The first issue of the highly anticipated main Marvel Comics run of Star Wars: The High Republic (2023) Phase III by Cavan Scott and Ario Anindito kicked off last week and, in it, a handful of interesting characters appeared for the first time.
Fair warning: If you have not read it yet and you want to avoid spoilers, this is your time to bow out. Because I’ll be diving right into spoilers below the spoiler image in the post.
There will also be some minor spoilers from Star Wars: The High Republic – Eye of Darkness by George Mann.
Star Wars: The High Republic #1 starts with Keeve reflecting on her former master — Jedi Master Sskeer — and his fate. The last time she saw him he was fighting off the Nameless aboard the Starlight Beacon in an effort to let the others escape.
Then she’s interrupted by a holocall from Elzar Mann letting her know that the Hutts, who have a tenuous yet peaceful (for the most part) relationship with the Galactic Republic, are meeting with the Nihil. Presumably to create their own truce to take down Chancellor Soh, the Jedi and, the Republic.
Also on the ship are Velko Jan, the first appearance of a new Jedi named Ai-Dan, and a Jedi named Santar. Fun fact: Santar is the previously unnamed Jedi who appeared at the battle against the Drengir in The High Republic #8 from Phase I. Finally got a name.
We then cut to the Nihil showing up to Skarabda the Hutt’s fortress with a Nameless on a leash. That meeting includes three first appearances.
- The first appearance of Brother Lycos – Lonto & A Child of the Storm (more on that below)
- Masakene – Chief Steward of Skarabda the Hutt
- Envoy Affanar – Nihil Representative
Out of the three, the only one that holds any real significance to me is Brother Lycos. Here’s why…
Brother Lycos, The Lonto, and the Children of the Storm
Brother Lycos is an interesting character because he’s force sensitive and has vines that he shoots out of his hands (arms??) when attacking Keeve and the other Jedi. The vines make me think that he is a Lonto. Shoutout to @SCentralized on Twitter for the tip about him probably being Lonto.
The Lonto are a force sensitive species that can manipulate plants and vines using the force. They were both a species and a force religion that was a part of the Convocation of the Force on Jedha before (and probably after) the Battle of Jedha in Phase II of the High Republic. The Convocation of the Force was a committee of different representatives from Force religions to work together to advance their understanding of the Force.
In phase I the Nihil did not have any force sensitive allies. In fact, the predecessors to the Nihil, the Path of the Open Hand, were staunchly against using the force and waged war against the Jedi to try and eliminate them. Now the Nihil have decided to harness the force for themselves.
The Children of the Storm
This is a spoiler from George Mann’s novel, Star Wars: The High Republic – Eye of Darkness, so only proceed if you’re cool with spoilers. They’re minor… but still spoilers.
The Children of the Storm were force sensitive beings who were captured and imprisoned by the Nihil. They were under the control of an Ithorian Nihil leader named Dr. Boolan. He was a mad scientist of sorts who would torture and mutilate these force sensitive prisoners to break their will and make them fiercely loyal to Marchion Ro and the Nihil. This is a similar concept to Stockholm Syndrome.
This means that Lycos was captured, tortured, and mutilated to a point where his only way to get relief was by working FOR the Nihil. Time will tell if this brainwashing holds or if Keeve and Co. can turn him back to the lightside or if the only way to stop the pain is to put him down.
It is interesting though that the Nameless he brought with him didn’t devour him. The Nihil must have found a better way to control the beasts.
There are presumably multiple Children of the Storm out there and they will make for a fun adversary for the Republic and the Jedi without having to introduce new Sith and breaking continuity. I would bet that one of the missing Jedi from Phase I will will eventually be revealed as one of the Children.
All in all, it was a very fun start to Phase III and I’m really looking forward to seeing where Cavan and Ario take this thing. I’ll give some thoughts on that in my next post.
For light and life!
Grand Admiral Babu