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Chapter One - The Rise of Kylo Ren - 001 - Marvel Comics

Series: The Rise of Kylo Ren


Title: Chapter 1

Creators: Charles Soule(Writer); Will Sliney(Illustrator)

Release Date: December 18, 2019

Timeline: Between The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens

Review by Colin Borden. This is a full review with discussion.
Spoiler warning applies...

The mysterious Knights of Ren hunt for a possible new member. Meanwhile, the young Ben Solo deals with the consequences of his actions at his uncle's Jedi Temple. With Ben Solo's fall to the Dark side of the Force will come the Rise of Kylo Ren!

Young BEN SOLO is legendary Jedi LUKE SKYWALKER'S most promising pupil. As the son of REBEL ALLIANCE heroes LEIA ORGANA and HAN SOLO, as well as Luke's own nephew, Ben has the potential to be a great force for light in the galaxy.

But the SKYWALKER family legacy casts a long shadow, the currents of the DARK SIDE run deep, and DARTH VADER'S blood runs in Ben's veins. Voices call from both his past and his future, telling him who he must be.

He will shatter, he will be reforged, his destiny will be revealed. SNOKE awaits. The KNIGHTS OF REN await. Ben Solo's path to his true self begins here...

Review & Summary

Cover by Rafael Pinto AlbuquerqueThis is it ladies and gentlemen! We have been waiting for some answers and the arrival of this comic couldn't have come at a better time. While it is just the tip of the iceberg, I was left mouth agape as I read this comic and started getting pieces of the story we have been missing. The Jedi Temple, the students, the Knights of Ren, what a "Ren" is, and SNOKE! We started getting some great answers and I think this issue was perfect to drop the day before The Rise of Skywalker was released. It gives us some information that will hopefully make some of the movie fuller, but it is just enough for a first issue. I cannot wait to see how this all goes and how everything unfolds. While we have PLENTY of mysteries that we have yet to receive answers to, this issue gives us a few tiny tidbits of the previous mysteries while leaving a few more which will undoubtedly get answered in the following issues. This is the greatest time to be a Star Wars fan! Following The Rise of Skywalker we will get a lot of great supplementary material that will hopefully expand upon the story and fill in a lot of the gaps we have between the trilogies. But enough of that. You guys are here to get some of this information before you walk into The Rise of Skywalker. So, prepare yourself for some interesting revelations and even more questions as we witness the death of Ben Solo and The Rise of Kylo Ren! Be sure to click the images to see more of the panel!

The inaugural issue of The Rise of Kylo Ren starts with arguably one of the biggest mysteries of the sequel trilogy: who the heck are the Knights of Ren...and WHAT is a Ren? Well, we get a few answers right off the rip. They're not really in-depth explanations, but I'm hoping and expecting to get those answers in future issues. It starts "Long Ago" with a man in a mask crouching down with a tattered cape flying in the wind of the snowy ice world. He is wearing a mask which has a red design on the front, but without any type of visible visor to allow a person to see. He is shirtless, which allows us to see that he is of a formidable build and more importantly that the majority of his body appears to be burnt. The masked man crouching down simply says, "I am called Ren." However, he continues and lets it be known that Ren is not his name. We see he is talking to two young men, maybe in their early 20's, couching and hiding in a little cave of ice. The masked man called Ren knows their names. "You're Karrst, and your younger brother here is Filin." Ren exchanges pleasantries and explains that they have been looking for them for a while. Ren tells the two brothers that it appears they arrived just in time as he looks back and sees the Knights of Ren annihilating a number of armed men.

"Sector Security almost had us, and then you guys swoop in and just start..shoving them back.Who in the blazes are you?" one of the brothers' questions Ren. Ren goes on to explain that SecSec wants the two brothers badly since the word is they have killed at least a hundred people, but Ren explains that they want them too. And that they could make him a Knight of Ren. Ren explains that they have a friend that told them about Karrst who had the ability to "touch the Shadow. Do things like this," as he levitates a lightsaber hilt with the Force. Karrst confirms that he is able to do things like that as he levitates a piece of ice, but he doesn't call it touching the Shadow. "That's Good. Real good. We can all do it. It's like...a requirement to join" Ren explains. Filin interrupts and tells Ren they will join and follow him and to just get them out of there.

