Now that Phase II of the High Republic has officially wrapped, I figured it was a good time to take a look back at the phase as a whole.
In this post, I give my honest thoughts on the phase overall, give out some superlatives for stand-out characters and moments, and share my top comic speculation picks for what I believe to be the biggest key issue comics for Phase II of the High Republic.
Fair warning though, I am writing this post under the assumption that you are caught up with the books and comics for Phase II. Meaning there will be spoilers. If you’re cool with that you may continue. If not then you need to close this window and come back when you’re ready.
What I loved about The High Republic Phase II
The Path of the Open Hand was fascinating to me. In a phase with less dynamic characters than Phase I really enjoyed the Path, and more specifically The Mother, Marda, and Yana.
One of the main hurdles that I had to overcome mentally for Phase I of the High Republic was understanding how the Nihil were a threat to the Jedi and the Republic. How a group of space pirates could hold their own against thousands of space wizards with seemingly endless resources. The introduction of the leveler combined with the lack of a proper Republic defense force gave the Nihil a moment of opportunity to cause chaos.
Well that all started with the Path of the Open hand. I love that it started as a peaceful religion that became corrupted by the greed and need for vengeance of a single force user. Especially since their whole premise was that using the force was abuse.
I found the Path to be believable antagonist group right out of the gate. And while I felt the transition of the Path of the Open Hand to the Path of the Closed Fist felt a little sudden it does show how dangerous fringe groups can be when they believe their mission is a righteous one ordained from a higher power. In real life that’s usually religion and deities. In Star Wars it’s the Force itself.
What I didn’t love about High Republic Phase II
I personally am not all that invested in the Eiram v. E’ronoh plotline. I think Xiri and Phantu are fine characters. I think Chanselor’s Greylark and Mollo are great characters. But I find myself rushing to get through these chapters. Especially in Convergence. Mainly because I’m still unsure how it plays a part in the big picture of the High Republic publishing initiative.
Is its purpose just a plot device to introduce us to the Path? And the origin of the Leveler and Planet X? If so, I think we spent far too much time on it.
Favorite Character(s) from Phase II of the High Republic
Most Interesting Character(s)To me, this is a tie between Marda and Yana Ro. I am fascinated with the Evereni species and their contrasting dynamic with one of the other standout characters from Phase II, the Mother. Their characters were equally interesting as they were believable.
One is a naive zealot who is so steadfast in her beliefs that even when she’s directly told she’s been lied to she still doesn’t believe it. And the other is a warrior who becomes obsessed with revenge after her lover was killed by The Mother who eventually becomes the voice of reason for Marda.
Runner Up: I thought about putting The Mother here but I’m going with my girl Silandra Sho. She is by far my favorite new Jedi from Phase II. She’s a complete badass, carries an energy shield alongside her lightsaber, and is a shining example of what Jedi should be like.
Favorite Moment | High Republic Phase II
For the majority of Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton’s YA novel, Path of Deceit the story is peaceful as Kevmo Zink get’s to know Marda Ro, and the readers get details on the Path of the Open Hand. The book is fine for the first 60-70% but then gets intense as hell for the final stretch. Culminating in my favorite moment of the Phase, Kevmo Zink and his Master Zallah Macri rising and sudden death.
They decide to make a move on the Path. And as quickly as they stormed the Path’s compound they were dead. No elaborate battle. No long evil speeches. Just pure fear as a baby leveler hatches and drains them into ash piles in the dirt.
I also love how Marda Ro was going to tell off the Mother realizing she’s been manipulating people at the end but after witnessing her friend/love interest and his master get devoured by some wild alien murder dog she becomes even more devoted to the cause. This is a perfect example of how cult/fringe conspiracy members function. They will find any reason to show they were right all along. Anything to justify their actions no matter how far-fetched their beliefs are.
Runner up: Silandra Sho fighting the Brothers of the 9th Door at the Kyber Mirrors in The Battle of Jedha
Favorite Dumb Moment | High Republic Phase II
There’s a point in Path of Vengeance by Cavan Scott where Jedi Knight Oliveah Zeveron is chatting with Matty Cathlea on Dalna. She tells Matty a story about how she used to be so nervous going on visits with her Master, an Ugnaught named Fitan.
She then goes on to say that Master Fitan wanted to loosen her up a bit so on one diplomatic mission Fitan dropped mad ass right as the welcoming party showed up to show them to their quarters.
