This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The High Republic–The Blade #2.
No one tries to kill a Jedi twice.
Or so says Porter Engle, who is quickly proven wrong in the newest issue of Star Wars: The High Republic–The Blade.
This second installment in a 4 issue miniseries adds more proof that The Blade might become one of the best Star Wars comics in The High Republic. Porter Engle and his sister Barash arrive on the planet Gansevor to help settle a planetary dispute. The walled city called Firevale is under siege from the rival land Bethune, and it’s up to the Jedi to find a peaceful solution for both parties.
All necessary exposition is given quickly and succinctly within the first few pages. Writer Charles Soule is a master of efficient exposition, giving the reader just enough information to understand the context, but not be overwhelmed. Soule uses the classic Star Wars story method in which the Jedi are immediately thrust into a conflict with little information and must find a solution. The writing feels like an episode of The Clone Wars or Rebels with its one-liner quips and mysterious circumstances. It’s refreshing to settle into a familiar formula.
We finally get to see Porter and Barash in action together. In the first issue, a hint of Porter’s true capabilities were highlighted in that awesome splash page of lightsaber action. In issue #2, Bethunian soliders take some shots at the two Jedi, indeed trying to kill them for a second time after first attempting to shoot their supply ship out of the sky. Porter whips out his two lightsabers in an arcing blaze of blue while Barash simply stands behind him. His sister offers occasional verbal support, like, “You are not alone” and “The Force is always with you.” It’s interesting to examine their dynamic–Porter seems to be the muscle of the operation, while Barash offers a grounding presence in the Force. Could they be a Force dyad?
Another flashback is offered to potentially answer that question. As padawans, Barash and Porter are told they are going to be separated because they are “becoming too attached.” Barash tells Porter that they are better together. Porter agrees saying that Barash is “good at sensing things, and [he’s] good with the lightsaber.” In order to be reunited, his sister suggests that they agree to be separated and prove that they are “worse Jedi” apart. Evidently, her plan worked, since we see the two siblings fighting side by side on the mission to Gansevor.
The art by Marco Castiello, Jethro Morales, and Jim Campbell is captivating. The use of shadow and Earth tones plant us firmly in an Outer Rim planet. Their use of sharp lines and jagged shapes for the planet Gansevor–also called “The Planet of the Knives”–perfectly encapsulates the rustic nature of the planet. Overlapping panels and slashes of green and blue keep the reader engaged in action scenes as their eyes bounce from moment to moment. The Blade is truly a perfect blend of intriguing writing and compelling art.
With only two issues left, I am interested to see where this story takes us. If the first two issues are any indication, it has the potential to be absolutely incredible and/or absolutely heart-wrenching. (We have yet to see why the Barash Vow is so named…) I think I can speak for all High Republic fans when I say that we are eagerly awaiting issue #3!
Star Wars: The High Republic–The Blade #3 will release on March 1, 2023.
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