New Book Nook: Heartbreak Comes to the Outer Rim in Edge of Balance 2

Well, it was only a matter of time before the quietest, most peaceful corners of the galaxy became embroiled in tragedy. 

Following the disastrous Drengir attack instigated by the Nihil, Jedi Master Lili Tora-Asi is striving to ensure the refugee and settler community under her care on Banchii are protected against any further threats. In her staunch determination to do right by them, Lily corners herself into the kind of rigidity she can’t afford. While Lily worries about everyone, her padawan Keerin Fionn worries about her in turn, but just as she’s assuring him not to, a new face arrives on Banchii.

Master Sav Malagán, who makes the leap from the High Republic Adventures comics, arrives to check on them in the wake of a Nihil attack on the Jedi Temple on Takodana. While Lily tries to demonstrate what she’s setting up to keep the people of Banchii safe if an attack happens again, Malagán warns her not to be too rigid and expect even the attacks to go to plan. Her point is proven immediately when one of the bunkers explodes and they find a planted bomb within.

Cut communications mean that Lily, along with younglings Nima and Viv’nia travel to the Starlight Beacon to report the incident to Lily’s mentor Master Arkoff. 

I would also be remiss if I let this go by without thanking everyone involved for giving me not one but both of my faves in this issue. Terrifying Marchion and a surprise Stellan? Yes please.

While in the first installment, the connections to the larger High Republic happened in the form of Stellan Gios visiting Banchii, here we get to see familiar locations and characters from the story as rendered by artist Mizuki Sakakibara – including a little peek at a certain rules-free Jedi race!

Written by Shima Shinya and Daniel José Older, Edge of Balace vol. 2 is ultimately the story of one Jedi’s determination to stand strong in the face of unprecedented threats. The important lesson Lily draws – which honestly applies to the Jedi of this era as a whole – is that for them to have any chance of winning she can’t be as immovable as stone, but rather to be like water. A lesson that serves her well in the face of the unspeakable tragedy that brings this volume to a close. 

With the mounting Nihil threat moving to Banchii, thanks to a spy hidden among the settlers, Lily’s troubles are far from over. But she goes into Edge of Balance vol. 3 (no release date yet) a stronger, more focused Jedi, setting her apart from counterparts like Vernestra Rwoh, who are still learning the hard lessons. 

The Edge of Balance series feels like one of the more underrated parts of The High Republic and that feels like a genuine shame. While nothing can ever truly be “slice of life” in the middle of constant catastrophe, this series is as close as it gets. With the characters so removed from the people and events of the main run of books and comics, the manga is a peek at how the people on the fringe of the big events are coping with everything without the resources afforded the others. It’s a small glimpse into a much larger picture, and fills in the lines of the larger universe, while telling a complete, character-driven narrative all its own.

Edge of Balance vol. 2 is available digitally now, and in print May 24th.

Special Thanks to VIZ Media for the advance copy for review purposes.

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