Review – Tensions Are High in Marvel’s Star Wars: Age of Resistance – General Hux #1
Marvel’s Star Wars: Age of Resistance continues this week with General Hux #1 by writer Tom Taylor with art by Leonard Kirk (pencils), Cory Hamscher (inks), and Guru-eFX (colors). I have to admit that the Hux issue of this mini-series was one of the comics I have been looking forward to the least in the AOR series, so I definitely had low expectations of this one going in. That being said, I’m happy to say that Taylor took those low expectations and exceeded them far beyond what I ever thought he would with this issue. The whole “Age of…” line of comics that began last year has had a few misfires along the way, but a handful of issues have really stolen the spotlight. General Hux is most certainly one of these. Spoilers ahead…
There are many factors that contribute to the success of this issue. The most important one is probably Taylor’s decision to pair Hux off with his biggest rival, Kylo Ren, a move that served the narrative well, lacing the atmosphere with an almost tangible tension.
The one-off story begins with a prologue wherein we are introduced to Armitage Hux as a boy, delivering drinks to his father Brendol and a fellow officer named Brooks. Readers of Phasma may remember Hux’s strained relationship with his father, and that aspect of their relationship is once again put on display in these first few panels when Brendol scolds his “pathetic” illegitimate son when he clumsily drops the tray of drinks on the floor.
Despite knowing how sinister and undeniably evil Hux is in the films, I found myself sympathetic toward Armitage the boy. The verbal abuse he must have constantly endured from his unloving and disappointed father is almost unbearably evident in the first few pages of the issue, and when Brooks orders the boy to lick the drinks up off of the floor so as not to let them go to waste, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
Fast forward years later, just before the events of The Force Awakens, and we see an older Hux, now a General in the First Order, being awakened by Kylo Ren. With a bloodied head, Hux rises to discover that his ship had been sabotaged and was about to crash land on the unknown planet below them.
Kylo Ren’s Force abilites protect himself and the General, though no one else survives the crash. Hux was surprised that Ren had saved him, but his rival assures him that it was unintentional. Hux’s survival was only coincidental given his proximity to Ren during the crash. Regardless, he was alive, and he was forced to work with his most hated colleague to make it off of the planet in the same condition.
From here, the tension ramps up even more when Ren blames Hux’s leadership for inspiring someone in his army to try to kill him. Hux, not one to be intimidated by Snoke’s apprentice, fires back at him in earnest. He tells Ren that he thought his ability to read minds would have shown him that people hate him far more for his petulant tantrums and traitorous lineage. This was one of my favorite moments in the issue. I don’t think I ever questioned this before, but come to think of it, the only person in the films who expressed any knowledge of Kylo Ren’s family was Snoke himself. Here, we see that Hux is fully aware of who Kylo Ren’s parents are, and as we’ll see later, he even knows his real name.
Ren ignites his lightsaber and warns Hux that he could easily end his life on the backwater planet and no one would ever know. Hux assures him that Snoke would know, and Ren’s decision to lower his weapon reveals that he knows that Hux is not just grasping at straws here. For reasons unknown to Ren, Snoke had use for the General, so for now, he lets him live. Reluctantly, the two of them decide to put aside their squabble and work together to somehow get a message off planet to the First Order.
But before they even leave the area, the local fauna ambushes them in a surprise attack. As Hux flees for safety, Ren ignites his blade and squares off against the beast, using the Force to bring the creature down before ever having to swing the lightsaber. But, unfortunately for the dark sider, the two of them are outnumbered. Another beast catches Ren by surprise, knocking him unconscious. When the master of the beasts, a mysterious older man in Alderaanian clothes, enters the clearing and calls Hux out of his hiding place, Hux sees an opportunity for a different approach.
Hux asks the man if he was from Alderaan, and the stranger tells him that he was once a guard at the palace, but was off-planet when the Empire blew it to pieces. Bylsma, as he was called, had been living here off the grid since then, afraid to reach out with any communications lest he be discovered. Hux decides to give the man the good news that the Empire had been overthrown. He then capitilizes on Ren’s heritage, telling the man that the unconscious young man on the ground is actually the son of Leia Organa and that the two of them were working to restore peace to the galaxy.
The older man takes them to his ship and allows Hux to use his communicator. When Ren wakes up, Hux tries to bring him up to speed by addressing him as “Ben” and telling him that his mother must be worried sick about him.
When the First Order transport arrives, Bylsma is in shock to discover the two strangers’ betrayal. The Empire may have fallen as Hux had told him, but Captain Phasma and the stormtroopers standing before him told him that something just as bad had risen in its place. Phasma and her troops mow down Bylsma’s creatures, but Hux orders her to leave the man alive – not out of real gratitude of course – but to stay behind as Starkiller base tested its destructive power on the planet. The thought of the Alderaanian survivor ultimately being unable to escape the similar fate of his people amused the wicked general.
Once back with the Order, it doesn’t take long for Hux to discover the saboteur. He deals with the mechanic behind the sabotage, but Hux would be holding the mechanic’s superior just as accountable for the crime. Hux had waited a long time for his revenge, but he is a patient man. As the officer who had humiliated him so long ago lay on the ground before him begging for his life, Hux demonstrates his ability to outlast people like Brooks. Others had seen him as weak. But he was cold and calculating, waiting for the appropriate moment to strike. Admiral Brooks could never hope to survive the wrath of the man who had killed his own father to advance his career. The once-abused pup had now grown into a vicious creature. And he never forgot where he came from, and he never forgave.
General Hux #1 is one of my favorite issues in this series to date, and I highly recommend it. Fans of Kylo Ren and the sequel trilogy in general will probably enjoy this issue quite a bit as it adds a little more complexity and depth to the Hux / Ren rivalry that we see play out on screen. I’m sure Hux will get his comeuppance in The Rise of Skywalker, but the Supreme Leader better watch his back.
Star Wars: Age of Resistance: General Hux #1 is available now in a comic shop near you or online at Comixology. Happy reading Star Wars comic fans!
Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he’s not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.