The third issue of Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows serves as a convergence point for Marvel’s mainline High Republic comics and Daniel José Older’s High Republic Adventures. In it, we see Emerick console Keeve in the aftermath of Xais, and we see a different point of view of the Rumble Race, confirming that these stories are all happening concurrently.
Star Wars: The High Republic: Trail of Shadows (#3)
Jedi Master Emerick Caphtor and Sian Holt are joined by Stellan Gios as they continue to investigate what happened on Valo. They haven’t gotten very far with their investigation, but they have pieced together that someone within the Nihil is betraying the Eye and that Lina Soh’s inner circle may also be compromised. Until it’s proven otherwise, I am still convinced that Samera—who Elzra Mann has a brief romantic interlude with in The Rising Storm—is the Nihil spy.
At the Nihil Basecamp in No Space, a shirtless Marchion Ro answers a call from Uttersound and reveals that he knows that someone is going around the Black Market, offering to sell a weapon that could take down the Jedi Order. Uttersound feigns ignorance, but Marchion Ro clearly knows that the “mange-crusted gutter rat” is up to no good. Throughout the issue, the Nihil watch Uttersound and eventually discover that someone has been betraying Marchion Ro, undoubtedly setting the scene for the next wave of High Republic era novels.
In addition to being a skilled private investigator, Sian Holt is also a singer, and the trio makes a short stop at the Vaba Blanks Midnight Den to watch her perform. While she goes on stage, this allows Emerick and Stellan to have a little conversation, catching readers up on the state of their relationship with the characters around them. Most interestingly, it’s blatantly implied that Stellan and Avar Kriss have some sort of history (perhaps in the same vein as the relationship Avar has/had with Elzar Mann). But Stellan also points out that Emerick and Sian are growing close to each other—which they have and they continue to grow closer throughout this issue.
Their evening out is cut short when Avar Kriss calls Stellan and informs him that another attack has taken place, sending the trio back to the Starlight Beacon, where we see Ceret and Terec in their grim conditions. There’s one really brilliant panel in this section, where Sian watches intently as Emerick comforts Keeve. There’s so much emotion in one single panel that you almost forget you’re reading a comic and not watching this unfold in live-action. Kudos to Dave Watcher who knows how to capture emotion so well.
The tension and high emotions that we saw in The High Republic (#12) seem to be an even more contentious point of conflict in The Trail of Shadows. Stellan seems to be barely holding it together, as he snaps at Emerick and Sian about what happened on Grizal—angry that anyone would suggest it was a hallucination—and the high emotions are only compounded by Avar Kriss’ less-than-pleasant personality. Emerick brushes it off as a byproduct of Avar, Stellan, and Elzar being close as Padawans and now being faced with a galaxy hanging in the balance, but Avar Kriss is terse, overly righteous, and a little egotistical at the best of times.
Trail of Shadows ends on an unexpectedly sweet note, as Emerick shows Sian around the beacon and they wind up in a garden. There, Sian brings up Emerick’s moment with Keeve and they pair discuss the fact that Jedi aren’t supposed to form attachments—that they’re supposed to be stoic and unflinching—but ultimately, Emerick points out that he’s still human. But before he gets a chance to fully finish his thought, Sian hugs him and offers him a little long-overdue comfort. I don’t know where Older plans to take this duo, but I love them so much.
With the end of the year and the next wave of The High Republic mere weeks away, Trail of Shadows very much feels like the calm before the storm.
Maggie Lovitt is the Managing Editor of Entertainment at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery. She is also a freelance writer and News Editor at Collider. She has had bylines at Inverse, Polygon, and Dorkside of the Force. She is also a member of the Hollywood Critics Association.
When she is not covering entertainment news, she can be found on one of her numerous podcasts or on her YouTube channel. In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.