Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #4 Review

 

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Will Sliney

Colors: GURU-eFX

Lettering: VC’s Travis Lanham

Cover: E.M. Gist

Release Date: March 11th, 2020

Price: $3.99

Reviewer: Steve Baum

This is it, the final issue of our journey. Ben Solo has struggled against his friends and Jedi brethren, Snoke and the Knights of Ren, and all unfortunate enough to get caught between them. There’s only one thing left to do, crack this baby open and see if Ben chooses the light… or the dark…

“Boys, release these fine folks”. You’re not fooling anyone, Mr. Soule. We all knew what was coming the moment Ren uttered it. The old ‘release them from LIFE’ joke. Classic. Ben didn’t think so. Lesson one kid – don’t trust the group of bad guys to do what they say.

The knights continue their search, but Ben is less than keen on slaughtering a bunch of innocent civilian miners. Ren is less than keen on Ben’s reluctance to do what he tells him to, a.k.a. kill people. If only something could spark Ben’s conscience and right his mental ship. Aha! Cue his buddies, Voe and Tai! As Ben struggles with what to do, Voe jumps into action to help the miners, talking trash to Ren while kicking him in the face. Nice. Tai claims he can ‘get through to Ben’. We’ll see about that. Tai and Ben engage in the classic “you don’t have to do this!” “you don’t know me!” argument we’ve seen a million times, even in the Star Wars universe. Even from BEN in the Star Wars universe. Oh well. Some plot threads can’t be avoided, it’s a minor (not the miners being slaughtered) hang-up. Although Tai does drop a nice knowledge bomb in “every path goes in two directions”, that sounds pretty Jedi-ey to me. Another jab of rhetoric from Voe, another kick to the face. She’s consistent if nothing else. Ben and Tai continue to duke it out over what we can only imagine is a badass lava lake, complete with a three-foot narrow bridge for added drama! It works. It’s a pretty good couple of panels.

Just when we think Tai might be breaking through to Ben, Ren force-snaps his neck. Diabolical. Ben doesn’t really seem to mind too much. Maybe he did breakthrough though because Ben is now intent on kicking Ren’s ass. He even drops a killer line about being the shadow (he just doesn’t kick him in the face). At this point, it dawned upon your genius reviewer that what was thought to be a flashback, something Ben remembered Snoke saying in the past, was actually Snoke communicating with him in the present via the force. Princess Leia and what is assumed to be Rey are shown feeling the moment as well, just like Snoke. A little confusing perhaps, but certainly not a big deal. The fight progresses nicely; you can almost feel the action. The fight ends with Ben killing Ren, then in a shocking twist, he kills Voe out of an almost twisted sense of mercy. “You’ll never be a Jedi; why do you even want to live”? Harsh.

The series ends with the remaining knights surrounding and bowing to Ben. But they’re not bowing to Ben Kenobi, are they? No. They’re bowing to Kylo Ren. Well, almost. After tinkering with his lightsaber in some pretty badass looking panels, his crystal turns from blue to red. Except it doesn’t work when placed back in the lightsaber. Hmm. We then hear Snoke infecting his mind – “what is your name?”.

NOW… now the lightsaber works. It works, and it’s red. And that’s the end of our series boys and girls. Pretty effective.

After a few pages of nothing but blue ambiance, we get some nice lightsaber clashes of color. Although the hues are a bit, not stale, monotone through the first part of the book, the intensity with which the fight between Ben and Ren is carried out is palpable. It has a sort of anime vibe to it, and this reviewer doesn’t even like anime but liked this. The panel of Ben stabbing Ren rivaled that of the ‘Thor entering Wakanda and lightning-hammer-smashing the ground’ scene out of Avengers Infinity War. It’s pretty awesome. The panel where Ben kills Voe is perfectly silhouetted and balanced in red and blue.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This series at no point dipped below average, with flairs of brilliance. Outside of a face like a potato, and some stagnant color scheming (rarely), there was very little not to like here. The action was portrayed excellently, you got a feel for each character, and Ben’s internal struggle resonated with us. If you’re not a fan of Star Wars, you’ll like this series. If you ARE a fan of Star Wars, chances are you’ll love it. The worst offense this series committed was only being four issues. But you know what they say – leave ‘em wanting more. This reviewer wants more.

9/10

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