In Review: Star Wars: Age of Resistance–General Hux #1

This is the rare comic that exceeds the film. I loved this.

The covers: A pair to find like you’re looking for members of the Resistance. The Regular cover by Phil Noto has Hux standing with hands behind his back standing at a three-quarters view, turned to the right. He’s turned his head to look at the reader, and he has no empathy. Behind him is the gigantic mask of Kylo Ren. The entire image is on black, while the logo is on burnt orange. This is outstanding. I’ve not been thrilled with the character in the films, but this frontpiece gets me excited to read this issue. A truly awesome cover is the Graphic Design Variant that features Hux, but from a considerable distance. This cover shows his speech to the First Order from Starkiller Base from The Force Awakens. The sky dominates in cold white and several stormtroopers are shown from the back at the bottom of the illustration. About a third of the way up on the left is the platform that Hux speaks from. This is fantastic! The Movie Photo Variant cover features a photo of Domhnall Gleeson as his infamous character, shown from the waist up. Behind him is a massive monitor that’s showing several readouts in blue and white. The monitor is far from the reader, so it’s a blurry image, but still looks cool. I’m a fan of photo covers and I like this. The Puzzle Piece Variant cover by Mike McKone & Guru-eFX has the general in the same pose as the Regular, but looking to the left. Behind him are five Star Destroyers with several TIE Fighters flying through the center. The background is composed of a red shape that’s been cut by blue strips that contain a star field. As with previous Puzzle Piece Variants, this is one to seek out. Overall grades: Regular A, Graphic Design Variant A+, Movie Photo Variant A+, and Puzzle Piece Variant A

The story: “Years Ago” eight-year-old (?) Hux spills a drink that he was supposed to bring to Admiral Brooks. He apologizes for dropping the beverage, but his father — Commandant Hux — still calls him useless. Before the boy can clean it, Brooks tells the boy to lick it up. Getting no response from his father, the boy drops to his knees and is then yanked up by his angry father. Writer Tom Taylor then moves to the present where unconscious Hux is woken by Kylo Ren. Their ship’s hyperdrive engine has shut down and they’re plummeting toward a planet. Their ship makes a brutal landing. The remains of the ship move and then rises, revealing Ren has used the Force to lift the debris. Hux, bloodied and holding his head, declares, “How did we…? Did you…Did you save me?” Ren replies, “Not intentionally. I saved myself. You were just nearby.” What a fantastic line to define this villain and how he thinks of Hux. The two are the only survivors of the crash and explore the world they’re on. There are some threats, a surprising reveal (on Page 11), an absolutely brutal conclusion on 16, and an incredible coda that returns to a figure from the past. This is the best Hux story I’ve ever read. He’s horrible, sneaky, two-faced, and masterfully malicious. This is the Hux I wish the big screen would deliver. If Taylor ever returns to writing Hux, I’ll be the first in line to pick up a copy. This was brilliant. Overall grade: A+

The art: I was floored by how sympathetic Leonard Kirk’s pencils and Cory Hamscher’s inks make Hux look on the opening two pages. His adult self deserves no love, but looking at this young person my heart broke. The introduction of Brooks, first from a distance and then up close, makes him the quintessential Imperial monster. Though only in three panels on these pages, Hux’s father is also a fierce, frightening, and terrible figure. I love the transition between Pages 2 and 3, with young Hux crying and then becoming older, unconscious, and bloodied. Kylo Ren’s first appearance has him looking as if he’s trying to give aid to the title character, a move I couldn’t imagine him making in the films. The final flight of their ship and its crash is impressive. When Ren uses the Force to raise the wreckage around him, it, too, is impressive. The page that follows has some sweet illustrations of Hux showing his absolute contempt for the wannabe Sith. This is the character I’m familiar with and Kirk and Hamscher are to be congratulated for making him look so disgusted. The large threats that attack look good and I really like Pages 8 – 10, with the one character battling one of the beasts. I love the reactions from Hux that follow, with him reacting to someone’s speech as that character looks in another direction: this is a great example of visual dramatic irony. The pain and loss on 16 is perfect. The final panel on the penultimate page is fantastic, and every panel on the final page is spectacular — What a way to end this book! I would pay anything to get more Hux outings from Kirk and Hamscher. Overall grade: A

The colors: I want my Star Wars books to have a lot of different colors. I want to go to see combinations of colors I’ve not seen before. Guru-eFX delivers that in this book. The opening two pages have all the familiar grays and blacks of an Imperial setting. This allows Hux to stand out with his orange hair that commands attention on every page. Oranges dominate on 3 as flames rage inside the ship. The continue magnificently in the crash on 4; I really like how the planet radiates in green and blue in the second panel on this page against the falling vehicle. The pair of survivors have darkened colors to show how the two have arrived at the world’s night, yet still allow the reader to see all the art. The colors of the creatures are fantastic, with their colors contrasting with Kylo’s blade. The reds and oranges on 16 is brutal and they’re made even stronger with violet used in the gutters. The holographic image has the familiar look from the films in blue. The book ends with strong orange and red. Fantastic. Overall grade: A

The letters: VC’s Travis Lanham creates this issue’s scene settings, dialogue and transmissions (the same font), yells, and sounds. I really like the scene settings on this and would love to see them incorporated into other Star Wars titles. The dialogue and transmissions have the same font, when they should be differed. They’re only differed by their colors. The dialogue is okay, but when characters yell and it’s not done in a different size or font, their exclamations sound weak. I do like the sounds in this book, with all looking outstanding. Overall grade: B+

The final line: This is the type of story one wishes would actually be a film. Hux is sympathetic, horrible, and vengeful. His devious machinations are spectacularly wicked. The artwork compliments the story wonderfully, and the colors contribute to the otherworldliness of the story. This is the rare comic that exceeds the film. I loved this. Overall grade: A

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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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