Star Wars: Age of Resistance: Kylo Ren #1 (Marvel Comics)
At last, Marvel’s Age of Resistance specials get to the most interesting character of the new films, Kylo Ren. Written by Tom Taylor and drawn by Leonard Kirk, Kylo Ren is less about the inner turmoil surrounding Ben Solo, and more a showcase for his abilities in the field of battle, which are very different from those of his grandfather, Han Solo.
As the First Order descends upon the Benathy planet in Wild Space, Kylo Ren begins to prepare for his negotiations with the alien’s leader. The site of one of Darth Vader’s few failures, Ren believes that if he succeeds on this mission, it will cement his place as the true successor to Vader. Of course, the negotiations don’t go as planned thanks to Ren’s temper, and leads to a brutal showdown between the Benathy and the First Order.
While Tom Taylor’s script doesn’t delve into Kylo’s mindset, it does present some really interesting parallels between the characters of Ren and Darth Vader. Though we only see brief flashbacks of Vader against the Benathy, it works really well with the story here, and the brief glimpses of Vader in control vs Ren’s struggle to remain in control say everything they need to about the two characters. It’s a fantastic way to reveal the differences between the characters and what makes Ren so unique as a Star Wars villain. Many characters in the Star Wars universe look up to the heroic characters and want to emulate them, but VERY few want to do the same for the villains.
Leonard Kirk’s already worked with Taylor on one of these specials, so it’s no surprise that he’s got a great handle on the art in this special. Kirk’s art does the same thing that Taylor’s script does when it comes to comparing Vader and Ren, and the subtle differences in body language between Vader and his grandson are really effective under Kirk’s pencils. Kirk is also able to effectively draw both Kylo and Vader’s iconic helmets really well, which is a feat that is easier said than done for most artists.
While it won’t give you any insight into the character of Kylo Ren (or any clues for Rise of Skywalker for that matter), Kylo Ren is easily the best of the Age of Resistance line of Marvel specials, and furthers the interesting dynamic that the character has in the Star Wars saga. Kylo is desperately, almost depressingly trying to live up to the legacy of his grandfather, something that I don’t believe he’s destined to truly do, and Taylor’s script taps into that idea in a really nuanced way here. It’s easily the crown jewel of these specials, and also has some pretty awesome moments too boot, too.