The Rise of Kylo Ren #4 Review

by Ellie J. on March 11, 2020

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

After four incredible issues, The Rise of Kylo Ren is coming to an end, and we finally get to see... y'know, the rise of Kylo Ren. And as expected from a comic written by Soule, this issue is absolutely filled with amazing moments and art. The issue makes Ben's fall feel so much more tragic than it was before, and it makes his redemption in The Rise of Skywalker feel much more earned. But first, here's a brief recap, since these issues have been released monthly, and it's been a while since the last ones,

The series started after the destruction of Luke's Jedi Temple. Ben went on the run, and was followed by the only other survivors: his friends Tai, Voe, and Hennix. Ben visited Snoke, and decided to try and join the Knights of Ren. His efforts were slowed by the Jedi, but in a fight outside a High Republic Jedi Outpost, he ended up killing Hennix on accident. He reached the Knights of Ren, and told their leader Ren about the Jedi and his past, but Ren doesn't think it's enough, so the Knights and Ben go to find Ben a "real" kill.

And that's where this issue picks up. We find Ben and the Knights on Minemoon, a moon near Mimban (the mud planet from Solo), looking for some unimportant artifact. This is where we see the first major thing happen. This is the last issue of the series, so I will be posting actual spoilers, since it's not like I can talk about it next issue. Ren is about to kill one of the miners for not giving up the location, but Ben uses the Dark Side version of the mind trick we first saw in The Force Awakens on him! Ben says that this is the first time he's tried it, and he learned from Snoke.

Suddenly, Voe and Tai arrive, and the final act of this story begins. What follows is one of the best sequences in any comic book I've ever read. The Prequels did an incredible job of showing Anakin's conflict during his fall, and one of the things Ben Solo as a character was lacking was... that. We saw the final two acts of his story, but not the first. This issue is that first act, and it does it perfectly. Ben starts fighting Tai, while Voe takes on Ren and the other Knights. It reminded me so much of Yoda fighting Palpatine while Obi-Wan fought Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. Things take a turn when Ren incapacitates Voe and snaps Tai's neck, killing him.

Ben lashes out and starts fighting Ren; Ben's emotional conflict sends ripples throughout the Force, and those ripples are sensed by other Force-users. Those include Leia, which makes sense, since she's his mother. Luke is absent, which makes sense, since he's probably in exile by this point. But then we get two more: Rey and Palpatine. That's right. A younger Rey senses Ben through the Force, though she doesn't realize what she's sensing. And Palpatine is just confirmation of what we already knew from TROS: he used Snoke to turn Ben. Throughout the fight, he and Snoke both encourage him to take the final step.

The really emotional fight comes to an end rather quickly: Ben finally kills Ren, and immediately after, completes his fall and kills Voe too. With Ben now having two kills, the Knights kneel to him as their new leader. Cut to later on his ship, and we get the final hype moment of the issue. Ben is building a lightsaber, and in a parallel to Vader in Soule's previous series, he bleeds his kyber crystal, turning it red. If that wasn't hype enough, because Ben is still conflicted and not fully dark, the crystal doesn't fully bleed, which is why it has the cracked effect. We see either Palpatine or Snoke ask what his name is now, and the issue cuts before Ben answers.

And that's the Rise of Kylo Ren. When I heard that Charles Soule was writing the backstory of Kylo Ren, I expected a lot, since I absolutely loved his Darth Vader series. And for the most part, I wasn't disappointed! It had nearly all the things I was looking for in Ben Solo's backstory, and has some really hype moments, especially this final issue. But it's not without it's issues. Will Sliney's art was amazing in some panels, but subpar in others. And while Soule did a perfect job, I can't help but feel like the story was held back by the sequel trilogy and the lack of planning that went into it; it's hard to put into words, but it just feels like something is missing. But all that said, for what it is, I absolutely loved this series, and it even made me appreciate The Rise of Skywalker a little more (I hated The Rise of Skywalker). This really is an essential read for everyone who loves Kylo Ren.

Our Score:

9/10

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