19th Sep2019

‘Age of Resistance: Supreme Leader Snoke #1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Tom Taylor | Art by Leonard Kirk, Cory Hamscher | Published by Marvel Comics

resistance-supreme-snoke-1-cover

Marvel, obviously directed by parent company Disney, are sure getting their money’s worth from Star Wars. Disney have an extensive movie and TV slate coming up (doesn’t The Mandalorian look fantastic), and seem to see Marvel’s books as another weapon in their armoury. I quite like this approach, corporate directed as it is, because it values the comic books enough to do this. In contrast, Time Warner seem to think so little of DC Comics they have taken away its publishing independence and plan to integrate it into the group essentially just to put out books that are glorified ads for movies and TV. But I digress. We are here to read and review a book featuring Supreme Leader Snoke who, a bit like Darth Maul and Captain Phasma, promised much but actually delivered little in terms of his movie appearances. Comics, however, make everything better.

The Age of Resistance banner indicates this is part of the current mini-series ‘event’, which spotlights characters from the ‘sequels’ era of Star Wars. Finn, Poe Dameron, General Hux, Rey, Captain Phasma, and Rose Tico have all had their one-shots, and now it’s the turn of Supreme Leader Snoke. So, who is Snoke? what is Snoke? Is he a Sith? An intergalactic chancer who got lucky? (actually, I like that last option but doubt it’s the one). We actually do know a little about him. He is not a Sith, but is someone who can manipulate the Dark Side, and who took advantage of the anarchy that followed the fall of the Galactic Empire by helping form the First Order to destroy the fledgling New Republic. Which he did. We also know what ultimately happened to him, but this books focus is on an earlier time, when Snoke is on the ascendant, training a powerful new apprentice and preparing to crush the Republic.

The book opens with Snoke training Kylo Ren, seemingly concerned that he has too much Skywalker in him, a weakness that needs to be purged if he is to embrace the dark side and surpass his hero, Darth Vader. Snoke takes Ren to Dagobah, where he makes him enter the cave Luke entered on his trials there. The cave takes a person’s fears, their weaknesses, and tests them. Ren first has to kill Luke, symbolic of his good side, which he does, egged on by Snoke reminding him Luke tried to murder him once (it’s a long story).He is then is confronted by phantoms of Han and Leia (his parents for those coming in late), who try to persuade him he is not Kylo Ren, but Ben Solo. This is another thing Snoke wants purged from Kylo’s soul, his family ties, his empathy with his parents. He wants an angry blank slate that can be manipulated.

We know from the films that Kylo still has that struggle, even after what happened to Han, and scripter Taylor nicely retcons that in here. Kylo is supposed to kill them both, but can’t. He does a good old job of lightsabering an innocent stump or two to pretend to the listening Snoke he has killed them, and hides his actions by unleashing a huge amount of force energy and destroying the cave. This both gives us a further insight to Kylo being misguided more than evil, as the films have hinted at, and at the fact Snoke has a limited control of the Force. He can sense things it seems in a far more limited way than he pretends, and Kylo will take advantage of that fact in later times. This is not the Sith Dark Lord you are looking for.

I would say on balance this was a decent stab at a Snoke story, in the restraint of probably not being able to make any changes to the character or his backstory. Taylor’s script was decent enough, putting in as much insight and background as he was allowed to, and the art by Kirk and Hamscher was solid, nice layouts and clean lines which I always like. Disappointed that we didn’t learn much more about Supreme Leader Snoke, even a little more, but did like the fact that maybe he was a bit of a chancer after all. Some things (and political leaders) never change, even in a galaxy far, far away.

Snoke. Making the Dark Side great again.

***½  3.5/5

Age of Resistance: Supreme Leader Snoke #1 is out now from Marvel Comics

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