Comic Review – Jedi Knight Porter Engle Takes Center Stage in “Star Wars: The High Republic – The Blade” #1

In Phase I of Lucasfilm Publishing’s ambitious multi-platform initiative Star Wars: The High Republic author Charles Soule and his fellow writers introduced us to Jedi Master Porter Engle, an elderly (and somewhat rotund) Force-user who seemingly preferred cooking to doing battle– though when the chips were down, he certainly demonstrated his fighting prowess.

Now Soule and company have rewound time 150 years for The High Republic’s second phase, and in Marvel’s new comic-book miniseries Star Wars: The High Republic – The Blade, Porter Engle is a much younger and more agile swordsman and combatant.

But in The Blade #1, out today, we do first encounter Engle doing what we know he eventually loves to do most in his later life. Porter prepares a meal for strangers on “The Boneworld”– what looks to be basically the Salton Sea of the Star Wars galaxy– and then is informed by a fellow Jedi that there is a quarrel in the carcass-filled wasteland outside. Soon we learn, via flashback, that this other Jedi, named Barash, was Porter Engle’s fellow youngling at the Jedi Academy on Coruscant, and they’ve grown so close since then that he’s come to call her his sister. Back on the Boneworld, Porter settles a disagreement by intimidating its participant with some fancy lightsaber moves, involving deflecting blaster bolts through Force-floating Sabacc cards. And then Engle and Barash decide to head off-planet and find another world in need of Jedi assistance. They’re given a ride by a team of Pathfinders (basically explorers in the Outer Rim, the Star Wars equivalent of the Wild West) and Porter is given another opportunity to show off his superior saber skills by sparring with their gobsmacked Jedi escort.

This is all leading up to their arrival on the planet Gansevor, where their presence has been requested to intervene in a dispute. Being the talented Jedi they are, Barash (who has by now demonstrated her extrasensory abilities multiple times alongside Engle’s swordsmanship) and Porter assume the task will be a simply one, but the final splash page establishing Gansevor– and the teaser synopsis for the upcoming issue #2– imply otherwise. I’ve said many times before that Charles Soule definitely ranks among my favorite writers currently contributing to the Star Wars storytelling universe, and he continues to demonstrate that skill in this comic, expanding upon what’s previously been established about Porter Engle by fleshing out his personality and giving him a meaningful platonic relationship with a Jedi companion. I love the Western-style kickoff to this story, and I’m curious if the remaining issues of the miniseries will continue along the path of that genre or veer in a different direction as it continues. And artist Marco Castiello (of Dark Horse’s Star Wars: Rebel Heist comic series, among numerous others) is immediately proving to be the ideal collaborator on this project, providing the perfect atmosphere– accentuated by the subtle work of colorist Jim Charalampidis– for this Outer Rim adventure. Engle was absolutely a major highlight of The High Republic Phase I, and the opportunity to see him operate in his prime is already off to an extremely promising start.

Star Wars: The High Republic – The Blade #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.