Welcome back, EveryWookiee to a very exciting comic book review brought to you by TFAW! Today delivers the continuation of a new era in Star Wars comics, the publishing and release of Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures #1 by Daniel Jose Older and pencilled by Harvey Tolibao, and colored by Rebecca Nalty !
This issue is the first appearance of the Nihil in comics, Padawans Lula Talisola, Qort, Farzala, and Bibs, Jedi Knight Torban “Buckets of Blood” Buck, force-sensitive Zeen Mrala, her pet Cham Cham, and her friend Krix. This issue is also the first cameo appearance of Marchion Ro, Eye of the Nihil. If you want to keep track of High Republic first Appearances and Key Issues, check out our article where we track those over here!
This issue, to the best of my reckoning, is set during Soule’s Light of the Jedi. My reasoning is that the Great Catastrophe (i.e. pieces of the Legacy Run careening out of hyperspace on a collision course with planets) has not yet been resolved and it was by the end of Light of the Jedi. Also, the Nihil are up front and center in this issue and they enter a period of hiding by the end of Light of the Jedi.
We meet Lula and a handful of other Padawans on their way to respond to a planetary bombardment by one of those pieces of the Legacy Run. They are accompanied by Master Yoda and Torban “Buckets of Blood” Buck. However, the focus here is on the padawans. Planet-side, a force-sensitive child named Zeen, her pet Cham Cham, and Krix, are trying to escape the catastrophe when a Nihil spider-ship lands. Here, we get our first full fledged view of a Nihil raiding party in comics.
As with all first issues of comic series, especially those establishing a new era in an existing property, there is a fair amount of exposition here. However, Older weaves it naturally into the story in a way that doesn’t seem like an information dump and fleshes out the action playing out in the panels. This is an all-ages book, but the threat here is very real! There’s a chunk of spaceship the size of a city entering the atmosphere and the Nihil are here threatening to kill all who get in the way of their kidnapping plans.
Lula is depicted as an outwardly confident, yet inwardly doubtful Padawan who young readers can identify with. If character arcs need a starting point, a quietly nervous Padawan is as fresh a slate as you get! Hopefully, we get to see Lula grow into her role and attain the level of Jedi Knight. By the end of the issue, she has already seemingly recruited a new Jedi initiate, Zeen.
As I said before, the stakes are real here. Not only have the Nihil shown up, but their ruthless leader, Marchion Ro, appears in the final panel and wants to eradicate all Jedi present.
Harvey Tolibao gives us wonderfully detailed illsutrations of all types of galactic denizens including Dugs, Humans, Zygerrian and a half dozen other species in between. If I had one critique, it’s that Yoda seems slightly off-model. Then again, I’ve never seen Yoda 232 years younger than in Phantom Menace, so my benefit of the doubt says it might just take getting used to. Rebecca Nalty’s colors give us bright, bombastic visions of a formerly serene water planet and the terrifying fires of a foreign body careening into the atmosphere. This is a strong first entry into IDW’s High Republic offerings and far from a chore to read.