The High Republic: Heart of the Drengir Part 1

Holy s&@£!

After breaking our hearts with Issue 5 and then in ‘The Rising Storm’, Cavan Scott starts to heal one of those brutally inflicted wounds.

Set in the time period around Scott’s recent novel ‘The Rising Storm’ following the oft mentioned battle against the monstrous Drengir led by Avar Kriss and Myarga the Hutt.

The latest battle is taking place on Daivak and The Drengir are winning. Leading Avar to put a call to Starlight Beacon for all Jedi to come to their aid.

On Starlight, Master Maru updates Stellan Gios on Avar’s situation and also on the condition of Master Sskeer, who seemed to have died after allowing Keeve to invade his mind to learn about The Drengir that had contaminated him.

Wracked with guilt, Keeve is desperate to help her Master and, in an attempt to help him, tries to connect with his mind but is seemingly taken by The Drengir.

Nice inside Sskeer’s mind, their spirits meet and go on a search through the Drengir part of Sskeer’s mind to find The Great Progenitor, or ‘The First Seed’. They are held back at first but with help from Maru and the Jedi Archivist, Orbalin they are able to push The Drengir mind back enough to find The Great Progenitor.

To break their connection, Sskeer rips the Drengir arm from his body, severing any connection with the monsters and waking up from his strange coma. Also, through chance or the Force, the location of ‘The First Seed’ is engraved in Keeve’s armour, a planet called Mulita, hidden deep in Wild Space.

If someone would have told me that ‘The High Republic’ would give us an image of a Hutt on a Hover Chair leading three Jedi, two of which are riding Rancors and the other on a Speederbike I would tell that person to sit down, have a glass of water and relax until the crazy had passed.

And then I would have eaten my words.

Because this image is everything!

And it’s not even the icing on the cake that is this issue and Cavan Scott is doing that thing again where he has two battles taking place, much like last issue, with Avar Kriss and her group fighting The Drengir on the battle ground whilst Keeve and Sskeer fight them on a more spiritual plane.

Firstly, I was was relieved to see Sskeer still alive, albeit in some sort of coma and being kept that way to stop the spread of his symbiotic Drengir attachment. Keeve, feeling guilt for putting her Master into this state pleads with the Doctor on Starlight Beacon to help him more than they already have, with Keeve being concerned about Sskeer’s revelation that his connection to the Force was getting weaker. The Doctor responds with a question, which I hadn’t actually considered, that he was having a crisis of faith. Which would make a lot of sense seeing as it started after losing his arm and one of his closest friends, Jora Malli during the Battle of Kur (in ‘Light of the Jedi’ by Charles Soule).

Keeve entering Sskeer’s mind and connecting with The Drengir part of him, resulting in Avar Kriss sensing the newly Knighted Keeve as a part of The Drengir in the Force is just creepy, and the horror vibe continues with images of The Great Progenitor, dwarfing Keeve and Sskeer, followed by The Drengir leader surrounded by its followers.

In the hands of lesser writers, The Drengir could come across as pretty lame villains, their one track mind of eating living beings feels like it could get old very quickly, but so far they have been handled well, and Scott has written them amazingly through this series and this issue is no different, adding new layers to the creatures and making them more menacing as well as adding in a hint of backstory that I hope gets expanded in a later issue.

This issue sees the introduction of Georges Jeanty as the artist, and he absolutely nailed it, keeping the high standard that Anindito filled the first five issues with. Scott is delivering on all cylinders yet again, which at this point should be a given.

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