In Review: Age of Resistance-Supreme Leader Snoke #1

Nothing is learned of Snoke or his apprentice in this issue. Forgettable.

The covers: A twosome of covers to collect for this mysterious villain from the Star Wars sequels. The Regular cover by Phil Noto has the title character sitting in his throne shown from both his film appearances. He’s slightly hunched over, whether from age or intention is unclear. Behind him is a tree in a swamp location, judging by its colors and the foliage that hangs from its limbs. Could this be a familiar place from this franchise? Reading this book is the only way to find out. This illustration looks good, with the character resembling his screen counterpart. The Puzzle Piece Variant cover by Mike McKone & Guru-eFX is another outstanding creation by this duo. Snoke is standing in the center of the image with the title at his feet. His right hand is held forward, emitting Force lightning above him which crackles over his head and coves down on the other side. To his lower right are several MG-100 StarFortress SF-17s, which are avoiding colliding with several TIE Fighters that are coming in form the middle right and going into the lower left. The majority of the illustration is on a red background with just a bit of blue star field in the upper left. Overall grades: Both A 

The story: This is more of a two character story than one exclusively focused on Snoke. Kylo Ren is being trained by his master in this tale from Tom Taylor. In the Rarlech System, Snoke holds Ren over a canyon filled with sharp rocks. If he falls, he will die. Snoke asks his apprentice if he’s afraid, which Ren says he is not. If anyone has any knowledge of any Star Wars stories involving master and apprentice, Jedi or Sith, you’ll know how this plays out. It’s a fairly safe writing moment that doesn’t reveal much about either character. This lesson concluded, Snoke decides to take Ren elsewhere, to an iconic setting from the original trilogy for another test. This was a neat idea, but again does everything one would expect. I wasn’t surprised by the challenger on 10 nor it’s outcome. I was pleased to see who is on 14, but, again, the expected happens. The conclusion of the book doesn’t really advance or reveal any new information about Snoke, though if one is leaning towards him being an imperfect clone of Palpatine, his dialogue certainly hits all of that character’s speech patterns and tones. This was an okay diversion, but I have a feeling that Taylor was limited by Disney about what he could reveal about this character. Overall grade: C-

The art: Leonard Kirk on pencils and Cory Hamscher on inks also do an okay job. The first page is a full-paged close-up of Snoke, right in the reader’s face, reaching out with his left hand to levitate Kylo Ren. His face is absolutely fantastic. The second page pulls back to show where each character is and what Ren’s fate would be if he were to fall. Yes, Ren’s above some rocks, but it’s mostly smooth down below, dismissing some of the threat. Ren looks incredibly young throughout this tale, which is fine, but I wish the time period had been a little more defined by this story. I did like the close-ups of Snoke’s hand on 3, using his gesticulations to accentuate the text. I really liked the action on 7, though the lack of emotion from the recipient of this action seemed to lessen it. Snoke never looked particularly tall in the films, so I was happy to see him slightly taller than Kylo when they exited the ship on 8. The layout of 10 and 11 is a neat way to show several actions and it works well. The killing blow is a full-paged splash on the next page and it doesn’t look right, both with the victim and victor. And how did the loser’s weapon get that far behind him? Page 14 is another full-paged splash, but is hard to make out due to the dark colors. I did like the large image that falls between the panels on 16 and 17, reminding the reader of this individual’s presence. The actions on 17 is a good tease, with 18 having a good visual payoff. However, the reveal on 18 left me wondering if that was the heart of the location. It wasn’t, so it came off as more immature venting, as shown in the film. The smile that ends the issue looks good. Overall grade: B-

The colors: When focusing on the Sith, I expect a book to be dark, but not this dark. Guru-eFX does a solid job in making Snoke’s skin mottled, and the yellowed robe he wears makes him the brightest colored character in the issue. I appreciate the use of violet for the world in the Rarlech System, but Kylo’s black costume has him blending in too much with the backgrounds. This was a problem throughout the book. I was grateful for the splash of vivid red that appears on 6, but it’s short lived. The new location is just as dark as the first, making Kylo hard to make out, especially when he’s underground. There’s some color introduced during the first battle, but it doesn’t last long. This is just a darkly colored book that makes for a difficult read. Overall grade: D+

The letters: VC’s Travis Lanham is the man behind this issue’s dialogue, scene settings, sounds, and yells. I really like the scene settings on this book and hope that when the main Star Wars book gets rebooted, and it will, it uses these. The sounds are strange looking during the battle, as a weapon that’s appeared many times before in other books now has a wavering line around each letter that’s more suited for Wookiee speech than this. The design of this font just stuck in my gut for the remainder of the book. This should not be used again in any Star Wars book. The yells are good, and it’s no spoiler that most of them come from the frustrated apprentice. Overall grader: C+

The final line: Nothing is learned of Snoke or his apprentice in this issue. It’s a side story that didn’t need to be told. The visuals are passable, but the colors should have cheated more with the reality of this franchise. If you’re hungry for a Star Wars tale, this will only satisfy you for as long as you read it. Once done, this will be forgotten. Overall grade: C

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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