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Book I (Part V) - Darth Maul - 005 - Marvel Comics

Series: Darth Maul

Issue: 5

Title: Book I (Part V)

Creators: Cullen Bunn (Writer); Luke Ross (Illustrator)

Release Date: July 19, 2017

Timeline: Prior to the events of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Review by Colin Borden. This is a full review with discussion.
Spoiler warning applies...

Darth Maul has kidnapped Jedi Padawan Eldra Kaitis…and he's out for blood. But she's not going down without a fight. Duel!

Sith apprentice Darth Maul has infiltrated an auction attended by the most dangerous crime bosses in the galaxy against the will of his Master, Darth Sidious. The prize: Jedi Padawan Eldra Kaitis, who was captured by profiteering gangster Xev Xrexus. With a group of bounty hunters –including Cad Bane and Aurra Sing – Maul has kidnapped the Padawan with the intention of killing her to satiate his vengeance against the Jedi.

Having discovered the theft, Xrexus shoots the hunters’ vessel down and invites the auction attendees to hunt them down. Maul and Eldra split off from their group in order to pick off their pursuers. Despite working together, they bait each other until finally, their lightsabers clash….

Review & Summary

Cover by Rafael Pinto AlbuquerqueSo here we are, the final issue in the Darth Maul mini-series. When we left on at the end of the previous issue, Mail and Kaitis have just crossed Lightsabers. We pick back up over the moon of Drazkel where Xrexus is enjoying his wine while peering out the window towards the moon where an epic hunt has ensued. Her servants bring news that the Padawan is proving to be a significant challenge for the hunters, which Xrexus sees as a good thing since they’re getting their money’s worth. The servants continue by telling her that most of them are already dead and the majority of the others have decided to give up, but she is informed that their payments cleared so that is all she cares about. “I suppose there’s no harm in a little bloodshed. That’s what they paid for, after all.” Xrexus says sipping from her glass.Even though I am stating the obvious, I could tell from the start that her greed would come back to bite her in the end.

 

 

Back to the action where we find Maul and Eldra locked in battle. Maul’s eyes are glowing an evil bright yellow as he smiles in delight. He thinks to himself, “For this moment, I have risked EVERYTHING. I have been trained for one task. My rage has been honed into a weapon serving one purpose. To Kill Jedi. Yet I have been ordered to wait…to bide my time…to muzzle my anger. In secrecy, I stalked this enemy. If my master learns of this betrayal, all my training would be for naught. Yet as Lightsaber flares against Lightsaber for this first time, I know one thing for certain. It is worth it.”

Just then, Eldra flips over Maul to strike from behind which he easily blocks. He takes note of the fact that “she is cunning…fast...strong with the force. But she is NOT my EQUAL. She is—like ALL Jedi—INFERIOR.” Maul kicks her which sends her flying to the ground as he runs towards her spinning his double-bladed Lightsaber. “But I need this fight to prove it to myself. That is why she must die here on this desolate moon” he finishes his thought.

Now, we check in with the Bounty Hunters as they decide which ship to steal; the Trandoshan ship or the Weequay ship. Bane tells Aurra to take her pick. Aurra responds, “it depends on what’s most important, Bane. The Trandoshan ship’s got more get-up-and-go, but the Weequay are likely to have more…profitable cargo.” Bane holds two smoke bombs in hand and tells Aurra and Vorhdeilo, “Time is money, so let’s make this quick. Try to keep damage to the ship to a minimum. I don’t want to break down in the middle of space. Fire in the hole.” Cad tosses the smokes bombs at the Trandoshans and before they realize what’s happening, Bane takes them out with a single shot to each.

