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Marvel Comics

Book I (Part II) - Darth Maul - 002 - Marvel Comics

Series: Darth Maul

Issue: 2

Title: Book I (Part II)

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

Release Date: March 22, 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...

A Jedi Padawan has been captured by sinister forces...and Darth Maul is determined to find her! This early tale of the galaxy's deadliest Zabrak continues!

Darth Maul's moment of revenge against the Jedi is close at hand. Although, his Sith master — the mysterious Darth Sidious — has commanded Maul to be patient. But Maul's seething rage cannot be contained.

Maul has discovered that a Jedi Padawan has been captured by the Xrexus Cartel. The Padawan is to be auctioned off to the highest bidder in short order. Ignoring his master's orders to avoid the Jedi at all costs, Maul sets out to find this Padawan before the Knights of her order do the same.

He must work in secrecy, though, for if Sidious discovers his disobedience, the punishment will be severe....

Review & Summary

Cover by Rafael Pinto AlbuquerqueThe opening crawl made a point in making a note of Maul's disobedience which has been a familiar theme throughout this series thus far. Opening up on Nar Shaddaa made me think of how much the "Smuggler's Moon" has been used in the recent Canon comics and novels. It's a planet I would definitely like to see more of personally. Getting started with Maul approaching this Cantina, I couldn't help but chuckle when Darth Maul made a statement how his life "will be a long life!"

While Maul made his way through the crowded Cantina, I really enjoyed how they conveyed the feeling that when he walked it, the music stopped and everyone turned to look. It was very obvious those patrons do not take kindly to strangers. For me personally, it is always nice to see another Zabrak (even if it's a bartender and his son). Maul was immediately identified as someone seeking information as the Zabrak bartender told his son you can always tell "when someone comes looking for information, there's a subtle shift in the air."

Not only that, but the bartender quickly identified Maul as a fellow Zabrak and then noticed he was a Nightbrother, but quickly shutting his mouth before uttering the entirety of those words. The patrons made it clear that they would not be helping Maul and even confused him for a Jedi (which seems to be another trend) and last time he was confused for a Jedi, that person did not last long. In this case, Maul was happy to be able to engage in another fight. Maul basically does a flying kick knocking one of the patrons through the window into the outside where the fight ensues. You would think Maul would make quick work of these smugglers.

As Maul reached back for that signature double-bladed Lightsaber, he had a rather rational thought. He knew he would quickly be identified for who he truly was and these smugglers would make word get back to his Master. I was actually pretty shocked at Maul's ability to restrain himself and not use his saber. He seems to hold his own for a few minutes, but then he is blinded by ink spewed by a Quarren named "Dirty" Calgriz. The rest of the smugglers take this opportunity to beat Maul as much as possible. While on the ground, Maul uses the force to launch a dagger and kills Ol' Dirty Calgriz to everyone's surprise. "He's fast! Never even saw him throw the knife!" Maul stands up to face the rest.

Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang! Suddenly four shots ring out and the rest of the smugglers drop dead! This had me confused for a second wondering what Maul used to kill them all. Then Maul says, "Thanks for the help, although you could've stepped in earlier." Surprise, Surprise! Cad Bane and Aurra Sing ( and a culisetto named Vorhdeilo, I'll get to that in a moment) show up! Now, some people may cry "Fan Service!" on this, but I didn't see it that way. It made perfect sense for Maul to hire the best bounty hunters to get the answers he needed. As long as it makes sense for the story, it works for me. If they just showed up to kill those smugglers and then take off, I would cry Fan Service too.

I really love how Darth Maul is constantly sizing every one up. Like how he says if this was a different time or place, he may have tested his mettle by hunting them. He is constantly viewing everyone as a possible victim. Now, for Vorhdeilo, I wasn't thrilled to see the mosquitoes from The Force Awakens as a bounty hunter on Bane's team. I still feel like they have a goal for every comic to connect it to TFA in some way. If it makes sense, fine. But I don't like to have it shoved in there. This didn't put a damper on the Cad Bane/ Aurra Sing showcase though. As Vorhdeilo attempts to drink the blood from the dead smugglers, Sing says it's time to go and they all make their way to a freighter found by Maul's droids.

