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Review - Master, Tormentor, and Predator In Marvels Age of Resistance: Snoke

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Books & Comics + Legends' started by SWNN Probe, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. SWNN Probe

    SWNN Probe Seeker

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    Supreme Leader Snoke is arguably the most mysterious character of the sequel trilogy – at least in terms of his origins and how he came to command the First Order. His presence in the sequel trilogy is much larger than his screen time. His unique appearance and strength in the dark side immediately got my attention and I have to admit he's a character I've been dying to know more about. The truth is I want to know more about Snoke because I want to understand more about the fall of Ben Solo to the dark side. Whether you blame Luke's moment of weakness for Ben's turn or not – the consensus between the Jedi Master, Leia, and Han is that Snoke planted the seeds of darkness in the Skywalker heir apparent. With this comic, writer Tom Taylor gives us a horrific look into the abuse Ben Solo's dark phoenix Kylo Ren suffered under Snoke. I can't emphasize this enough....SPOILERS AHEAD....

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    The issue opens with a harrowing scene of Snoke dangling Kylo Ren over a great height, trying to stoke fear into his apprentice. We've seen a great deal of Palpatine's tutelage over Vader and there's no comparison here for me. Where Palpatine's potential to be cruel and sadistic is without question, there is something very predatory to me about this scene. Snoke's goal is to stoke great fear in Kylo as he releases his Force-grip on the Master of the Knights of Ren and allows him to fall deep into the canyon he hovered above. A variation of an old mantra is conveyed to Kylo as he falls: 'Use your fear. Let it crystallize into anger. Turn that anger into power'. As far as the dark side goes, fear remains the catalyst, so one has to wonder what mixture of fear and insecurities Snoke catalyzed in Ben Solo to begin with.

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    Kylo manages to stop himself from falling and a first for Force-levitation in canon. Impressive Force abilities aside, Snoke rejoins him below and casually acknowledges Ren's survival. Kylo wants to know if his master would've stopped the fall and Snoke sidesteps the question stating his former master would have. The master is unimpressed with his pupil and feels he needs to test his student elsewhere. They depart the Ralech system and head for another destination – Dagobah. Upon their arrival, Kylo prepares to disembark from their landing donning his mask, but Snoke doesn't want that.

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    When Kylo seems confused by his master's order to leave the mask behind, Snoke strikes him. It's not hard to reduce the underlying nature of their relationship to one of abuser and abused. It's implied in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi that Snoke manipulated Ben Solo as a child. One can only imagine the horrific evolution of that manipulation into physical and psychological abuse once Ben Solo was fully in his grasp and determined to become Kylo Ren. One might say the Kylo Ren persona is one Ben took on to please his knew master, but Snoke could never let him believe it was good enough. The confusion we see in Kylo when ordered to leave his mask behind made me very sad. Clearly, Kylo has been hailed as the next Vader for a long time and this mask is a huge part of that identity. Burying Ben Solo by embracing the persona and visage of Kylo Ren is something he no doubt feels will please his master and I imagine Kylo's been told many times to wear that mask. He hesitates because his master's command confuses him and there is nothing more an abuser loves than a confused, reluctant victim. Snoke underscores this strategy with physical violence, leaving Kylo even more uncertain of what his master's next terrible lesson will be.

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    They've arrived on Dagobah and immediately Kylo senses echoes from the past. Interestingly, Dagobah is only referenced as the place where Luke trained to become a Jedi and there's no mention of Yoda. Maybe that's intentionally done to keep the focus on the more relevant connection they both have to the planet – Luke. Kylo is puzzled with the reverence Snoke's words when he speaks about Luke. Someone who refers to themselves as Supreme Leader does not likely suggest they have many equals. Snoke admits he both respects and fears Luke – and that Luke's earned it (paging the Story Group: WE NEED THAT STORY). The vicious teacher doesn't just stop there, he uses Luke's strength to demean his apprentice in hopes it will motivate his hatred of the last Jedi. Snoke leads Kylo to the infamous cave from The Empire Strikes Back. There's no direct order for Kylo to enter and he's certainly hesitant. Instead, Snoke continues to taunt his apprentice until Kylo enters on his own.

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    Snoke observes through the Force and whispers to Kylo when he encounters the vision of Luke. You have to imagine this is a very raw moment for Kylo Ren and whatever is left of Ben Solo underneath the dark and conflicted layers of emotional scars. The last time he saw his uncle, who had been his teacher since he was a child, he truly believed Luke was ready to kill him. We know that wasn't Luke's intent, but that is Kylo's truth and he must blame Luke for so many things – not least of which is the abuse and torment he currently suffers under Snoke. Kylo ignores the vision's warning and – with Snoke cheering him on – unleashes on his uncle while embracing the anger and hatred his master stokes. Ultimately, Kylo kills the vision of Luke and declares his lesson finished, but Snoke knows what else Kylo is hanging onto from his past as Ben Solo.

