Star Wars: The High Republic #1 Review - Generic Yes, But At Least It's New
I picked up The High Republic #1 last week while visiting my local comic shop. I was on the fence about picking it up at all but it was new Star Wars and I figured I'd give it a shot. I finished reading it and didn't feel anything at all. The general apathy turned into me forgetting the plot altogether and I reread the issue again before posting the review. I've seen opinions all over the place about this issue and the overall "High Republic" story arc and my reaction is somewhere in the middle.
The High Republic #1 isn't bad it's not great either. At first glance the comic reads like a generic Star Wars story with the potential to develop along two paths. It will become something worth reading or it will be memory-holed within a year as more exciting Star Wars stories are told.
The comic follows Keeve. She's a padawan on the verge of being knighted but first, she needs to complete her Jedi trials. The story cuts back and forth between Keeve, her Jedi Master Sskeer, and the impending dedication of "Starlight Beacon", a space station that will serve as a beacon of hope for the galaxy.
Aside from those two elements not much happens by way of plot and your enjoyment of the material will probably split along the lines of how much you enjoy this sort of storytelling. From my perspective, there isn't much here to judge. It's obvious that the story is going to be decompressed and by the end of the issue is we still in setup territory.
This is a huge problem across the industry so It wouldn't be fair to blame "The High Republic" exclusively for being long-winded. My main gripe is that as a weekly comic reader I don't want to play this game with Marvel or DC anymore. You'll probably get more out of this story by waiting for the Trade and reading it in a single session than winging it month to month.
The characters aren't really fleshed out which is fair because this is the first issue. None of them are particularly endearing, or even likable. Keeve's main trait is that she swears constantly and at inappropriate times. We've seen the character's archetype before and although I'm not impressed Keeve isn't a bad character. Everyone else is pretty bland and otherwise generic, even Yoda who makes a brief cameo.
The art direction doesn't elicit any excitement for the series. Ario Anindito's linework isn't horrible but it's just as bland as the script. This is a consequence of the story being told. Much has been made about the characters being "Woke" or SJW" I didn't get that vibe while reading but I am tired of the default look for Black Women being a shaved head or a mohawk. Again, it wouldn't be fair to single out Star Wars for this when it seems to be an across the board look for Black Women.
The comic feels safe, corporate and this carries across every aspect of the issue. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it's part of why I don't care for these sorts of stories. The one aspect that I think is worth propping out is that aside from Yoda popping up this is an entirely new story set in the Star Wars universe.
For those in the audience that are tired of revisiting the Skywalker Saga, you're finally getting something different. It would have been really easy for Disney to put out another Boba Fett comic and although the opening issue didn't quite connect with me I appreciate the effort. Hopefully, the series turns into something worthwhile.