Ren ignites his crimson blade and explains that they don't follow him. "You follow THIS. The Ren" Ren says confirming that the Ren is his lightsaber. "The Ren doesn't stop to worry about what it's burning or the right or wrong of it, or the goals it might achieve. The Ren just IS. It lives, and it consumes. And it doesn't apologize. It is its nature and nothing else. I believe in that principle on a deep, deep level" Ren explains as he closely wraps his hand around the lit blade. Ren explains that he has dedicated his life to this belief. Ren points his blade at Karrst and tells him that he could do this too. "Bathe yourself in the Shadow, fight its battles, preserve its tools, east what it sends you. All we need is a death," Ren says to Karrst. Karrst explains that he has killed more people than he can even count, but Ren explains that he needs a GOOD death which Karrst comes to understand that he means his brother. Before he can even think about it, a blaster goes off. Filin has shot his brother dead and tells Ren, "There. Done. Get me the hell out of here." But you can tell that Ren is not happy with what just occurred.

"Oh Filin...You've got the attitude, and that's good. I respect that," Ren says, "But you can't touch the Shadow." Ren cuts down Filin since he was not the one that could use the Force, or the Shadow as the Knights of Ren refer to it as. Among the dozens of dead bodies, the seven Knights of Ren come together. "Didn't work out," says one of the Knights of Ren named Trudgen. "No Trudgen, but that's all right," Ren says as he goes on to explain that if it was an easy task,everyone would join the Knights. Ren then tells his brothers that the Master will find them someone else soon enough. "What now," asks the Knights. "Let's go find something to burn," Ren says.

"NOW" says the timeline. We come to find Ben Solo standing among the wreckage with his blue saber ignited watching his Uncle's Jedi Temple burning in flames. He almost looks confused, panicked, unsure. Suddenly he is interrupted by an approaching ship piloted by three returning students of the temple; Tai, a male human, Voe, a female human, and Hennix, a male Quarren. They are shocked trying to understand the scene they've just arrived at and confused at why they can sense no one, not even Master Luke. Suddenly, Tai senses Ben Solo. They land and question Ben about what has happened and are obviously concerned about the whereabouts of their Master. Ben explains that Luke attacked him and tried to murder him in his sleep, but now he is dead. Voe exclaims, "That cannot be. Master Skywalker would never hurt any of us. And you, Ben Solo, could never..". She is cut off as an angry Ben explodes in a fit of rage, "What? WHAT, Voe? You don't think I could do it? You don't think I'm strong enough in the Force? I'm stronger than all three of you put together. Skywalker made us act like we were all equal, but you all know the truth. I was this Temple's prize student. And when it mattered, I was stronger than Luke Skywalker."

Tai doesn't believe this story and tries to approach Ben calmly and as a friend asking him for more about what happened. He puts his hand on Ben's shoulder, "It can't be as bad as what you're saying." Ben appears calm for the moment, but suddenly pushes Tai's hand away and explains that he already told the whole story and that the temple was a lie that is now over. Ben tells them he is leaving and that they should do the same, but Voe grabs her hilt and tells Ben, "You're not going anywhere." Unsure of what's about to happen, Hennix reaches for his hilt as well. Tai, in a panic, tries to extinguish the hostility by assuring Ben that they can just all talk it out, but Voe and Hennix ignite their blades; Voe's green and Hennix's blue. "None of you are Jedi," Ben says as a small smile comes to his face, "Do you know how I know that? You're all afraid." He points his finger at Voe, "Especially you, Voe...You should be." We see the three students standing together with all three lightsabers ignited facing Ben. He warns them to get out of his way or he won't be responsible for what happens if he is forced to fight them. Voe tells been not to worry, "I'll take full responsibility," she says as she leaps to strike Ben as Tai yells for her to stop.

