Star Wars: Age of Resistance: Kylo Ren #1 Review

by Dennis Keithly

Kylo Ren competes against the legacy of an ancestor in Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Kylo Ren #1. 

Warning: This article contains plot points for Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Kylo Ren #1

Age of Resistance Kylo Ren #1 Cover

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Kylo Ren #1

Story: Tom Taylor | Pencils: Leonard Kirk | Inks: Cory Hamscher | Colors: Guru-eFX | Lettering: VC’s Travis Lanham | Production Designer: Anthony Gambino | Cover Artist: Phil Noto | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia

Ever since The Force Awakens debuted, Star Wars fans have known that Kylo Ren was driven by the legacy of Darth Vader. Snoke used that knowledge as motivation. He dangled Kylo’s potential to succeed his famous grandfather in front of him and made himself the arbiter of whether Kylo Ren was living up to that potential. For his own reasons, Kylo appealed to the spirit of his departed grandfather and asked him to demonstrate the power of the darkness whenever Kylo felt the pull of the light. Age of Resistance: Kylo Ren #1 demonstrates just how much living up to Vader’s reputation, and surpassing it for that matter, means to Kylo.

The Witness to Power

Tom Taylor employs a clever narrative device in Kylo Ren #1. Captain Ruthford is a member of the First Order. Previously, he served as a stormtrooper in the Empire. Despite the advances to armor that the First Order made, he prefers this older armor scratches and all. While with the Empire, he served under Darth Vader himself. Now, he is part of Kylo Ren’s army.

In Kylo Ren #1, Captain Ruthford serves as a special advisor to Kylo Ren himself. Ruthford is the only surviving soldier from an Imperial attack on a world that the First Order now hopes to subjugate. Most importantly, he is a link to Darth Vader. For that reason, Kylo Ren keeps him close. Ruthford is brought to a meeting between Kylo and King Kristoff of the Benathy, and later, he is by Kylo’s side during a massive battle between the First Order and the Benathy army.

Kylo defers to Ruthford as a judge of sorts. Upon arriving on the battlefield, Kylo Ren states, “This is where I will succeed where Vader failed.” Ruthford doesn’t see the upcoming conflict that way. There is no glory to be gained here. Ruthford is pragmatic, and he sees no value in fighting the Benathy in open battle on the planet surface. He advises Kylo retreat and reorganization. Although unspoken, it is clear that the First Order has better ways to deal with the Benathy rather than fight them hand-to-hand on the surface.

Kylo Ren #1 First Order

Deposing a King

Of course, the climactic battle of Kylo Ren #1 is getting ahead of things. Kylo Ren firsts attempts negotiations. However, King Kristoff is proud, and he refuses to submit. So, Kylo Ren then tries a Jedi mind trick. Apparently, King Kristoff is unaware of what that is, and regardless, it doesn’t work. He insults Kylo Ren by stating that he just appears to be slow. Kylo responds by stabbing the king through the head with his lightsaber. The negotiations are over.

More than likely, this is exactly what Kylo Ren wanted. If he couldn’t intimidate King Kristoff into submission, the next best thing was using an overwhelming application of the Force. Either way, he would have prevailed where his grandfather, Darth Vader, could not. Failing that, the next best thing was defeating the Benathy in battle and destroying their god. Kylo Ren craves Supreme Leader Snoke’s approval, and he thinks the way to that is by claiming the mantle of heir to Darth Vader. What better way to do than that than surpass Vader?

The God Attacks

Kylo Ren #1 gives him that opportunity. The Benathy god emerges from the ground and attacks the Empire, and it is none other than a zillo beast. Star Wars fans familiar with The Clone Wars would recognize the gigantic monster that the Republic brought back to Coruscant. Impervious to blaster fire, it was eventually subdued and killed through the use of toxins. Apparently Darth Vader was unable to defeat the zillo beast he encountered on this world.

Kylo Ren has a plan though. Once the zillo beast emerges, he boards a shuttle and takes to the sky. From there he leaps directly into the monsters mouth and kills it from the inside. The effort is similar to the tactic Drax attempted in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, only Kylo Ren actually made a difference. It was the defining move of the battle, and the Benathy submitted afterwards. 

Kylo Ren #1 Attack

The Art & The Cover

Kylo Ren #1 is a story personal to Kylo but told on an epic scale. Leonard Kirk sets the stage with panels that sweep across two pages depicting Vader’s assault with the Empire on the Benathy in comparison to Kylo Ren’s assault with the First Order.

The Benathy themselves are enormous beings that tower over humans. Kirk expertly depicts Kylo’s bravery, arrogance, and confidence as he stands up straight in front of his adversary, King Kristoff, refusing to back down as he demands that the Benathy submit to the First Order.

Finally, with regards to the interior art, when the zillo beast attacks, it does so across an entire page. It’s enormous size dwarfs the Benathy and Kylo himself. The monster begins dismantling the First Order’s army, but eventually Kirk’s art depicts Kylo making a suicide attack on the beat. Overall, the art is spectacular and a highlight of the book.

As for the cover, Phil Noto did a great job capturing the essence of Kylo Ren #1. Kylo stands in the center, mask off, with his lightsaber. The background is black save for a golden smoky area that matches the color of the Benathy’s home planet. On the left side, the smoke clearly portrays Vader’s features and the rest of the smoke outlines his helmet. Vader looms in Kylo Ren’s history, and he is a driving force. The symbolism is obvious and well done.

Final Thoughts on Kylo Ren #1

Age of Resistance: Kylo Ren #1 is interesting supplemental material to Kylo’s story. Kylo has plenty of opportunities to demonstrate his power in films between raiding the village on Jakku, capturing Rey on Takodana, or fighting Snoke’s Praetorian Guards. This issue provides him with other moments of raw power and anger when he kills the Bethany king, takes out another guard at the knees, and then destroys the zillo beast. While Snoke #1 demonstrated the influence the light side of the Force had on him, and his ties to his parents, Kylo Ren #1 demonstrates the drive to surpass Darth Vader that Rey detected in The Force Awakens. By the end of the issue, at least this one time, Kylo Ren was successful. Although Ruthford assured Kylo there was no contest between Kylo and Darth Vader, he conceded that Kylo Ren won.

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