Max gets to grips with the conclusion to the Star Wars: The High Republic The Edge Of Balance series. But is it worth your credits?
The first of what will be considered canon Star Wars anime was released in the form of a manga. The Edge of Balance had heavy Japanese roots in both the design and art along with it being co-authored by Shima Shinya. Part 1 was Justina Ireland as well, and she is undoubtedly my favorite of the current High Republic authors. Yet Part 2 was in Daniel Jose Older’s court, and I am always skeptical about him. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Part 2. And I’d even go so far as to say I like it better than Part 1!
We take off right where Part 1 ended. Jedi Knight Lily Tora-Asi is shouldering the responsibility of watching over the Jedi Temple on Banchii while her Jedi Master is away. And she struggles to keep it together. She is also responsible for the villagers who live around the temple, as well as her Padawan Keerin and 2 Jedi Younglings. They have just recovered from a Drengir attack and Lily fears the Nihil may be in the system. Hidden and waiting.
I have to say that I love the design of the Banchii Jedi Temple. It really has a classic Feudal Japan feel and is just fun to look at. The fight sequences are a little less than desired because they are a little disjointed. But overall the artwork is stunning. Lily is very unsure of her role as protector, and I can very much relate to that. Being away from your teacher/parent is scary and being put in charge of something can be daunting.
Lily is a little bit annoying to me, however, as I feel she is sometimes too stiff and a little harsh on the younglings. I criticized her for being a hypocrite in the last part. And thankfully she seems to have learned that she is not perfect and cannot expect those beneath her to be perfect as well.
The star of this manga is truly the new character Jedi, Master Sav Malagan. Sav is the same species as the lethal bounty hunter Embo from The Clone Wars, and she clashes with Lily on how best to serve the villagers and the Banchii Jedi Temple. Sav thinks that they should be instructed on how to fight, and thinks little good will come from the bunkers the villagers are building. Lily is very stubborn and Sav wisely advises her to be less rigid, and more like water. It is a powerful metaphor and I think it makes sense across the board.
Stellan Gios briefly appears in this volume, and he too feels that Lily is not flexible enough. The Nihil attack, which is a given, and Lily learns too hard lessons. Sometimes you have to be unconventional to win, and letting go is always hard. However, unlike many Jedi I have read in The High Republic era, Lily is the best so far in dealing with loss. She deals with it as a true Jedi. Quickly accepting it and knowing that the deceased is one with the Force.
In this way, she could be a role model for many Jedi. Cough Cough Elzar Man. I also reveled at seeing the Nihil’s secret hide-out in No Space for the first time. And it appears to be housed on an asteroid shaped artificially into that of a platform. I think? It looks like Kami’s Lookout from Dragonball, mixed with the platform in Super Smash Bros Melee. We don’t see much of Marchion Ro in this comic. But in the brief moments he is, we are reminded of how cold and brutal he is. Also, to my surprise, we are getting a Volume 3, yet we aren’t sure when as the manga didn’t give a date.
I really liked this adventure and feel it improved from the last volume. I also realized that this manga is in a unique position. Because it is technically the last story of Phase 1 of The High Republic initiative. Phase 2 is going to be very unorthodox and take a backward leap 100 years prior. Why they are doing this is beyond me, but I like the ambition and I’m sure they will wrap everything else in Phase 3. However, Volume 3 of this manga will possibly give us a sneak peek at what will happen in the wake of Starlight Beacon’s destruction, and the fate of Macharion Ro and the Nihil.
Star Wars: The High Republic – The Edge Of Balance 2 by Justina Ireland is published by Disney Books and is available to buy NOW. UK fans can pre-order yours here with an estimated release date of June 23, 2022.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!