The Weequay stand watching the attack and one says, “They’re going for the Trandoshan ship! What do we do?” The other Weequay responds, “Why should we care? I ain’t making friends with those lizards…and I ain’t gonna be a hero.” Just then, the two Weequay are shot in the back. Aurra comes from behind, “Tsk. You really should have been watching your own backs, honey. Rubbernecking gets you nowhere.” One Weequay is still alive and Aurra is about to finish him off when Vorhdeilo says, “Leave him alive. We’ll take him with us.” Aurra seems confused, “Why? We don’t need a hostage, Vorhdeilo.” Obviously, Mr. Mosquito has other plans, “I didn’t say anything about a hostage. This is a snack.” Name see’s the ship taking off and he uses his thrusters to launch himself onboard. Aurra asks Bane where they’re heading which he responds, “Our client said to tear through the other ships. That’s what we’re going to do. Should be simple enough. They won’t be expecting an attack from one of the other hunter parties. Then we pick up Maul assuming he’s still alive.”

Back to the main action! Eldra launches a ton of rocks at Maul with the Force which he easily cuts through with his spinning saber. It is interesting how often he does this rapid spinning now which resembled the Inquisitors from Rebels, except their double-bladed weapons were specifically designed to spin like that while Maul’s is not. She slices at Maul, just nicking his robe causing his top to fall off. “She surprises me.. I thought she was finished…defeated before the battle had even started. But I misjudged her. I underestimated her spirit,” Maul thinks. He then says as they begin to square off again, “Yes. This is the battle I’ve wanted.” You can really see how much Maul is enjoying this fight with his first Jedi adversary.

They clash again. “The Padawan demands my attention if not my respect. A lapse in concentration…one misstep…and she’ll cut me down.” He thinks. It’s great to see how Maul is starting to respect her at least as an opponent. She has gone toe-to-toe with him thus far and he realizes that she could kill him if he makes a mistake. She flips over him and lands on the High Ground! “She defends—yes—but I can see it in her eyes…in her movements…Eldra Kaitis is biding her time…waiting for the perfect instant in which to strike. In this way, she is more like the Sith than I would have expected.” Maul thinks to himself. On the high ground, Eldra tells Maul that she is not going to allow him to butcher her. “And…even if you did…I’m not the Jedi Knight you want to fight. I’m just a student...A Padawan.” She says, almost pleading to Maul’s pride. He wants to kill a Jedi, and she knows that. If she can convince him she is not a worthy opponent, then maybe he will stop.

Now, Maul flies to the high ground by using his spinning lightsaber…Much lie the Inquisitors did in Rebels. I don’t like this, at all. Maul doesn’t have that sort of hilt that allows the handle to stay stationary while the blades spin around it. So, I’m not really sure how he is doing this or even WHY they made this like this. These are the pointless connections that I don’t think need to be made. Maul kicks her and sends he to the ground again, but she sends him to the ground with a Force push. Maul thinks to himself about the possibilities of turning Eldra to the Dark Side and it is distracting him. He knows he can’t let her survive otherwise Darth Sidious will learn of Maul’s betrayal. Even though he knows he is certain he must kill her, he can't focus on the battle because another “thrilling prospect” is going through his mind. She throws him against the rock wall.

“Will all the Jedi I am destined to Kill…the Padawans and the Knights alike..present me with such a worthy challenge?” Maul thinks in his mind. Eldra Kaitis then throws her Lightsaber at Maul, but it enters the rocksabout two feet above his head. In his arrogance, Maul says, “A wasted effort. If you’re going to throw your weapon, make sure you hit your target.” Eldra has a smile on her face as she responds, “I wasn’t throwing it at you.” Just then, the rocks above Maul start to tumble down trapping Maul underneath. Eldra calmly reaches down to grab her hilt and begins to walk away as she seems to think the battle is over, but she suddenly turns her head and lets out a simple sound, “Ah—“ Maul bursts out of the rocks impaling Eldra with his ignite blade through her midsection, just around the spot that Qui-Gon Jinn took the blade.

