The latest issue in the ongoing Age of Resistance comic series was released on Wednesday, this time focusing on Supreme Leader Snoke. Each of these issues centers on a key figure in the sequel trilogy, but in the case of this Snoke comic, Kylo Ren really takes center stage.
But that’s ok. While those desperate to find out more about Snoke’s backstory will probably be left (mostly) disappointed, we get a deeper look into the relationship between master and apprentice, Snoke’s training of Kylo, and the Supreme Leader’s cruelty toward his young pupil.
And all of this happens amidst the backdrop of a story that is very fascinating. Obviously, if you don’t want the comic spoiled, don’t read any further. It’s worth checking out.
The comic begins with Snoke “training” Kylo Ren. In the Rarlech System, Snoke uses the Force to hold Kylo Ren out above a vast expanse, questioning his apprentice about his fear. Kylo insists that he’s not afraid, but Snoke sees that he is because of his powerlessness. “Good,” Snoke said. “Powerless men often turn to anger. They lash out blindly with their rage. But powerful beings can harness their rage. Use it to strike. For we either strike… or we fall.” With that, Snoke let go of a frightened Kylo Ren, who screamed as he fell while Snoke instructed him to turn his fear into anger and his anger into power. Just before hitting the sharp rocks at the bottom, Kylo uses the Force to stop himself.
Kylo asks Snoke if, had he failed to catch himself, the Supreme Leader would have caught him instead. But Snoke replies that is what Skywalker would have done, and that’s what would have held Kylo back. Snoke then orders Kylo to board the shuttle to continue his training elsewhere, “To face what is holding you back. And you will either fail… or you will kill it.” En route, Snoke taunts Kylo about his mask and orders him to leave it behind – saying where they’re going he can’t hide behind it and pretend to be Vader – and Snoke punches Kylo when he begins to argue.
They arrive on Dagobah, and Kylo says he can still feel Skywalker’s presence. “Yes,” Snoke replies, “One of the most formidable Jedi began his training here.” Kylo asks why Snoke speaks of Skywalker with respect, to which the Supreme Leader responds, “He has earned my respect… and my fear.” “He is weak,” Kylo says. “He is not weak,” Snoke replies. “He is misguided. If I had your uncle by my side instead of you, the galaxy would have been mine a long time ago.”
Snoke sends Kylo into the cave on Dagobah, and once inside Kylo sees Luke Skywalker, saying, “I don’t want to fight you.” “I don’t care,” Kylo responds, and the two of them duel. Jedi Master Luke Skywalker – his green blade ignited – and his former apprentice Kylo Ren – his cracked red blade sizzling – duel. Snoke stokes Kylo’s hatred by saying that Skywalker would have killed Ren in his sleep because the Jedi Master feared him. Snoke orders Ren to “strike against the light side within you!” and Kylo then cuts right through Luke, leaving him dead on the ground.
But his test is not over. Kylo turns and sees his parents, Han Solo and Leia Organa, pleading with Ben to stop. Kylo stammers that it’s not his name, but Han says, “It is. You are Ben Solo”, and Leia adds, “You are our son. And you are loved.” Kylo clearly isn’t comfortable with this, and Snoke orders Kylo to defeat the struggle within him. Snoke feels Kylo ignite his saber and lash out… but what he didn’t see is that Kylo was lashing out at the cave itself, not Han and Leia. The cave soon explodes, and Snoke thinks Kylo lashed out against his parents. But Snoke is dismayed about Kylo destroying the cave that had stood for thousands of years, saying he had hoped to bring other apprentices there.
“You won’t need other apprentices,” Kylo says, as Snoke smiles.
There is quite a bit here to talk about, and we’ll probably continue to discuss in other articles moving forward. I do think it’s interesting that now in the Age of Resistance issue about both General Hux and Supreme Leader Snoke, Ben Solo really could be seen as the main character – and he’s got his own issue coming out later this month. Everything is revolving around him, in other words, and the seeds of his redemption seem to be planted all over.
I also think it’s really cool just to see Ben go to Dagobah to train in the same cave that Luke did so many years earlier. When Luke trained with Yoda, the wise Jedi Master said that what was in the cave was only what Luke took with him. Here, Snoke tells Ben that all that’s in there is what he was too weak to bury. But if we use Luke’s experience as another example, I think we see that this dark side cave shows what the individual fears the most (which makes sense, as fear is the path to the dark side). For Luke, the greatest fear that he could possibly encounter is the discovery that he could embody the darkness of Darth Vader. Luke comes face-to-face in this vision with the epitome of evil (in his mind)… only to see himself under the mask. And if you remember, Yoda also faces this fear in The Clone Wars when he journeys into the cave on Dagobah, seeing the destruction of the Jedi – what he feared the most.
So with that in mind, we then come to Ben Solo. When he enters this cave, what does he see? His family. If we are saying that this dark side cave shows you what you fear – and I think that’s true – then it means that Ben Solo fears his family. How so? Well, I think it’s possible that he fears going back to the light, but we know he’s conflicted and feels that pull to the light, so that might not be his greatest fear. But what if his greatest fear is that he was actually wrong about leaving them? What if he actually kind of thinks that his parents really do love him and that his uncle really does care about him – and thus fears that his commitment to the dark side might not actually be the right fight. That would explain why he does feel this pull to the light, because he hasn’t truly embraced the darkness. Not yet. But I’m really just guessing there.
What we do see for sure is that Ben Solo isn’t filled with rage toward his parents, and that Snoke is a cruel and abusive master. Snoke taunts him, mocks him, verbally puts him down, physically punches him, etc. So in this regard, this comic series is an important one about Snoke (even though the focus is on Kylo) because it shows us our first real look at him training his apprentice. We saw Snoke’s cruelty toward Kylo in TLJ, but we’re shown that even more explicitly within the context of training in this issue.
This was a very interesting issue that gave us tons to think about, in addition to being a very cool and interesting story of Ben Solo traveling with Snoke to Dagobah to face his fears in the dark side cave – and confronting his family. This was easily my favorite of the Age of Resistance comics so far.