Age of Resistance - Kylo Ren 1 is the ninth and final one-shot in the canon comic book anthology series Star Wars: Age of Resistance. It was written by Tom Taylor, illustrated by Leonard Kirk, and published on September 25, 2019 by Marvel Comics. The issue features the story "Out of the Shadow," and it also includes an essay written by Bryan Young.
Advising Vader's heir
Imperial veteran Captain Ruthford dons old Imperial stormtrooper armor aboard an Upsilon-class command shuttle. While conversing with a subordinate First Order stormtrooper. Ruthford insists on wearing the old armor because he is an old soldier who prefers something "familiar" and comfortable. He and Kylo Ren travel with an admiral to Wild Space planet which is under attack from the Benathy, a warlike alien species that have been encroaching on First Order space.
The First Order hopes to negotiate with the aliens but are prepared for war if negotiations fail. Since Captain Ruthford is a veteran of the last battle that the Empire had fought against the Benathy, Ren had brought him along. When Ren asks how he survived, Ruthford replies that he survived through dumb luck. Ren disagrees and tells Ruthford that he will accompany him and advise.
As the grandson of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren vows to succeed where Vader failed. Ruthford disagrees that Vader failed and says that Vader managed to subdue the Benathy. Since they are walking in Vader's shadow, Ren believes that there is glory in the battlefield. Surveying the mass graves of fallen Imperials, Ruthford disagrees and says that there are only waster lives here. Approaching the tent, Ren asks Ruthford what he knows about the Benathy. Ruthford describes them as a proud and stubborn race who value size and strength above all else. Ruthford warns Ren that there are things bigger than him.
Kylo Ren and Captain Ruthford meet with King Kristoff, who towers over them and wears the helmets of fallen Imperial stormtroopers as a necklace. King Kristoff invites Ren and Ruthford to take a seat but Ren insists on standing. The Benathy have wiped out all life on four nearby planets. Ren demands taht they cease expanding.
King Kristoff recalls that Lord Vader gave similar demands and killed their last King but that even Vader could not withstand their "god." Ren replies that Vader put them down but Kristoff replies that his people got up. Ren reiterates his demand that the Benathy cease expansion and submit to the First Order. Stretching out his hand, Ren attempts a mind trick but the King is resistant. Kristoff is defiant and tells Ren that saying the same thing slower doesn't make him more persuasive.
Ruthford tries to warn the King not to annoy Kylo Ren. Kristoff doesn't see why he should stop. Ren impales Kristoff's head with his crossblade lightsaber, killing him. Ruthford adds that Ren can be a little "touchy." The King's commanders try to avenge their leader but Kylo Ren beheads one and slices the legs of the other. He tells the wounded Benathy that he is not so tall without his legs.
Ruthford tells Kylo Ren that they were supposed to be negotiation and that it is hard to negotiate with dead people. Ren replies that he did not hear anyone objecting to his demands. Due to the failed negotiations, the Benathy prepare for war against the Empire, donning armor and deploying walkers and droids.
War with the Benathy
Due to the vast numbers of Benathy, Captain Ruthford advises Lord Vader to call a retreat. When Ren asks if Vader retreated, Ruthford replies that Vader fought until the Benathy's god arrived and that thousands died on both sides. He tries to warn Kylo Ren that this is not a competition but Ren is determined to succeed where Vader failed.
As Ren leads the First Order into battle, Ruthford experiences flashbacks of Vader leading stormtroopers years earlier. The Benathy's god, which turns out to be a Zillo Beast, soon arrives. Kylo Ren orders the First Order's gunship to open fire on the giant creature. Ruthford warns that Zillo Beasts are unbreakable but Ren disagrees, saying that nothing is unbreakable.
The Zillo Beast warps its serpentine body around the gunship and proceeds to devour it. Ren proceeds to board the First Order shuttle. Thinking Ren is being reckless, Ruthford tries to warn him that he cannot prove anything to a dead man but Ren ignores him. Ren flies the shutle towards the Zillo Beast, which is still devouring the gunship.
Kylo Ren jumps into the mouth of the Zillo Beast with his lightsaber. Watching Ren's reckless action, Ruthford thinks that Ren is wasting his life. He remarks that it is a nice way to get eaten and quips that Ren's grandfather would have been impressed. Ruthford suggests that the Admiral withdraw his forces. However, Kylo Ren uses his lightsaber to slice through the insides of the massive Zillo Beast, killing it and causing it to crash on the ground.
Emerging from the corpse of the Zillo Beast, Kylo Ren addresses the Benathy army, telling them that their god is dead and that they now only worship the First Order. Following the battle, an impressed Ruthford speaks with Ren, saying that it wasn't a competition because he won. Kylo Ren smiles.
- UPC 759606092048; September 25, 2019; Marvel Comics
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Notes and references
- Age of Resistance - Kylo Ren 1 takes place during the Cold War, which began in 5 BSI and ended in 0 BSI according to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary. Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places the Starkiller Incident in 34 ABY, meaning that the Cold War took place throughout 29 ABY and 34 ABY, and Age of Resistance - Kylo Ren 1 takes place some time between these two years.