Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Leonard Kirk
Published by: Marvel Comics
Chronology Placement: Set five years before “The Force Awakens”
This final issue of the Age of Resistance mini-series focuses on Kylo Ren as writer Tom Taylor examines the Ben Solo’s desire to stand out from beneath his grandfather’s dark shadow. During “The Force Awakens”, Kylo Ren comes across as something of a Darth Vader fanboy; not only does he wear a costume and mask to replicate Vader’s mechanical visage but he also harbours a secret shrine to his deceased grandfather containing his charred mask. Taylor explores Kylo Ren’s immaturity and his struggle for validity – defining traits of the character – as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather in an attempt to subjugate the Benathy. While Ren ultimately surpasses Vader’s efforts and wins the approval of his men, he remains tied to the history of his predecessors and won’t decide to stand as his own man until that fateful throne room scene in “The Last Jedi”.
Leonard Kirk continues to handle art duties for the villain side of the Age of Resistance comics, and this issue might be his finest work yet. I loved the way he drew Kylo Ren as scrawny and scrappy against the hulking Benathy and the gargantuan Zillo Beast. The most impressive sequence is the gorgeous double-page spread which compares the actions of Darth Vader and Kylo Ren over thirty years apart. The parallels between the two characters are striking and Kirk’s artwork is simply amazing at capturing the scale of the battles. As always, the colours from Guru-eFX are incredible and enhance Kirk’s artwork tremendously to create the perfectly balance.
While I enjoyed the comparison between Vader and Kylo Ren, I found it a little bit galling that Ren was able to conquer the Benathy in a way that his grandfather was unable to. While it added to Kylo Ren’s ego, it felt like another instance where the legacy characters were devalued in order to make the newer generation look good. It’s more of a nitpick than a genuine complaint however, as the issue works as a whole and plays into Kylo Ren’s worship/rivalry against Vader.
Score – ★★★
Star Wars: Age of Resistance – “Supreme Leader Kylo Ren” is available in a digital format from Comixology and Amazon, or collected in the trade paperback, “Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Villains“, which is also available from Comixology and Amazon.