Voe is stopped mid-air as Ben holds his hand outstretched. She is confused and astonished by his abilities. "I told you," Ben says as he seemingly snaps his fingers and sends her flying back into Hennix. Tai stands face to face with Ben, "Blast it, Ben! Why are you doing this?" he asks. Ben points his finger at Tai and tells him not to attack him. "I'm giving you a chance. I just want to go," he explains to Tai. Voe stands as looks to Ben, "You really think you're better than all three of us put together? Let's find out," she says. Hennix makes his way to his feet, "If we're doing this, I guess let's do it. I'm in, " Hennix responds. Ben tells the three students that this is their last chance, but Hennix takes the opportunity to fire a quip back at Ben, "Couldn't have said it better myself." Standing amidst the flames, Ben stands firm. "Fine," he says as the fire starts to swirl and rocks begin to take to the air. Suddenly the three students are thrown back and Hennix is pierced with a piece of rock.

At this moment, standing and looking at the damage he just caused to his former friends and classmates, we see a look of worry and concern in Ben's face. He can barely put words together. "I...," he pauses and his face suddenly hardens, "I warned you." Ben walks away as Voe and Tai tend to Hennix. Tai attempts to use his Force abilities to take away his pain, " Here...Hennix...Let me take your pain. You feel nothing," Tai says as he tries. "I feel... QUITE A BIT, TAI!" Hennix says in pain. As they watch Ben walk towards his ship, Tai asks Voe what they're going to do. She tells them they will first help Hennix and then they will see.

Ben reaches his ship and is greeted by his droid GeeGee. GeeGee asks Ben about the rather large fire at the Temple and asks if he can assist, but Ben tells him all is well and they are leaving immediately. Ben looks out at the burning temple and slams his fist down in anger on the controls. As Tai and Voe help Hennix to their ship, Tai asks Voe where she thinks Ben is going, but she explains that he isn't going, but instead, he is running. As Tai tends to Hennix, the engines fire up and Voe decides to chase after Ben. Tai explains that they just went to the ship to help Hennix in the medbay and that there might be survivors at the temple. Tai starts to say that maybe Master Luke is alive, but Voe cuts him off. "You didn't sense our teacher or anyone else. Neither did I. Normally the whole Force sings with Master Luke's presence," Voe explains, "We have to face facts, Tai. You heard what Ben said. He killed our Master. We need to bring him to justice."

Tai seems to take Ben's side. "You don't know him. What Ben's had to deal with. I don't care what he said. He would never do this," exclaims Tai, "Ben doesn't need to be hunted. He needs our help." Voe tells Tai that they are going after him and what happens when they catch up will be up to Ben. Suddenly, Ben's ship starts making a maneuver and the young Jedi students realize Ben is going to make an attack run. Voe calmly says she'll take evasive action, but Tai knows better. "Evasive action? Ben's father is one of the galaxy's greatest pilots, and his Uncle blew up a Death Star! We can't evade him!" Tell yells to Voe. Ben's ship comes straight at the student's and shoots out the engine. GeeGee reminds his Master that they haven't set a destination yet and asks Ben if he would like to visit home since its been awhile and asks if he should set course to Hosnian Prime. Ben's face softens once again as his mind drifts to his mother, but suddenly his thoughts are interrupted by another.

"It happen, did it not? We both thought it might." are the words being spoken in his mind. Suddenly,his mind flashes back to the moment earlier when he encountered his Uncle in his sleep. "Skywalker feared you, your strength. He was always small" the voice continues. We see Ben arise from the debris of his fallen hut. He stares at the Jedi Temple, completely fine, and asks aloud, "Why?" His calm demeanor changes as he points his still ignited lightsaber at the temple as asks again, "Why? Why did you do it?" Suddenly, the Temple starts smoking and the glow of fire can be seen. Ben is extremely confused at what he is seeing, but suddenly the Temple completely explodes sending young Solo flying backward. Ben stands up screaming, "No!" He sees bodies of students on the ground and he rushes towards them presumably to assist them, but then another explosion sends him flying backwards once again. On his knees he looks up at the Temple in flames and says, "I never...I didn't want this." The voice in Ben's head tells him, "And you did not choose it, Ben. The Jedi Skywalker did.Ben suddenly snaps back and tells GeeGee, "No, not Hosnian Prime. I'm going somewhere else."

