away from the Skywalker tether and explore other periods and places in the Star Wars universe.
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Below, is a synopsis for each story contained in Star Wars: The High Republic Annual #1, along with credits and my score for each:
“Set for Life” (Written by Charles Soule, Art, and Colors by Sam Beck, Letters by Johanna Nattalie) – Jedi Master Loden Greatstorm, his padawan Bell Zettifar and Bell’s charhound Ember have to save miners trapped after a mine collapse. During the rescue, Bell is faced with a moral dilemma. The relationship between Loden and Bell is more of a traditional teacher/student relationship than that of Ob-Wan and Anakin and presents an interesting moment of truth for Bell. (7.8)
“No Stone Unturned” (Written by Claudia Gray, Art by Jason Loo, Colors by Megan Huang, Letters by Neil Uyetake) – Smuggler Leox Gyasi, his sentient rock co-pilot Geode and Affie Hollow are hired to grab a gemstone from ruins on a backwater world, and run into conflict with the natives. Leox’s pacifist approach to things (the opposite of Han Solo’s “shoot first and ask questions later” approach) is an interesting new take on a Star Wars character, and this is a nice little jaunt with not a Jedi in sight. (8.2)
“First Mission” (Written by Justina Ireland, Art, and Colors by Yael Nathan, Letters by Neil Uyetake) – Jedi Masters Lynela Kabe-Oyu and Stellan Gios, along with Stellan’s new padawan Vernestra Rwoh, attend a diplomatic banquet, where things end up being anything but peaceful and diplomatic. Vernestra is wonderfully spunky and capable, kind of like a more humble version of Anakin from the prequel trilogy, and we get an appearance from a major character in Star Wars lore. (8.5)
“Crash and the Crew Do What They Do” (Written by Daniel Jose Older, Art, and Colors by Jesse Lonergan, Letters by Jake M. Wood) –Crash and her team are hired as security for the Chancellor of the Republic (Lina Soh) when she visits Corellia, and chaos ensues. Crash seems like an interesting character, but the story is so short and there are so many characters in it, she and all the other members of her team get lost in the momentum of the plot. The story sets up a cliffhanger of sorts, so hopefully, there will be a much longer story with Crash and her team in the future. (7)
“The Haul” (Written by Cavan Scott, Art, and Colors by Stefano Simeone, Letters by Nathan Widick) – Lourna Dee and Storm Slombo of the Nihil attempt to raid a vault on the Outer Rim world of Quilken, but run into unexpected trouble. Lourna Dee’s relentless “smash and attack” style makes her an imposing figure, and the story ends on a surprisingly humorous note. (7.5)
Star Wars: The High Republic Annual #1 gives a good sampling of the various characters and locations from the High Republic era. There are a few characters here I’d love to see again in longer tales.