The Rise of Kylo Ren #1 Review

by Sam Jarron on December 18, 2019

Author: Charles Soule
Artist: Will Sliney
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment

After four years of wondering, and on the same week as the release of Episode IX, The Rise of Kylo Ren #1 finally starts giving us answers about what was hinted at in 2015's the Force Awakens with the line: "Leader of the Knights of Ren". People have wondered who the Knights of Ren were, and how they were related to Ben Solo. The Rise of Skywalker is finally showing them on the big screen again, but their story is being explored here in this tie-in. The series promised to show how Ben Solo went from the Jedi that was betrayed by his uncle to Kylo Ren, the First Order's enforcer, and the first issue is a promising start. 

The issue opens on Ren, the leader of the Knights before Ben. He and the Knights are on a snowy planet looking for two brothers that supposedly killed hundreds of people. He wants to see if they are capable of using the Shadow, his name he uses for the Force. Apparently, all Knights have to use the Shadow. Yep, Ren is looking for Force-sensitives. He later says that they have a secret master helping them, but I'll get back to that later. One of the brothers kills the other to prove himself, but unfortunately the killer doesn't have the Shadow, so Ren kills him. 

After that prologue, the issue turns to the main character of the series, Ben. The issue opens after the destruction of Luke's temple, but before Luke wakes up. Ben is witnessing the fire engulfing the main Temple building when three of Luke's students, away on a mission, return in their ship. They only sense Ben's presence, and think that Luke is dead. They confront him, and try to fight him, but he easily takes them out; the interesting thing is that he does it non-lethally. He could easily kill them, but he leaves them alive every time they try to attack him. Ben is leaving in his ship when his droid Geegee asks him about his destination. Geegee suggests Hosnian Prime, but Ben can't face his mother.

It's at this point that we see another flashback, this time to just before the Temple's destruction. Luke has just attacked Ben, and Ben brought down the hut they were in. This is the biggest and most important part of the issue, so if you don't want major spoilers, skip ahead to the conclusion paragraph. Ben is spoken to by the disembodied voice of none other than Snoke. Snoke says that "we always thought this might happen", finally confirming that Ben's seduction to the Dark Side began long ago. Snoke then destroys the Temple, killing all the students inside. That's right, Ben didn't slaughter Luke's students, Snoke did. Snoke blames it on Luke, and Ben falls for it. Back in the present, Ben reaches a mysterious garden planet, where he meets with Snoke! Snoke isn't in his golden robe here, however; he appears as a simple farmer to come across as non-threatening. Ben decides to look into the Knights of Ren, and the issue ends...

This issue was pretty incredible. It completely re-contextualized the events shown in The Last Jedi, and make Ben more redeemable. There's a lot I could go into regarding the Knights of Ren's mysterious master, and even more regarding Snoke in this issue, but I can't really do that without going into the spoilers surrounding The Rise of Skywalker. I'll just say that this is the necessary companion to The Rise of Skywalker; I'm really happy that they're giving Marvel Comics a really important story to tell in the Star Wars Saga. Charles Soule continues to be one of the best Star Wars authors (speaking of, I really hope this series ties into Soule's Darth Vader series in some way), and Will Sliney's art is incredible. I can't wait for the next issue; it can't come soon enough, especially since the preview seems to reveal that Lor San Tekka will be in it, along with a much younger Ben and Luke. 

Our Score:


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