Story: Charles Soule
Art: Steven Cummings, Victor Olazaba
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
What They Say:
THE KNIGHTS! THE KNIGHTS OF REN have their role to play in QI’RA’S grand scheme to destabilize THE EMPIRE, and their task is arguably the most important…Something crucial is locked away in FORTRESS VADER, and the Knights must steal it. A heist on the SITH-controlled furnace world of MUSTAFAR…with the Galaxy as the prize!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having enjoyed the Solo movie and liking how the Marvel side has been bringing in Qi’ra to the Age of Rebellion era so that we got to see what happened long term for the character, The first couple of issues of this series did a nice job of getting things underway even if it felt a little too much like mainline Marvel and not quite so much Star Wars. Charles Soule definitely has a plan here with this though with it taking place in-between other events has me trying to work out the timeline more than anything else sometimes. Steven Cummings is a solid choice on the artwork here to give us something to handle all the variety and action and the end result is a solid start to this five-issue series while not giving away all of its cards just yet.
This issue is not one I was looking forward to overall as the Knights of Ren feel like an interesting idea in The Force Awakens that was never properly executed. This issue works to showcase them existing in this period, which we’ve seen before, as they’ve been working on the outer rim and outskirts of known space to avoid getting caught up in Palpatine’s purges. He had bigger fish to fry, after all. Qi’ra’s making another of her many moves here by getting them to swipe a key for them that will allow them to gain some power along the way. While the titleholder Ren isn’t exactly keen on this at first, since it’s infiltrating Fortress Vader on Mustafar, she’s got all that they need to pull it off and be able to take anything they like along the way. It also helps that Vader is occupied elsewhere, something that Qi’ra has also likely set up.
The actual mission turns into a disaster as you’d expect with Vader showing up along the way and finding this group to be wanting, but they do manage to get away with the Key that Qi’ra is after. It’s a fun little mission overall as they go in through a secret entrance that requires them to use the “shadow” to do so, and that has a wonderful little callback to the Fortress’ creation itself. While we don’t know what the key is for yet and we get a decent bit of action with this oddball group of dark-clad force wielders, The first bit with the Stormtroopers lets them just cut through things but the back and forth – and panic – with Vader showing is especially fun. It does feel like Vader lets them get away with more than he should here but one suspects that it’s all part of his plan to see who is pulling their strings overall.
I’ve not been a fan of the Knights of Ren for some time with past comic appearances and this one doesn’t change that impression much. Soule does a decent job with it in using them to push forward Qi’ra’s goals and all, but these aren’t characters with personality. They’re basically ciphers with identifiable quirks behind masks when they could be so much more. I do like a few of the nods we get here with the Fortress itself and Vader is always fun no matter what as Soule generally handles him right, but this feels like a weak installment especially after last week helped to improve things a lot.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 27th, 2022