As she rests on Maul’s hilt, face to face with her killer with tears streaming down her face, Maul says his final words to her, “Make no mistake, Eldra Kaitis. You ARE a Jedi.” And with those last words, her hilt drops from her hands and hits the ground. This battle of Apprentices has ended, Maul has bested her (to no one’s surprise). He stands over her lifeless body, his eyes glowing a fiery yellow-red as he slashes her hilt with his blade destroying it. He thinks to himself, “And—Just like that—it is done. I have killed my first Jedi. The first of MANY. Her light has been snuffed. And I feel…”

As he begins to walk away, guess who makes an appearance? F3-B3, the eyeless droid who has been wandering the moon. “Is…is someone out there? I thought I heard someone. I’ve been wandering…I’m afraid U can’t see. Oh…please be friendly,” Fee-Bee says. And with one swift slash, Maul cuts the droid down. Sad ending for that poor abused and used protocol droid. At least they tied up that loose end. As Maul walks away from the smoking body of F3-B3, his droids tell him something and he suddenly see’s the ship the Bounty Hunters have taken. He is surprised to see them as he had assumed they would abandon him. “It would appear I have underestimated them as well. The Force is not strong with them, but the desire for payment is,” he thinks.

He knows they need him to come home so he can compensate them, and he will, but he won’t be travelling home with them. “Theirs is not the only debt I must repay, “ Maul thinks. We now see Xrexus as she is yelling with an empty glass for her servants to bring her “More Corellian wine.” She looks furious that no one is jumping to serve her. “Hello? Are any of my countless, oh-so attentive servants listening? I need more wine. I expect a response,” she yells. From the shadow comes an unexpected response, “you will not get one. They’re all dead.” The artist did very well showing the terror wash over Xrexus’s face as Maul approaches from the shadows.

 

 

“Ah, of course. If I had known I had so little time left, I would have requested a better vintage,” She says, “I don’t suppose I could barter for my life? Let me live and I’ll make it worth your while.” I think she already knew this answer was coming, “Your money is useless to me,” Maul responds. “This is vengeance then? For the girl? For the Padawan?” she queries. Maul, with an evil scowl on his face, thinks to himself, “I do not seek to avenge the Jedi. I would never do such a thing. That is not the reason I am here.” Xrexus continues on, “That is what your kind deal in, is it not? Revenge. Yes…I know what you are. Although I thought you all died off long ago.”This I did not expect. I expected Maul would kill her off to eliminate any trace of himself from this whole event, but I did not expect her to know WHAT he was. “That’s it. Say it. Give me a reason to strike,” Maul thinks as he ignites his blade. “Sith,” Xrexus lets out as her final word as Maul brings his Lightsaber down onto her.

Back to Coruscant. We see Darth Maul walking alongside his Master, Darth Sidious. Sidious starts the conversation, “Tell me, my apprentice. Do you feel satisfied? Now that you have slain the Padawan, has your blood lust been sated?” Maul has a complete look of terror and surprise on his face, “You…you knew?” Maul says, completely shocked. Sidious responds, with a wicked grin and his yellow eyes, “Of Course. Was it not I who set you on this path? Did you believe you would uncover a secret to which I was not already privy?” Maul starts to understand what this was. “A trial. You were testing me…testing my loyalty. And I have failed,” Maul says. “Have you?” Sidious says, “The Sith were born in defiance. You have but embraced the very nature of our order. And so I ask again: are you satisfied?”

Maul grins, “No.” Sidious walks away smiling a very evil smile, as he does, and simply says, “Good.” Maul stands, looking out into Coruscant thinking, “At last I know how it feels, taking a Jedi life. I did not foresee this. I expected to be fulfilled—at least momentarily—by the act. But my rage…my hatred…has only intensified. Eldra Kaitis died…And I only feel more empty. An emptiness I have been trained to fill in only one way…By slaying Jedi. Eldra Kaitis was but the first. Now I must only…wait. The End.

 

WOW! Given the fact that we knew how a lot of this series was going to go since we knew that Eldra could only either die or be turned (the latter being less likely), this was still an excellent series. Yes, I know a lot of people were upset about the actual substance of the series, but it did its job as a character study of Darth Maul. We got to see him do and think a lot of things he wouldn’t have necessarily have done before. The fact that he was able to see and also recognize that Eldra was much more than he anticipated was a surprise.

