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Marvel Comics

Book I (Part III) - Darth Maul - 003 - Marvel Comics

Series: Darth Maul

Issue: 3

Title: Book I (Part III)

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

Release Date: April 26, 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...

An evil crime syndicate is auctioning off a Jedi Padawan…that Darth Maul plans to take — and kill — for his own. Featuring: a band of bounty hunters including Cad Bane and Aurra Sing!

Jedi Padawan Eldra Kaitis is the prisoner of profiteering gangster Xev Xrexus. Xrexus has gathered the most dangerous crime bosses in the galaxy to participate in a nefarious auction to purchase the Padawan.

Little does Xrexus know, Sith apprentice Darth Maul has infiltrated the auction. With a group of bounty hunters – including Cad Bane and Aurra Sing – Maul plans on purchasing or kidnapping the Padawan. Maul plans on kidnapping the Padawan, and then killing her, in order to satiate his desire for vengeance against the Jedi.

But Maul's Master – the mysterious Darth Sidious – has forbidden Maul from interacting with the Jedi. Maul operates in secrecy, knowing that he will face severe punishment if Sidious discovers his disobedience....

Review & Summary

Cover by Rafael Pinto AlbuquerqueTalk about anticipation! When we last saw Maul, he had just come face to face with the Jedi Padawan Eldra Kaitis. I couldn't wait to see how this was going to unfold, despite the fact that the Padawan looked like she was comfortable and smiling in her prison. She had asked Maul who he was and now we picked back up there with her anticipating his answer. The look on Maul's face in the first panel is one of excitement, rage, anticipation, and pure evil. The amazing thing is you can pick all those emotions up with the look of his eyes and the thought box that simply says, "This is what I have waited for." I know that this is exactly what I have been waiting for as well.

Here's the problem I have with this part of the story. I had said in the last review and again here that the Padawan appears to look almost content in her jail. Not calm like a Jedi would be or even worried like any other person, but almost with a smile. She actually appears to be one of those Mall Valley Girl types. Come on, you know the types I'm talking about. I can't help but hear her talk like, "OMG, like what R U like looking at Mr. Spiky Head." It's just the way her facial expressions are combined with that hand on the hip pose. Just not what I expected from a Padawan

Thankfully, once that double-bladed crimson lightsaber ignites, the look on her face changes from "teenage attitude" to one of fear and dread. "Who...What are you?" she asks Maul, who is savoring the fact that her defiance has turned to a grim revelation. Maul slashes at the energy field containing the Padawan to no avail until his probes come back to bring him news which nearly comes too late. Xev Xrexus approaches with two Droidekas at her side. She calls Maul's secret escapade to view the Padawan an "egregious violation of protocol." Maul, hiding his hilt behind his back, shows remarkable poise with his fake pleasantries and apologies. It's nice to see Maul be able to quickly subdue his rage to be smart and strategic (like he was in Rebels). They both agree it would be best for both parties to not mention this .

Maul returns to the ship where Bee-Fee makes some calculations letting Maul and the crew know that they will not have enough to purchase the Padawan. It wouldn't even be worth mentioning the odds. F3-B3 also makes it known that his former master did not plan on purchasing the Padawan, but instead raiding the auction, taking the Padawan, and robbing the guests. However, F3-B3 is able to calculate who will be the winner and Maul says it's time for the backup plan. Fee-Bee's attempt to get freed again is a nice humorous break in the situation. When Maul returns to the main room, he is surrounded by hologram viewings of the Padawan. It's sort of funny to see him literally surrounded by his most hated enemy. Maul talks of the anxiousness and hatred flowing through him so strongly that those without the Force could feel it. "For someone like Eldra Kaitis, the feeling must be overwhelming. I imagine her, sitting in her cell, nearly drowning in her own dread," Maul.

