Comic Review – A mystery is partially solved in “Star Wars: The High Republic – Trail of Shadows” #5

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With The High RepublicConcluding in both the novels and comics published by Lucasfilm Publishing and its licensees, the early stages of , begin to unravel the pieces about a mystery that has plagued the Jedi for months, both in the real world and in the time of universe to put in place.

Back in Cavan Scott’s novel Star Wars: The High Republic – The Gathering Storm (released last summer), readers were introduced to an unnamed new menace capable of draining the Jedi of their powers and sanity, ultimately leaving them a lifeless pod of dust on the ground if exposed for too long. And the Marvel Comics miniseries Star Wars: The High Republic – Trail of Shadowswritten by Daniel José Older with excellent emotional art by Dave Wachter, explored this mystery and launched an investigation into who or what is this terrifying being intriguingly referred to as the “Leveler” in non-canon interviews with the High Republic Authors – maybe.

For the last four issues, Jedi Master Emerick Caphtor has teamed up with private detective Sian Holt to solve this enigmatic mystery, and their path has led them straight back to the massive space station known as the Starlight Beacon – the home base of the Jedi Order in the outer edge. Of course, they get there just like the cataclysmic disaster described in Claudia Gray’s book Star Wars: The High Republic – The Fallen Star takes place. With the help of two Chadra fan companions (one a helpful citizen on the side of good, the other a deliciously amoral scientist) they must enter the doomed station to help evacuate survivors – and to become one of the Hunting creatures that exist now plagues Starlight Beacon.

This is a fantastic climate theme for trail of shadows, featuring Caphtor and Holt (who still love the buddy cop partnership name) and Master Torban “Buckets of Blood” Buck and the Padawans he intends to save. But that can’t happen until Caphtor has the evidence he needs so the Jedi can study the beast’s anatomy and hopefully find a way to fight back. There’s a great scene where the two detectives have to brave the effects of the Leveler (we do sort of learn his real name in this issue, although I won’t reveal that information in this review) in order to get physically closer to it, and this is where the art and writing of this comic really come together to deliver something special. And while that miniseries has come to an end, the aftermath of those events promises even more The High Republic and examining our protagonists for the nature of this threat. But right now I’m just incredibly satisfied to have consumed a first class film noir crime story set in the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars: The High Republic – Trail of Shadows #5 is now available wherever comics are sold.

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