Published: March 11, 2020
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Will Sliney
Cover Artist: E.M. Gist
SINS OF THE SON
The Rise of KYLO REN concludes, as BEN SOLO, once the Jedi’s greatest hope, is swallowed by the Dark Side. It is his destiny – and if there was ever another path, SNOKE and the KNIGHTS OF REN made certain he could not see it.
From Ben, to Ren… and now he is lost.
There are only two cover variants to conclude this fantastic series, with both prominently displaying Kylo Ren’s infamous cross-guard lightsaber. Gist’s direct cover has the feel of a Rembrandt painting because of its muted tones and deep shadows, with a ragged Kylo holding his new lightsaber. Practically leaping off the page, Camuncoli’s variant chooses an aggressive stance for Kylo Ren and the detailing across the lightsaber hilt is very impressive.
On the mine moon of Mimban at first it appears that Ben Solo might not be cut out for the ruthless ways of the Knights of Ren, disagreeing with their methods and reluctant to join their battles against innocents. Dissatisfied, the Knights are ready to turn their back on the young Solo, but then Tai and Voe arrive, determined to bring Ben to justice. In one final, epic confrontation Ben angrily destroys any last remaining connections to his old way of life as a Jedi-in-training, fully embracing the dark side under the new mantle he chooses for himself – Kylo Ren, Master of the Knights of Ren.
Soule has written a gut-wrenching finale for The Rise of Kylo Ren #4 that feels truly cinematic in its storytelling. One of the best parts of Soule’s writing is that he doesn’t make Ben’s fall to the dark side a simple, single choice, but rather a series of ever-worsening choices, with the young Solo manipulated by all the people he thought he could trust. It’s such a deep plot in only the limited pages of a comic and yet it works to make you keep reading till the end, even though as fans we obviously know how it will end.
This movie-feel to the comic is enhanced by some of the amazing scenes that mimic those in the actual films. When Ben duels Tai it’s in a very similar way to Anakin and Obi Wan in Revenge of the Sith, right down the the fiery, red background. Ben’s betrayal of Ren uses a little trick of the Force exactly like in Snoke’s throne room from The Last Jedi, and there are even more to find in this issue. There’s also a clever yet subtle reference to Splinter of the Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster on the fourth page. Sliney’s artwork has been outstanding throughout this entire mini-series, but he really pulls out all the stops for The Rise of Kylo Ren #4, and each of the battles is incredibly drawn with a sense of dynamism due to the myriad poses and expressions Sliney uses from panel to panel. He’s definitely captured the strong physicality that Driver brings to the character on-screen. If there was one standout spread though, then it’s the duel that seals Ben’s fate – the way in which the battle is surrounded by the family and foes who can sense his fall to the dark side just has so much detail to absorb that you can look at it for ages.
The finale for The Rise of Kylo Ren #4 aboard the Night Buzzard is just jaw-dropping! Not only does it explain the origins of Kylo’s lightsaber, it also connects with Soule’s Darth Vader #5 from 2017. Ben takes the kyber crystal from his old blue lightsaber, and like his grandfather before him, pours all of his anger and hate into it to “bleed” the crystal into becoming red. However, this cracks the crystal and causes it to expel too much energy, so Kylo adds the two cross-guard pieces onto the lightsaber hilt to create what will become his iconic blade.
After four incredible sell-out issues, multiple re-prints and numerous revelations, this is it. Ben’s transformation is complete. Soule has added so much depth to Ben’s story in The Rise of Kylo Ren, linking many plot points with the Sequel Trilogy, and making some of the character’s motivations clearer. Soule, Sliney, Lanham and everyone else who has worked so hard to bring these comics together really deserve the credit for the time and dedication they have put into this series. We may yet see more of Ben’s past explored, but until then, this is essential reading for all fans of the character!
Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #4 was published March 11, 2020 by Marvel Comics. This issue is available via The Marvel App and from all good comic bookstores and retails at $3.99.