As Maul makes his way around the room, surrounded by all the crime lords waiting for the auction to begin, he rationalizes his betrayal to Sidious. He feels betrayed by his Master for making him wait, so he betrays him by attending the auction. The only real fear you can see Maul feel is that if he is caught, Sidious will kill him and rob him of the chance to kill Jedi. At this moment, I found myself thinking how similar Maul is to Sidious in the fact that he recognizes the need for patience in his plans. Then Maul suddenly thinks to himself how he "must give his own plans time to unfold. In this way, I am more like my Master than I realized."

It is now time for the auction that everyone, including Maul, has been patiently waiting for to begin. Maul watches as Hondo and his crew of pirates bid against the Kyuzo (Zuvio species). Meanwhile, while all the bidding action is going on, Cad Bane, Aurra Sing, and Vorhdeilo board the ship of the winner that Fee-Bee had projected. Just as a Moogan named Jee Kra bids a whopping 2.5 million credits for the Padawan, Cad and Aurra take over the ship by killing all the men on board. Xev Xrexus tries to up the bid by remarking on the fact that the Padawan's fabled lightsaber weapon is included in the sale. Cad Bane tells Aurra to get Tek-Tek on board quickly while Vorhdeilo feeds on the blood of the victims like a good mosquito. Jee Kra is announced as the winner of the auction. While Tek-Tek boards the ship, there happen to be two shadowy figures and a droid sitting in the dark watching and saying, "Let Xrexus know..looks like she was right. They took the bait!" Uh-Oh, this is never a good sign.

Jee Kra is walking with the Padawan's lightsaber in hand followed by his security escorting the Padawan. He asks his men if the ship is ready to go because he doesn't want to stick around with a ship full of losers.The ship is ready and he wants to get out of there with his prize ASAP. The Padawan makes a remark to Jee Kra saying, "Careful with that Lightsaber. I'd hate to see you burn your own face off," which he seems to get a kick out of. He also lets her know how lucky she is that he won and not some of the other bidders, "I shudder to think what they might have done with a Padawan." As they begin to walk up the ramp to board the ship, Jee Kra continues by informing her he has "means of tearing spirit and resolve away from his prisoners..and I'm sure.." but he stops short after seeing Maul standing there with his crew in the ship.

Maul stands there in his robe looking very menacing. He makes some remarks to a confused Jee Kra wondering if he really believed he could purchase a Jedi Padawan and just walk away without repercussions. Bane, with a smirk on his face, says, "Let's see how clean we get through this." Maul continues on looking much more furious, "Did you think I would allow such a transgression?!" Jee Ker still stands there in a sort of dazed and confused state wondering if he is supposed to know who Maul is. Maul lowers his hood and the ship's exit begins to close, sealing Jee Ker and his men inside with the furious Sith and deadly Bounty Hunters. Maul starts with this weird move where he whips Jee Kra with his cloak and the Padawan's Lightsaber drops from his hands as the cloak starts to suffocate him.

Maul makes some quick work of a couple of Jee Kra's guards while the Padawan watches with a worried look and realizes Maul is using the Force. Jee Kra's guards take off running saying, "Leave him! He's gone!" as Maul's robe chokes him to death.Cad Bane smiles and says, "The same goes for all of you. Maybe for all of us, too." As Maul continues to beat everyone in sight, the Padawan has a realization as she says with an eerie smile on her face, "I know who he is...What he is..." She begins to say words, "You..You are.." but Maul quickly snaps at her, "You know nothing! Nothing about who I am! Nothing about what I want!"

This next part is my favorite out of the issue. Maul gets right in the face of Eldra and you can see the rage in his eyes. Eldra gets right back in his face and tells him, "I know I'm not afraid of you, I know you're trying to hide who you really are from the scum you're working with. Even while you were fighting just now. Despite all the jumping and kicking, what you really wanted to use was.." Maul reaches down and picks up her lightsaber and tells Bane they need to get out of there now, before anyone discovers what they did. Cad Bane seems to be losing his faith in Maul and you can see it in the way he says, "Whatever you say....BOSS."

