Warning: This post will contain mild spoilers.
The second issue of The Rise of Kylo Ren series by Marvel had a lot that Ren and Ben Solo fans will enjoy. As somebody who loves the character and story of Ren, it had stuff in here I wish that I could have seen on the big screen, specifically in The Rise of Skywalker.
This comic starts with a conversation between Snoke and Ben Solo, more or less immediately after issue one ended. This gives some insight into why Ren went to seek comfort in Snoke on the garden planet after the fall of Luke’s Jedi temple. On this planet, we get to see Snoke, with his goofy hat, initially try to manipulate Ren. During their discussions, Snoke points out that Ren is named after the great Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, that his uncle is the great pilot and Jedi who blew up the first Death Star, and that his father is Han Solo.
During this conversation with Snoke, Ren declares that he hates his name Ben Solo and that he is named for somebody that he never even knew. This is a more in-depth look at how Ren is broken on the inside and a more detailed explanation as to why he went to Snoke after the incident at Luke’s Jedi Academy. Using the force as an example, Snoke shows Ren that he can choose to be whatever he wants. He wants Ren to know that through the dark side of the force he can create his destiny: this is the first step in manipulating Ben Solo into Ren. Snoke is encouraging him to – as Ren would say – let the past die. Snoke wants Ren to forget about his family lineage. Snoke then sends Ren on a mission to find his true identity and track down the Knights of Ren.
After the conversations between Snoke and Ren, the comic jumps back in time when then Ben Solo is on a mission with Uncle Luke and Lor San Tekka to find some ancient Jedi artifacts. This part of the comic I loved. The first reason for this is I love me some Tekka. He was one of my favorites in The Force Awakens; which might be odd since he was in the movie for about five minutes if that. He gave off some serious Old Ben Kenobi vibes from A New Hope, which is probably why I love him. So, anything with Tekka in it I will probably enjoy.
When this group is traveling to Elphrona, it has a moment where Snoke is communicating with Ben through the force. This is something I would have liked to see play out in a movie, especially with Snoke/Palpatine talking to him in The Rise of Skywalker. We get a glimpse of it at the beginning of Skywalker with the “I’ve been every voice inside your head” line, but I would have liked more of the psychological torment played out on screen. Alas, it is refreshing to see it played out in the expanded canon.
During their time at the temple, Ben, Luke, and Tekka run into the Knights of Ren, and more importantly, their leader who is just named Ren. During their encounter, we get to see Luke ignite the green and take on all of the Knights of Ren, which played out in the comic on a super satisfying level. We also get to see their leader Ren unmasked, and he is quite the silver fox.
After their encounter, which doesn’t reach a natural conclusion, it seems that the Knights of Ren might escape? I would think the next comic picks up with how they escape Luke, but before this part of the comic ends, Ren tells Ben to come to find them if he ever wants to explore his dark side instead of going down the Jedi path.
The comic ends by jumping ahead in the timeline to Kylo Ren on his mission to find the Knights of Ren. On his journey, he goes back to the same Jedi temple as before and finds Ren’s old mask. Through this mask, he can communicate with them and just before he embarks on a journey to find them, he encounters his former Jedi peers. It is the three Jedi from the previous comic with their sabers ignited ready to confront Ren for what they think he did at Luke’s Jedi Academy. The comic ends on that cliffhanger.
Overall, I enjoyed this comic. It had some cool concepts and conversations between Snoke and Kylo, including one through the force. I just wish there were more of that in The Rise of Skywalker. Seeing Ren torn internally and seeking comfort in his future abuser and master was interesting to see come to fruition. I have always wanted to understand why. and how. Ren sought out Snoke, so knowing Star Wars is exploring that is nice to see. With that being said, knowing Snoke was probably some clone made by Palpatine sort of bums me out, I wish it was someone else. The art and story are overall good in this comic, and the style reminds me of old Clone Wars comics by Dark Horse, which were my favorites growing up. The only nit-pick of the art is one panel where Snoke looks so weird, and not much like Snoke at all. If you are a fan of Kylo Ren’s story, this is a must-read as well as issue one and I can’t wait to see what the second half of this series has in store.
Overall Score: 7.7/10