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    Hope you brought your tissues. The collaborative art by Leonard Kirk, inker Cory Hamscher, and colorist Guru-eFX steals the show. Kylo's expression immediately softens when presented with the vision of his mother and father. Leia and Han remind their son he is valued, wanted, and loved – all things Snoke knows he has to be vigilant about stripping away from his apprentice if he's going to keep him under his thumb. Snoke whispers to Kylo through the Force, gaslighting the conflicted light and dark inside a very young and confused mind. The real life parallels these frames share of family members trying to bring their loved ones out of abusive relationships or other destructive scenarios really broke my heart. All Leia and Han want to do is remind their son of the unconditional love they offer, but that might not be enough for the person we meet in this moment.

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    With Snoke cheering him on, Kylo seemingly attacks his parents.

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    But he doesn't. Instead, Kylo attacks the cave itself, shredding roots and everything around him. We know Kylo has a fierce temper and he's not holding back anything as he strikes out against this cave of darkness. It's interesting to see Kylo strike out against the obvious darkness so much when we've been led to believe that's all he wants to embrace. The pain of seeing his parents must be overwhelming to him and all he wants to do is make the vision stop. At this point, he's not prepared to kill either of them and only seeks to end the vision. The red hue across Kylo's face doesn't suggest he's heeding the call to the light, but there is obviously conflict in him. Kylo was still blinded with fear when it came to Luke because that's what he was left with and that fear lead to violence. Perhaps these visions of Leia and Han, expressing their love for him, is from the last memory Ben Solo has of his parents. It's important to note: Kylo Ren did not destroy those who offered him love. The one time we see him do that – his father in The Force Awakens – he was at the peak of his power and it shattered the darkness he wanted to consume him and only left more room for the possibility of the light to fill it.

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    Snoke is shocked to see Kylo's fierce display and even compliments his apprentice after the smoke clears.

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    The Snoke/Kylo relationship aside, it's noteworthy Force users seem to be well aware of this cave. Also, I think this closes the door on Dark Rey appearing in the same cave in The Rise of Skywalker. Snoke mentions other apprentices, but Kylo immediately answers that he won't need any others. The issue ends with a confident, evil smirk from Snoke.



    Major compliments to everyone involved in bringing this story to life. I was blown away and very affected by this issue. Sure, I'd love to know where Snoke comes from and how he came to rule the First Order (and his connection to Darth Sidious), but I'll take an effective character piece over world-building Wiki's any day. Writer Tom Taylor nailed both of these characters, as far as I'm concerned. This medium gives us relatively short stories, but by the end of this, I felt like I'd been on a journey with both of these characters. However the future of Star Wars storytelling chooses to illuminate the training Kylo endured under Snoke, I think Age of Resistance just provided us a watershed moment of those years. I know this review is longer than my usual but I highly encourage you to pick this issue up for yourself. I hope my words did it justice but this is a story you should experience for yourself.


    <p style='text-align: center;']RATING: 8.5/10</p>
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    #1 SWNN Probe, Sep 12, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  2. Sithdämon

    Sithdämon Rebel Commander

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    I want to know more about Snoke.Why is he such a powerful dark sider without being a Sith? Where was he during the empires reign? What is his connection to the KOR? Who is Ren? How does the FO came into possession of such superior technology as seen in SKB and Snokes ship?
     
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  3. RockyRoadHux

    RockyRoadHux Ginger General

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    Me too. I really enjoyed reading this issue, thanks @Boushhdisguise for making me read it!
     
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  4. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    This should have been in TLJ. It would have been a nice mirroring to Rey's training with Luke.

    Only minor point of criticism: the character models don't look like the actors at all.
     
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  5. Sithdämon

    Sithdämon Rebel Commander

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    Don’t get me started on missed opportunities. I will restrain myself.my psychiatrist says I have to use positive mantras the whole day like „It’s just a movie „ or less radical „TLJ is the best Star Wars movie ever.“ it works.
     
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  6. PrincessLeiaCB3

    PrincessLeiaCB3 The Princess that was Promised
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    Amazing review as always @Kyle !!

    (And a great one for me to come back and participate more on the forums!)