Inside the freighter, we find the last member of Cad Bane's group of Bounty Hunters. A Chadra-Fan named Troo-Tril-Tek, or "Tek-Tek", torturing a protocol droid named..eh...FE-B3, or "Fee-Bee" for short. I wish it had been a live crew member instead of a droid personally. It only took Maul removing the droids last eye and threatening him with more "Tek-Tek" torture for him to give up all the information needed to get into Xev Xrexus little Padawan auction soiree. It was funny that Fee Bee asked if he could be jettisoned as a reward, but unfortunately Tek-Tek has other plans for the eyeless protocol droid. Aurra says that classic SW line, "I've got a bad feeling about this" to which Bane seems to agree. Bane is so intuitive and already knows Maul's intentions to use them as patsies instead of allies.

Now, this is my favorite part of this issue. While Aurra is piloting, Maul is in his chamber meditating. This brings us to a flashback of sorts where we see Sidious and Maul approaching the Sith Temple on Malachor and Maul saying he's seen it before in his dreams. Inside the temple, you can see the devastation of the Jedi slaughter of the Sith. Sith bodies, now ash, stand around the temple frozen in time. Sidious has Maul breathe in the ashes of the dead Sith which allows Maul to tap into their memories and their rage, taking it as his own. Maul begins to see the Sith being cut down by Jedi all around him and he even feels the burn of the cuts. "I felt the burn of a thousand cuts..the death of a thousand sith."

During this scene, you see the shadows of some of the Jedi attacking, one of which has the shape of Yoda or the same species (and maybe some other familiar faces). What really, really threw me off was that 90% of the lightsabers the Jedi wield are cross-guard sabers just as Kylo Ren wields. Now, in the Rebels episode, "Twilight of the Apprentice," we see that there are a bunch of cross-guard hilts on the ground of the temple. So I do understand why they did that, but it just seemed like an overwhelming number. Really neat to see Maul feeling the cuts of the sabers and then at the end he loses his hands (in the vision). We also learn Maul's mantra in this scene, "Far Above, Far Below." And one other quote I enjoyed from Maul during the flashback, "The Jedi, so proud of their lack of emotion..ironically so afraid of those who sought a different way!"

Back to the main story. The codes they got from the droid worked, apparent by the fact they weren't disintegrated on sight. As they enter the little party going on, you can see all types of species and creatures such as a Hutt and Trandoshan's, but what really got me was the presence of Kyuzo.. you know, our favorite peg warming Constable Zuvio species. Of all the species, they didn't need to add these in there. Xev Xrexus shows up, and she is not what I expected really, and starts to introduce the Padawan, named Eldra Kaitis, up for auction. Maul slips away again and it's interesting to see the thoughts Maul has towards the other people there to bid on the Padawan. He feels nobody else has a purer reason to buy this padawan than he does, although we still do not know his intentions. He follows his droid to the room she is being held and there we see a Twi'lek Padawan that stands there almost smiling. Not what I expected. She simply says, "Who are you supposed to be?"

It was really neat to see more of Maul's thoughts on the way his Master operates. "My Master has plans within plans, but his preparations and plotting..his patience..flies in the face of the very power that feeds the Dark Side." Its very apparent in this series, other publications, and even in The Phantom Menace how much Maul hates this waiting. It's especially interesting since Palpatines patience really pays off for him. It's interesting to ponder how things may have turned out had Maul assaulted a Jedi prematurely. Overall, I really enjoyed this second issue and I love the direction it is heading. Sure, I was really surprised at how much TFA stuff they sneaked in and the look of contentment on the Padawan's face seemed strange, but I love how Maul is at the end of the issue. It's almost like the dog who finally caught the car. He's spent so much time chasing it, it almost seems like he doesn't know what to do with it now that he's caught it. Can't wait to see how this unfolds.

 

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

What Worked

  • Nar Shaddaa (Smuggler's Moon)
  • Cad Bane and Aurra Sing to the rescue!
  • Maul's Meditation flashback to Malachor
  • Once again, Maul's Inner thoughts work wonders

What Didn’t Work

  • Vorhdeilo the Culisetto (mosquito guys from TFA)
  • The droid torture
  • The many cross-guard Lightsabers
  • The Kyuzo (Constable Zuvio species)
  • The Padawan looking content in her cell
Variant Cover Gallery

2nd printing variant cover by Rafael Pinto Albuquerque   Variant cover by David Aja   Star Wars 40th Anniversary variant cover by Paul Renaud

External Links:
Added: June 27, 2017
Category: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Colin Borden
Score:
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