Back in the student's ship, Voe sits in complete shock. "He took out our main engines. One shot. If he was even the TINIEST bit off, we'd be hot vapor right now". Tai explains to Voe that he was right and that Ben would never hurt them and he isn't a murderer. However, Voe is still confused. She acknowledges that he was the prize student and that she didn't always like him, but the Force was incredibly strong in him. Tai thinks that maybe they can track him through the Force, but in a moment of levity Hennix arrives and tells the others, "Just because we're Jedi doesn't mean it always had to be the bloody Force. Ben has a Temple Doird on the Grimtaash." He explains that the droids automatically send out signals when they're on a mission.

Tai asks the others if they should call Ben's mother. "And say what exactly? 'Hey, Senator Organa...Hennix Here. Your brother supposedly tried to kill your son, but your son killed him instead, and now we're heading off to hunt him down'? Sure" Hennix quips back. But Voe tells them they need to see this through to learn the entire truth before they involve anyone else.

We now cut to "ELSEWHERE". We see what appears to be a planet that is essentially a giant greenhouse. There are tons of plants and trees and it appears that there is a forcefield or even some kind of glass surrounding the planet. A giant tree is growing out of the planet and there are mechanical rings around the planet. One ring in the center which has branches growing around it and two rings at the top of the planet and two at the bottom. This is like nothing I have ever seen before. Ben's ship, the Grimtaash, enters into a docking bay, And here comes a giant surprise.

It's Snoke! That isn't really the surprise. The surprise is what Snoke looks like! He almost looks like he belongs in the forest. He wears a greenish, silk-looking robe with a floral decorative almost armor around his shoulders and a hat that reminds me of Hondo. Snoke stands at the bottom of a throne that looks identical to the one in The Last Jedi except that this one is made of stone. "My Boy," Snoke says to Ben as he embraces him in a hug...yes, that's right. A hug. "I'm so pleased you came to me," Snoke tells Ben. But Ben looks more concerned about Snoke. "Snoke...Look what Master Luke did to you." Ben says trying to look at Snoke's scarred face, but Snoke tells Ben to forget about that and consider what he nearly did to Ben.

Snoke and Ben stroll through a garden and talk. "It doesn't matter. I killed him" Ben says confidently, but Snoke has news for young Ben. "Do you think So? Luke Skywalker will not die easily, whenever or however it happens." This response angers Ben. "Easy? EASY? Nothing about this is EASY, Snoke, " he tells the frail figure. But this is not the same Snoke we know and instead of zapping the insolent young boy, he instead responds kindly. "Of course, my boy. I meant no offense. Let us put Skywalker aside for now. He has stolen too much of your life as it is. Tell me...Now that you are finally free...what will you do?" Snoke says, hands together as he waits to hear what he has been waiting all of Ben's life to hear, Ben looks over at Snoke and tells him, "I've been thinking...about the Knights of Ren."

WOW! I mean, for a first issue of a new series, this gave us quite a bit and it really fills in a lot of stuff we as the fans have been screaming for answers about. Let me start at the beginning. Ren, the man or whoever he is, is definitely intimidating in appearance. His scarred body and his mask, which at first reminded me of Momin, is really a great design. It appears he is the de facto leader at this point, but then we hear that Ren is actually the lightsaber he carries and that is what they follow and worship. Obviously, we will find out more about this, but just to know what the heck Ren is for once is awesome. Yes, it raises more questions such as where the lightsaber is from and why are they worshipping it, but we at least got a bit. It was also interesting to see that they refer to the Dark Side as "touching the Shadow" and that they are actively recruiting.