    It is also mentioned in the Aftermath trilogy that Leia feels her unborn baby with dark shadows so he might have been manipulating him from birth.

    Indeed that omission is interesting and brings even more questions about Snoke and his interaction with the Jedi of old as well.

    Seconded!

    It is quite a neat coincidence that the gospel for this Sunday mass is about the lost sheep and the prodigal son parable. At this moment on the journey of Ben Solo, as you just mentioned, he might be confused and not looking to go back to his parents but their love is there for him. It is kinda tied up with what we saw in TLJ where Ben expressed he didn't hate Han and he acknowledged he was a monster.

    He is conflicted and not an outright villain as many have wanted to indicate. He has been abused by Snoke, and any so-called manipulation he might have done with Rey is just him following the patterns he had been pushed on. Also, it is quite poignant his parents tell him "You're not alone." which is exactly what he told Rey in their Forcetime at the hut, before touching hands.

    For example, when he is probing her mind. We know that is incorrect but do we know the extent of his training with Luke and with Snoke on that? It takes me back to Harry Potter when he was receiving Occlumency lessons to close his mind to anyone trying to read it using Legilimency. Perhaps it was one of the topics not favoured by the Jedi.

    I recall the TFA book makes emphasis on that part where he feels killing his father has weakened him instead of strengthening him.

    Darn! It was one of my theories LOL. Regardless if that is not the scenario, I am seriously looking forward when and where that happens in TROS.
     
    #6 PrincessLeiaCB3, Sep 12, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  7. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Rebel Official

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    This occurs well before TFA let alone TLJ.
     
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  8. Maximus

    Maximus Reel 2 Dialogue 2

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    great review, thank you @Kyle ;)

    I'm still torn on whether or not the movie going audience should have seen how Snoke treated Ben, and from what age.

    I don't need to read this, and i probably won't. I've always known that Ben has been tormented physically & mentally by Snoke.. i found out everything i needed to know about Ben on that bridge in TFA. everything he's been through.. it's all in his eyes. I was just missing the details, which i don't think i'd be comfortable reading about.

    Many haven't connected with Ben like others seem to, and perhaps this may be an interesting read to them.

    :)
     
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  9. The Hero With No Fear

    The Hero With No Fear Jedi General

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    After reading this, I’m sooo glad that Kylo Ren killed Snoke in TLJ. I just felt bad for Ben throughout the whole story, even if he looked nothing like Adam Driver for the most part. I liked he misled Snoke into thinking that he killed the vision of his parents but instead destroyed the cave, because it foreshadowed how he was also able to mislead and kill Snoke in TLJ.

    It’s also so sad that what Kylo seems to fear the most is the love of his parents and Luke not truly wanting to hurt him. Honestly, this story was just as much about Kylo Ren as it was about Supreme Leader Snoke.
     
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  10. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Rebel Official

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    It is also rather short if you ask me. Then again I dont read a lot of comics. I would have thought it would have concentrated more on parts of Snokes life and not just one event.
     
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  11. Boushhdisguise

    Boushhdisguise Jedi General

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    I don't think we learned anything new really about Snoke, but it was good to see some of the abusive behavior, as hard it was to take, he inflicted on our boy. Really was a Kylo Ren centric story and gave more into his psyche than Snoke. I still want to learn more about Snoke's past, perhaps after the movie if it's not dealt with sooner.
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 12, 2019, Original Post Date: Sep 12, 2019 ---
    I'm one that kind of likes when they don't always look like the actors. It is hard sometimes to think of the characters as not being say, Adam Driver, all the time and being fictional characters in a world to itself, it's nice when it might look slightly different to separate the real world. I especially like this when it say, sort of looks like the OT people, but not exactly.
     
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  12. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Rebel Official

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    Since it is labeled as Issue #1 does that imply more issues will be released?
     
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  13. The Hero With No Fear

    The Hero With No Fear Jedi General

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    I can get why you’d think that, but all of the Age of Republic/Rebellion/Resistance have only focused on one event in a character’s life that really exemplifies who that character is, without necessarily telling anything too important. Like this comic for instance: it shows how Snoke is a manipulative, cruel enigma and this issue focuses on his relationship with Ben Solo/Kylo Ren.

    I hope so! These “Age of” comics have been mostly great and I’d love for it to be like an annual thing.
     
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  14. Lord of the Rens

    Lord of the Rens Jedi General

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    TruthISdope.jpg

    I heart Palpatine.​
     
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  15. Messi

    Messi Force Sensitive

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    Snoke is a interesting character and I loved him in TLJ, his visual and his lines.
    I will buy this comic.
     
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