We’re talking full-on ruffle-the-skirt type fart. Deep and loud. It’s such a dumb moment but moments like that make a book fun by breaking up the tension in the story.
Favorite Open Order Cover Art | High Republic Phase II
Winner: Quest of the Jedi Cover B by Fico Ossio
Fico just nailed this one. The colors of the lightsaber pop nicely on the blue cover and shine like beacons of hope in an otherwise desolate situation. I am a big fan of this book (as this post states over and over) because it checks all of the boxes. Great cover, great story, and great interior art.
I cannot wait to get more Barnabas Vim and I hope Fico Ossio gets to draw him again.
Runner up: Star Wars: The High Republic #4 by Ario Anindito – The first cover appearance of Yana Ro and The Herald.
Favorite Ratio or Exclusive Cover Art | High Republic Phase II
Star Wars: The High Republic #10 Mico Suayan Exclusive
Exclusively sold by The Comic Corner, this variant is stunning to me. It does a fantastic job of portraying the vibe of Phase II as well. A Jedi is exhausted as the world as they know it crumbles around them. Forever changing the Jedi order and making way for the events from the next 150-200 years.
While the The Mother and the Path of the Open Hand were eventually defeated by the Jedi the events that went down on Jedha and Dalna have changed the way many feel about the Jedi. Blaming them for what happened.
You can still get this variant here at thecomiccornerstore.com.
Runner Up: A tie between the David Aja 1:25 for High Republic #9 and the Leinil Yu 1:25 variant for High Republic #10. Love seeing Werth wielding a saber against a Jedi. Takes big ole plums and a small brain to do that.
Best Book From Phase II of the High Republic
The Path of Vengeance by Cavan Scott is top in class for me. As much as I enjoyed the final adult novel of the phase, Cataclysm by Lydia Kang, it felt incomplete. It was that way by design. The stories intertwined so closely that both Cataclysm and Path of Vengeance both told a part of the conclusion as it relates to the characters in the books. The difference that made me like Cavan Scott’s better was that it told the conclusion of the Marda Ro, Yana Ro, The Mother, and The Path storyline. Which is just what I was most interested in.
Plus, as a comic guy, it was nice to see the Marvel comic characters, mainly Matty Cathlea, show up in the bigger story.
Runner Up: Path of Deceit by Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton. This is the first YA novel of the phase that leads directly into the events of Path of Deceit. It was fantastic. A little slow out of the gates but man does it end with a bang.
Top Comic Speculation Picks From Phase 2 of the High Republic
The comics listed below are my picks for the biggest keys from Phase II of the High Republic. While print run and scarcity play a large role in what becomes valuable over time, for this section I am mainly focusing on characters and key events that could be important in the future, thus driving up demand. Let’s take a look…
1) Star Wars: High Republic Adventures – Quest of the Jedi
First appearance of Barnabus Vim, Vix Fonnick, Master Zinn, and Azlin Rell. This issue also had the first mention of a new Sith named Darth Ravi. While I was hoping we would actually get to see the new Sith the real gem here is Barnabus Vim. He’s a “legendary Jedi” who is from an unknown amount of time before the events of Phase II of the High Republic.
And since his main role was to search out force artifacts he can be used to fill in backstory for any artifact that is used from the era. I think he could be a big character.
Plus the story ended in a way that certainly feels like we’re going to get more of him. Aside from covers A & B there is an exclusive variant from Grant Griffen that was exclusively sold by TFAW. It’s limited to 1500. I think that and the cover B from Fico Ossio are the variants you’ll want long-term.
It’s also worth noting that Dark Horse Star Wars comics are only available in North America with no publisher creating (or republishing) the stories in Europe, South America, etc. Meaning the Dark Horse keys could have staying power as people outside of North America decide to finally bite the bullet and pay for expensive shipping.
2) Star Wars: The High Republic #1 (2022)
This is on here because it has a TON of first appearances. Tey Sirrek, Matty Calthlea, Vildar Mac, and Oliviah Zeveron all have their first appearances in this book. On top of that many new/existing Dark Side force religions (and their leadership) were either introduced or first visualized in the story.
This issue was ordered heavily so it may take time for supply to catch up with demand. That being said it no doubt sold less than Star Wars: The High Republic #1 from Phase I as that kicked off a brand new era right as the comic market went insane.
After reading the YA Path of Deceit also written by Cavan Scott i’m intrigued with Matty and Oliviah. Seems there’s a lot more story to be told with them.