What else this comic really gives us is a better look at Ben Solo during the time of the Temple's destruction. He is obviously not completely lost at the point, which we knew from his struggles with the light in the movies, but it was obvious he didn't want to hurt ANY of the students at the academy. You could see that Tai's words were almost getting through to him, but you could also see he didn't want to fight them. While it starts out teasing out with the same assumption as The Last Jedi, that Ben killed everyone and burned down the Temple, we actually see that is not the case. When Ben sees the temple starting to smolder, he is visibly confused by that. Was it his anger that lit the fire when he points his saber towards it and asked "Why?" or was someone else behind the destruction?

It was obvious he did not intend to hurt anyone or destroy the temple. After the first explosion, Ben saw the bodies of the students and ran towards them to help, but was once again thrown back by another and larger explosion. I'm under the impression this was not Ben and was, in fact, someone else. What better way to ensure Ben would not return than to make it seem like he burned the Temple and killed all the students. I'm hoping we get more answers to that, but from all the actions of Ben during this time it seems like it wasn't him and it definitely wasn't what he wanted. As for the students, I think it was great to include then. I also really like the Quarren. Why? I don't know. I just like to see Jedi other than humans, so it was nice. They also all played off of Ben really well to show how conflicted he was, but it also gave us a glimpse at his power and how the students at the temple viewed Ben.

We also got a nice look at Ben and his connection to his mother. This was obviously very important to Ben as we saw in The Last Jedi when he was unable to kill his mother. It was neat to see that the simple mention of his home and Hosnian Prime by his droid brought the image of his mother to his mind and then made him think back about everything that just happened. Carrying on with that thought, we got to see the voice inside Ben's head who is likely Snoke, but maybe it is Palpatine. Or maybe they are one and the same, who knows. I'm sure this will also be expanded upon. The little part where Ben disabled the students' ship and they acknowledge that he was such a good pilot that if his shot had been even a tiny bit over, they would've all died. I thought that was great to give another nod to Ben's superior piloting skills.

And finally, the weird "ELSEWHERE" planet which might possibly be in the Unknown Regions. That was so weird, When I first saw this Greenhouse-type planet I had no idea what to expect. Of course, I had expected Ben was running to Snoke, but that planet threw me for a loop. And then when we see Snoke, I couldn't help but think "hippy" for some reason. All the flowers and such, it made me think he was trying to appear extremely different. Which he absolutely was. We first find out that the scarring on Snoke is from Master Luke Skywalker and we better get some context on this in future issues, but besides that, the way Snoke talks to Ben and discusses things makes me see how Ben was deceived. Snoke seems to be completely caring and concerned about Ben's well-being. He even apologizes to Ben and says he wasn't trying to offend him. That is a FAR cry from the Snoke who berated Kylo Ren on the Supremacy. This was all by design to fool Ben and convince him he could be free and with someone else. And then we see that Ben is curious about the Knights of Ren, so the next issue we will see about his first encounter with them.

What do you think? Do you like that we got a few answers right off the rip? Does this help add some to The Last Jedi, The Knights of Ren, and possibly The Rise of Skywalker? Has this hooked you into wanting to see how everything came to be in the films? I know I can't wait to find out about Snoke and Luke's encounter and more about the Ren. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!

Want to see a certain series reviewed? Drop me a line and let me know!

What Worked

  • The Knights of Ren Intro
  • Finding out what Ren is
  • Amazing artwork to convey Ben's feelings
  • The Jedi students
  • Seeing Snoke in a different light
  • Ben's flashback to what really happened
  • Very full and strong opening issue

What Didn’t Work

  • Snoke's outfit. I can't get over those
  • The timeline and location mysteries
  • Missed opportunity to show what Luke saw in Ben
Variant Cover Gallery

1:25 Incentive Variant by Carmen Carnero w/ Rachelle Rosenberg   Movie Photo Variant Cover   Action Figure Variant by John Tylor Christopher    Second Printing Cover by Clayton Crain

External Links:
Added: December 18, 2019
Category: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Colin Borden
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