When last we left Jedi Knights Porter Engle and Barash Silvain, they had arrived on the planet Gansevor to broker a peace between two warring cities on the Outer Rim’s so-called “Planet of Knives.”
And now, in Star Wars: The High Republic – The Blade #3 (released last week by Marvel Comics), Barash and Porter are discovering that this situation may be more nuanced than they were led to believe.
The High Republic – The Blade #3 begins with the two Jedi looking out over the mercenary army that the Bethunian side of the conflict has enlisted to attack the city of Firevale, whose prince claims that his wife– the heir to Bethune– has come there on her own volition. In order to stall the assault so Barash can investigate further, Porter descends to the ground below and talks with the invaders– after skillfully deflecting their blaster bolts, of course, once again earning his titular nickname, the Blade of Bardotta. Meanwhile, Barash meets with Firevale’s royal family and its new member, determining that the star-crossed couple had fled Bethune fearing danger to both themselves and their unborn child. We then get a flashback to 15 years earlier in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, with writer Charles Soule filling us in on how exactly Silvain and Engle came to think of each other as brother and sister, despite being two completely different species from other worlds. This interlude gives a little more context to the proceedings on Gansevor, where Barash decides that this particular war is indeed no longer worth fighting.
Whether Porter is able to convince the blood-thirsty Bethunian attackers to cease their campaign and return home is another question entirely, as the army has brought with them another “independent contractor” named General Viess who at this point only seems to want Jedi blood on her hands, no matter the cost. The issue ends with the Bethunians relaunching their offensive, and with a frustrated Porter Engle preparing to lay down the law the best way he knows how– with his lightsaber. I like that this issue demonstrates the Jedi’s instinct to avoid combat and defer to a peaceful diplomatic solution, but that they are also willing to fight when it becomes necessary, as it does here. I’m also enjoying the further exploration of how the two protagonists featured in this title work as a pair, with Barash using her truth-telling abilities alongside Porter’s complementary fighting and negotiating skills to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution. That doesn’t always work out in the end, however, as exemplified by Engle’s need to take more drastic action teased by the cliffhanger final page here. The next issue of The High Republic – The Blade promises to be an action-heavy saber-swinging extravaganza, and I for one am very much looking forward to seeing what Soule and the extremely talents artists Marco Castiello and Jethro Morales have in store for us.
Star Wars: The High Republic – The Blade #3 is available now wherever comic books are sold.