I have stayed out of debates about the last two Star Wars movies: The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The former, so many people love or hate it that there is no real chance to have a credible discussion about it if you felt it was just, meh. The latter, I just did not enjoy but people are really having too much fun dragging the movie and Star Wars fan culture has really become toxic with so called "fans" gatekeeping the franchise. This last trilogy went out with a wimper after such promise after the Force Awaken and I find myself wanting my Star Wars fix outside of the movies.
So a quick trip to the local comic book shop and I was able to pick up The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule and Will Sliney I was drawn to the book by the title mostly because after introducing the idea of the Knights of Ren in The Force Awakens, the group and the purpose was thrown out and all we got was more and more Kylo without any reasoning as to why HE was a Knight of Ren.
The Knights of Ren are hunting the galaxy for those like them. I would say they are all Force Sensitive; leaning into the Dark Side of the Force and looking for those with those same sensitivities. There is a scene where they meet two brothers who may fit the job description but it doesn't quite work out for them.
This book picks right after Ben has turned on Luke for trying to kill him. The book dives into a sidetail, tho as now that the Jedi Temple is burning, Ben is confronted by 3 Jedi in training who are curious as to why their masters house is burning down. There is a lot of discussion as to who is a Jedi, who is stronger, and to the valor and character of Luke Skywalker, who is believed to be dead. Alas, as the Jedi in training look to confront Ben with some Jedi Justice, Ben leaves them in a heap as he is clearly the strongest of the group of them.
As Ben is ready to leave, he takes a ship and his destination is unknown. However, are three Jedi in training are looking to get Justice for Master Luke Skywalker and give chase in their own ship. They have to remind themselves that Ben Solo's father was a great pilot, as well as his uncle and grandfather so confronting in space battle might not be the wisest move of the Jedi.
Meanwhile, Ben's robot companion suggest that Ben go home to visit his mother. Not in the plans, tho as Ben begins to hear a voice in his head that suggests that Luke turning on him was all a part of a master plan that had been predicted and that voice belongs to Snoke. He does not appear like the Snoke in the movies and you have to wonder what tragedy will befall him to turn him into the crusty crumedgon that we see in the Last Jedi.
Overall, this book is fun and gives you just enough back story to want to come back for more next month. I often feel the Star Wars comics are a better vehicle for the Star Wars universe because its not bound to trilogies. The comics take their time and interweave movie cannon with relatable stories with characters you love, or love to hate, like Kylo Ren.
Soule and Sliney do a wonderful job here and help unravel the mystery of the Knights of Ren and their most famous disciple. Highly recommend this book for Star Wars fans who are not huge fans of the current movies.