However, I’ll get to this issue alone first and then give a few more thoughts on the series as a whole. There was a lot of this issue that worked for me and very few things that didn’t. It was really important that they started the issues with Xrexus basically celebrating her intelligence over the group of hunters. She got her money, they got killed (or ran) and in her mind, it all worked out. You could really anticipate her demise now if you hadn’t already seen it coming beforehand. The battle between Maul and Eldra was great. It wasn’t overdone and it was exactly what I’d expect from two apprentices have their first REAL Lightsaber duel. I think Eldra’s final move was really clever and it was nice to see Maul get taken down a few times, but her overconfidence is what did her in obviously.

I also really liked how the battle ended. He had her, basically resting on his hilt with the blade through her belly, as he said his final words to her. I thought that was a fitting end and I think they did her justice as a character. Did I want to see her live? Yes, I thought she was a worthy character, but I still could not tell where she would’ve gone or fit in had she survived. She seemed lost, caught in the middle of light and dark. In the end, it was better that she was killed otherwise there would be too many doubts to put to rest later (which could’ve been done, but I don’t think that is the point of these mini-series). It was also nice to see them wrap up F3-B3, even though it was just a quick slice and done. It was great that Fee-Bee at least got a bit of revenge against Tek-Tek before wandering off and eventually getting slayed by Maul.

The bounty hunters did just enough to make their part of this series relevant. Could they have shown them finish up and get paid and maybe tip the hat to future events? Sure, but it wasn’t necessary so I won’t fault them for that. I also wouldn’t have been upset if Mr. Mosquito himself, Vorhdeilo, had been eliminated for good. I don’t like him and I also don’t like having to wonder why he isn’t around later on with Bane and Aurra. My favorite part of this issue was the ending. Starting with Xrexus, it was great to see Maul take her out. It was also surprising that she was so aware that he was a Sith. That whole conversation was great and it wasn’t too much.

Maul’s face when he finds out Darth Sidious knew of the entire Padawan ordeal was priceless! It was a combination of fear and shock. I really love the direction Sidious took it though by making it a test and explaining that the Sith were born in defiance. I think they make Sidious look far too evil in this comic though. He looks as though he has already been deformed by the Lightning, but besides that I really like how Sidious ended the series. I did NOT like the spinning lightsaber that Maul did frequently. The Inquisitors from Rebels did this and also flew with them, but their hilts were designed to spin like that while Maul’s is not. So, when he did that little fly up with the spinning saber, I thought that was an unnecessary attempt at connection.

The overall series, I thought it was great for what it was. After losing Maul for good on Rebels this year, it was great to see him return in some form. This was just enough to give us a closer look into the psyche of Maul while not adding too much unnecessary stuff into his past. This series was never about that, it was about Maul as a character and his Psyche as he engaged and killed his first Jedi and I think this series did that very well. I can see how some people would want more substance, but this isn’t what this mini-series was meant to be and I think it would’ve diluted Maul’s back story if they filled it with too much garbage just for the sake of giving us more Maul. They gave us more Maul, while keeping the Maul story we already know alive and adding a tiny bit more to enrich the character. I believe Mace Windu is the next mini-series being released and if they do something similar, it should be a good mini-series as well.

So, what are your thoughts now that this Maul mini-series has concluded? Was it everything you wanted and more? Or do you wish there was more in the story? What do you wish they did differently? Let me know in the comments below!

Want to see a certain series reviewed? Drop me a line and let me know!

What Worked

  • F3-B3 got his ending
  • Xev Xrexus also met her end
  • The bount hunters got their last bit of fun in
  • The epic duel between Maul & Eldra
  • Darth Sidious ever the Master puppeteer from the shadows
  • The artwork did great showing the everchanging emotions

What Didn’t Work

  • Darth Maul's Rebels-esque lightsaber spinning/flying
Variant Cover Gallery

Variant cover by Kaare Andrews   Variant cover by Terry Dodson   Variant cover by David Lopez   Variant cover by Diego Olortegui   Star Wars 40th Anniversary variant cover by Julian Totino Tedesco

External Links:
Added: July 24, 2017
Category: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Colin Borden
Score:
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