3) Star Wars: The High Republic #4
This is the first appearance of Werth Plouth aka The Herald and Yana Ro. The Ro sisters are fascinating characters on their own but when you add in the fact that their bloodline leads to Marchion Ro it adds another big layer of intrigue for me.
I would be surprised if this is the last we see of the Ro sisters and since Marda Ro has yet to appear in a comic, Yana is the one to collect.
4) Star Wars: The High Republic – The Blade #1
First appearance of Barash Silvain. Barash and Porter Engle were inseparable until the events of The Blade take place and Barash takes a vow to remove herself from the Jedi Order to find balance and peace. This is the origin story of the Barash Vow that was first mentioned in Charles Soule’s Darth Vader run from 2017.
This is an important piece of Star Wars lore that will likely keep people interested in this issue over the long haul. Also, Barash survives! So it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of her.
Another Barash Silvain spec variant to keep your eye on is the 1:25 variant for Star Wars: The Blade #2 by Mico Suayan as it’s her first cover appearance and largely underordered. It was selling as high as $100 after release.
5) Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures – The Nameless Terror #1
This issue is jam-packed with new characters and includes the first comic appearances of Jedi Master Rok Buran, Jedi Master Sula Badini, Jedi Master Xinith Tarl, Padawan Coron Solstus, and Geth and Wole from the Path of the Open Hand.
It’s also worth noting that Coron Solstus eventually goes on to become Ty Yorrick’s master before she leaves the order in shame for killing another Padawan who was overcome by the dark side and becoming a monster hunter for hire.
6) Star Wars: The High Republic – The Blade #3
First full appearance of General Viess [“vice”]. Viess is an interesting character who was hyped up as an important character by Charles Soule on The High Republic Show on Youtube. He said while she is introduced here her impact is significantly felt in Phase III of the High Republic.
Since we now know that Mirialans can live hundreds of years thanks to Vernestra Rwoh’s (also Mirialan) inclusion in the upcoming series, The Acolyte, it’s safe to say that Viess will be back in phase III meaner than ever. I still think she may be force sensitive as she mentioned being a Jedi killer. Not a feat that many single non-force users can claim.
Overall Speculation Thoughts For High Republic Phase II
Speculating on a prequel-type phase can be tricky because when you think about a lot of the Phase II characters they are really there to fill in some blanks from Phase I and explain why things will happen in Phase III.
Meaning many characters simply exist to provide backstory for the Phase I and III storylines. For speculation purposes if you take a character like The Mother or Marda Ro, big characters from Phase II, is there enough meat on the bones after Phase II for them to get a show, game, movie, etc? The Mother, no. Not really. Marda Ro? Maybe another book but a show? Hard to tell.
But characters like Barnabus Vim are detached from the main initiative and are much more likely to get more media about them. Characters like that and/or characters with long life spans are the best bet. It’s why I like speculation picks related to Burryaga, Porter Engle, any Mirialan, etc.
My Overall Impression of High Republic Phase II
I liked it. I didn’t love it like I did Phase I, but I liked it. I think my main gripes with the phase were the heavy focus on the Eiram and E’ronoh storyline and that most of the Jedi were pretty generic. While I loved Matty Cathlea or Silandra Sho there were 5 Jedi who had nothing unique about them, i.e. Char-Ryl-Roy, Creighton Sun, Aida Forte, etc. If they weren’t a big part of the story I would not remember them at all. When you compare that to Stellen Gios, Avar Kriss, Elzar Mann, etc. from Phase I it’s tough to say they stack up.
And how Eiram and E’ronoh were not severely punished by the Republic for attacking a city that was kind enough to host their peace treaty. Their destruction of Jedha going unpunished is just wild to me.
That being said I loved the Path of the Open hand. Both in concept and execution. They weren’t some mindless villain group that randomly hated the Jedi. They were moms, dads, brothers, and sisters who were radicalized by a charismatic leader. Aside from the violence, their initial rationale for not liking force users was believable. Aside fI especially love how Marda Ro stayed with the Path even though it was proven to her over and over again that she was being lied to.
I love that we got some answers as to where the levelers came from, what planet x is, and why Dalna was so important.
I feel like the YA Novels were the stars of the phase and were the only part of phase II that I liked more than their phase I counterparts.
I’ll have a phase III prediction post coming soon with my best guesses on how everything will tie together in the final phase (for now) of the High Republic publishing initiative.
For life and light!
Grand Admiral Frik