The interaction between Maul and the Padawan is great. It is definitely the highlight of this issue for me. Maul shoves Eldra into another room where she asks him, "You're... you're a Sith, aren't you? I've heard rumors..since I was a youngling, but I didn't think you were real." I can't tell if Maul enjoys this or despises this fact that the Sith are merely used as bedtime stories for younglings, but he responds, "Of course not. You prayed you would never stand before your nightmares made flesh." Eldra is extremely...ballsy for lack of a better word, and i LOVE it. She tells Maul how she really feels about him.

She basically yells at Maul telling him that she is not afraid of him. She lets him know that HE is the coward for lurking and hiding in the shadows keeping who he really is a secret. He's the one who is scared. I honestly couldn't believe that Maul stood there and let her rip into him like this for so long, but then Maul begins to chant his mantra, "Far Above, Far Below." She further insults the Sith Lord by telling him that she doesn't have time for his nursery rhymes and he should just get on with killing her if that is what he plans on doing, but then she ups the ante a bit. She basically challenges Maul by suggesting that he remove her binders, hand her the Lightsaber, and "we'll see how all that spinning and leaping helps you against an equal.." but before she can finish, Maul cuts in, THIS was the most offensive thing she could ever say by suggesting that she is his equal."No Jedi can match my skill, my fury, my righteousness!" he says.

He tells her that he will cut her free and hand her the Lightsaber "and then I will have my revenge!" This is by far the most wickedly evil look I have ever seen Maul have, and he has had some evil looks over the years. The artist really conveys the rage, hate, and passion in his eyes for this. We now go back to Aurra and Cad in the pilot chair. Aurra tells Cad that he looks extremely calm considering he had doubts about Maul's intentions. Cad tells her he still does, but he can't do anything about it now. First, they need to get to a safe port before they cut ties with Maul "one way or the other." Aurra takes that to mean that Cad intends to kill him and he smirks, "No such thing as easy money." Tek-Tek and Verhdeilo are cleaning up the bodies from the fight when one of Maul's probe droids gets in Tek-Tek's face. He is annoyed, but F3-B3 suggests that he listen to it.

 

The probe droid beeps some things to Tek-Tek who says, "What do you mean 'there's a countdown'? Get out of my way and let me take--Brace yourselves! Take cover! Get--" but he doesn't get to finish his sentence before the explosion goes off. We see Xev Xrexus watching from a window with a drink in hand. One of her people walks in and tells her the ship has been disabled as she had requested, which she obviously can see. She tells him to alert the guests, the hunt begins shortly for a 350,000 credit buy-in with a smile on her face.

WOW! That was a lot, Phew! I hope you're still here lol. What a crazy issue this one was. It wouldn't be fair to compare it to the last issue which had Malachor AND Cad Bane showing up, but on its own this issue was great! I enjoyed how we saw a bit of restraint and patience from Maul who is typically talking about how much he hates waiting. This issue really got exciting for me when Jee Ker entered the ship with Eldra and Maul went crazy. Once she realized who and what Maul was, the interaction between the two was great. Now, I haven't read issue #4 yet, but unfortunately it is such an easy setup. Xev Xrexus not only just made 2.5 million credits off the sale of the Padawan, but now she is getting 350,000 credits per guest for this hunt she set up containing not only the Padawan, but now a Sith and some bounty hunters as well. It's really obvious as to what will happen with Maul and Eldra in the next issue, but I am still excited regardless of what I think might happen.

 

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

What Worked

  • Artist makes Maul's evil really shine in this issue
  • More Maul fighting without a Lightsaber
  • Maul's realization he shares commonalities with Sidious
  • Maul's calm and rational demeanor
  • Hondo and his Pirates at the auction

What Didn’t Work

  • Valley Girl Padawan look in the start
  • Predictable setup for next issue
  • Maul's weird robe Force suffocation
Variant Cover Gallery

2nd printing variant cover by Rafael Pinto Albuquerque   Variant cover by David Lopez   Variant cover by Jorge Molina   Variant cover by Declan Shalvey

External Links:
Added: July 1, 2017
Category: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Colin Borden
Score:
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