Published: October 6, 2021
Writer: Daniel Jose Older
Artist: Toni Bruno
Colourist: Rebecca Nalty
Letterer: Johanna Nattalie
Cover Artist: Harvey Tolibao
The Padawan are off on another mission! This time to Takodana, to assist the lone Jedi defending the local Jedi temple against the ever-growing threat of the Nihils. But Qort has trouble focusing when he comes face to face with his own past amidst new dangers and old allies.
Oh, how I wait for this series every month. I don’t know how much more I can encourage you to read this series, but I’ll try! This series has already brought so much to The High Republic era and fits so perfectly with everything else that there is out there for this incredible event. Older has already sent us on a rollercoaster of adventures throughout and the next part of Back Together and Away Again promises even more of the exceptional writing. Last issue we had lone (and totally cool) Jedi on Takodana, as well as heroes finally back together. This issue promises a focus on Qort, one of the most lovable padawans so far. With aid of Toni Bruno, I really can’t wait to see what is in store for our characters…
This comic has a very different pace to some other issues of this series. This is a slower, more fun issue, the calm before the storm. It’s very easy to get caught up with the action of Star Wars, for crucial things to be happening all the time. Yet when you look at the films, rolling around on the hills of Naboo, listening to stories in an ewok hut, there are moments when the heroes need some quiet time. Older provides that moment with this comic. It allows our heroes to build their relationships and for us, as the reader, to catch our breathes and take stock of where we are.
It also allows Older the time to take a far deeper look into Qort. If you like this character before, this issue will cement your love for him. This is Qort’s story, examining how he became a Jedi, as well as learning more about his species. Older connects his story to Maz, a great touch by Older. It explains more about Maz, about how she is aware of the force but also her kind nature, even back during this time, when she has such a reputation. I like how these long-lived characters in Star Wars are able to make appearances, its a very different sort of time movement in the Star Wars galaxy compared to human life and Older has exploited this several times in the course of these stories. It is through Maz that Qort gains his mask and that is not a simple detail. The mask for Qort is a physical representation of what every Jedi has to go through. Qort as a child was angry, aggressive and couldn’t keep his feelings in check. Yet it’s the mask that helps to balance him, to give him focus to his end goal. Much like most Jedi, there is a battle between the light and dark, that the Jedi train to overcome to become fully knighted. Qort is a padawan and still going through this battle, hence why he is still wearing the mask. When he’s ready the mask will break off, much like a padawan’s braid for a Jedi will be cut when they have mastered their emotions and ready to be a knight. With a Jedi, you can’t physically see what they are doing to try and keep their emotions in check, however with Qort we can actually see the barrier that stops his emotions from taking over. It’s a fascinating device and a very original concept for Older to use.
While this is Qort’s story, Older also takes the time for us to get to know Sav more. This Jedi maybe my new favourite character; she isn’t your typical Jedi, playing a little with the Jedi rules. In a way, she reminds me very much of Quinlan Vos from the old Dark Horse series. She clearly has a lot of history with Maz (if Older wants to do another slow issue looking at The Battle of Jedha, I’d be very happy!) and her pirate enterprise, which I imagine has changed her views on a lot of things. Older also uses her for some fantastic one liners, that had me laughing out loud. She is the sort of rogue that you can really love having in a story. Older also uses her to send a clear message to readers as well, that although Qort’s mask may have deeper meaning, that items are sometimes just simply items. It is this hidden humour laced throughout the issue that really helps to keep the issue fun and light even when looking into the quite serious backstory of Qort.
There is more in terms of story that I would like to say, as Older does something that works very well but in the interest of spoilers, I won’t say too much now. All I shall say is that Older does not disappoint the further into the story we tread.
The artwork in this issue works so well. Bruno manages to take us into the forested areas of Takodana and then into the ma made structure of Maz’s castle with ease. The flow to the story is never an issue, Bruno is able to comfortably bring you along for this fun little adventure. For me, Bruno really brings Sav to life with the little winks and the knowing looks. It’s why this character’s humour works so well. We also have another beautiful datafile illustrating the parts of Maz’s castle and the Jedi Temple. These little one-page spreads really add something to these issues.
In every story there needs to be a pause, a moment to reflect. Older takes that opportunity here in order for him to tell the backstory of a beloved character. I love how, even with his mask off as a youngster, we still never get to see Qort’s true face, making the moment of when his mask does break off, to be truly special. Having a mask to control one’s emotions and as a shield to hide those emotions behind is a wonderful physical representation of what a lot of Jedi have to go through, and I can’t wait for this to be built on in the next issue. If you want to know more about Qort then this is the comic you’ve been waiting for, but more than that, this is another exceptional issue from an exceptional series that never wanes in its quality.
Star Wars High Republic Adventures is an ongoing series. Published by IDW on October 6, 2021, it is available from your local comic book store and online retailers. In the UK, it is available to order from Forbidden Planet.