T

he High Republic launched in January 2020 as a multimedia publishing initiative. A diverse group of writers set out to tell the story of a galaxy, and Republic, at its peak 200 years before the events of the Prequel Era. Originally titled Project Luminous, this story would be told through books, comics, manga, and even short stories. While the novels have rightfully gained a massive following in the Star Wars community, this guide will focus on the comics and manga in Phase I of the initiative. These stories were published by Marvel, IDW, and Viz Media.

If you want more information on The High Republic era, the structure of phases and waves, and the initiative as a whole, check out Youtini’s High Republic Hub where you can even see how all of the comics mentioned below fit into the larger narrative.

The Series

There are several different series that make up Phase I:

The High Republic and The High Republic Adventures are ongoing series that run throughout the entire Phase. Each other title is a miniseries (or manga) which tell a much more contained story through a limited number of issues.

The High Republic

The High Republic Vol 1 cover
Image Credit: Marvel Comics

The flagship title, The High Republic by Cavan Scott with art by Ario Anindito, follows newly knighted Jedi Keeve Trennis. Although Keeve is the main character for the series, the book revolves around the Jedi of Starlight Beacon more generally, including Marshall Avar Kriss who was first introduced in Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi . Throughout the story, the Jedi fight back the efforts of the Drengir and the Nihil in the Outer Rim leading to a climax that correlates with major events in Claudia Gray’s The Fallen Star. This series also dives into the relationship between Keeve and her former master Sskeer, as the latter Jedi struggles with the temptations of the Dark Side as well as his connection to the Force itself.

The High Republic Adventures

The High Republic Adventures Vol 1 cover
Image Credit: IDW Comics

This next title is the main all-ages comic, written by Daniel José Older with art by Harvey Tolibao. The story revolves around padawan Lula Talisola, her fellow Jedi in training, and their close friend Zeen Mrala, who is introduced in the first issue. Despite this story being targeted at younger readers, don’t let that dissuade you. The story is engaging from beginning to end as it highlights the perils of war alongside the trials of youth. THRA also deserves acknowledgement and accolades for its great representation of queer characters and plotlines in Star Wars. Beyond this comic series, Race to Crashpoint Tower and Midnight Horizon are great books to add if you really enjoy it and wish to spend more time with these characters.

And hey. They’re even written by the same author!

One important note, reading this story is not super easy at time of writing. Single issues are no longer open for purchase digitally. In addition, about a third of the issues did not end up getting collected in trade paperbacks. For the uncollected issues, try visiting your local comic book store and asking around. You can also check IDW’s online store to see what they have in terms of backstock.

Trail of Shadows

Trail of Shadows cover
Image Credit: Marvel Comics

This is the first miniseries of the list, written by Daniel José Older with art by David Wachter. This is a 5-issue story arc that spans between The Rising Storm and the end of The Fallen Star. Rather than a customary fantasy story, Trail of Shadows presents a crime noir tale that follows Jedi Emrick Caphtor, a brilliant detective, and Sian Holt, an equally brilliant yet not so much Jedi private detective. If you are very invested into the in-depth lore of The High Republic, this is a must read as the story heavily builds on important story elements that aren’t explained anywhere else yet affect them all the same.

The Monster of Temple Peak

The Monster of Temple Peak Issue 1 cover
Image Credit: IDW Comics

The Monster of Temple Peak provides the next miniseries of the initiative and gives us a 4-issue story written by Cavan Scott with art by Rachael Stott. This comic gives the backstory of former Jedi and monster hunter Ty Yorrick, and while it is pretty self-contained, it remains a solid story for fans of Ty. Like part of The High Republic Adventures, this is not currently in a trade paperback or for purchase digitally. Again, trying your local comic book store or IDW’s shop is the best bet for the time being.

Eye of the Storm

Eye of the Storm 1 cover
Image Credit: Marvel Comics

The final comic of Phase I is a two-issue arc from Marvel, written by Charles Soule with art by Guillermo Sanna. Pitched as the capstone of Phase I, Eye of the Storm tells the backstory of Nihil leader Marchion Ro and gives the audience an outlook at his future plans. Like Trail of Shadows, this has large implications on the story as a whole and is a must read for those eager for any morsel of information they can find about future High Republic stories. An important note for future readers, this is collected in The High Republic Vol. 3.

The Edge of Balance

Edge of Balance 1 cover
Image Credit: Viz Media

This is a rather unique story in Star Wars publishing history as The Edge of Balance series is a proper manga currently containing two volumes at the time of publication. The first was created by Justina Ireland and Shima Shinya, while the second still features Shima Shinya but brings Daniel José Older on to help craft the story. The end of Volume 2 did mention Volume 3 was coming, but it is currently unclear when that will arrive at the time of publication. This manga follows Jedi Knight Lily Tora-Asi on the Jedi Outpost at Banchii. The Jedi there are struggling with a Drengir threat, but this one is unique from anything seen before. Similar to The Monster of Temple Peak, this story is a bit more self-contained. However, it begins to branch out more in Volume 2. The Jedi of Banchii connect directly to the larger story told within Wave III as the Nihil threat escalates, and they even visit Starlight Beacon.

Conclusion

Now, you should have all of the tools and information you need to navigate the comics of The High Republic Phase I. With Phase II coming in the fall, this is the perfect time to get caught up. We already know that Daniel José Older, Claudia Gray, and Charles Soule are confirmed to be writing comic stories, and in addition to the new comic authors, Phase II also brings a new publisher as Dark Horse returns to Star Wars.

For more information about these upcoming events and all things Star Wars comics, be sure to keep your eyes on Youtini and check out The Cosmic Force every Wednesday night at 8pm Eastern.

Jacob is a law student living in Indiana. He has been a Star Wars fan for as long as he can remember: growing up with hand-me-down Kenner action figures and the 1995 VHS box set. He currently produces The Cosmic Force podcast, and assists with anything regarding Star Wars comics. In his limited free time, Jacob enjoys craft beer and bar trivia, as well as spending time with his dog Ruby.