Darth Maul, Part I - Review
Comic Books and Star Wars go together like cheese and wine, or should I say Darth Maul and brutality go together like spaghetti and meatballs. When we see the Sith apprentice at his most murderous and sadistic state, that is when he is most appealing. Thankfully that is exactly what writer Cullen Bunn and artist Luke Ross give us, and more. Within the first few pages of Darth Maul, Part I, we see a group of bounty hunters (which the galaxy never seems to be short of) on Twon Ketee engaging with a pack of Rathtars. Darth Maul lurks in the shadows, envious of the beast’s anger and hate, while also having no boundaries for holding them back. This sets up an interesting early view on the relationship between Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious and the title character. When we see the Rathtars slaughter and engulf the bounty hunters, that is when Darth Maul comes into action and satisfies his addiction to carnage and bloodlust.
One of the many characteristics of the Sith is their strong hatred for the Jedi and their Order, this also applies to Maul and his ambitions to eliminate them. This is where the story dives deeper into the relationship between the Sith Master and Apprentice, something the prequel trilogy was seriously lacking. Darth Maul feels he is ready to fight and kill Jedi, but we all know Darth Sidious has something else up his sleeve. We watch the frustration building in their relationship due to the contrast in their personalities. Sidious is calm, patient, and intelligent, which gives him ability to hide himself from the Jedi and participate in the Galactic Senate. Maul takes infinite pleasure in the suffering of others by his own hands, preys on their fears, and unleashes his anger on those unfortunate to be in his path of sadistic destruction. This makes it difficult to hide him from the Jedi.
The story grabbed me right from the beginning and I didn’t want it to end, it’s action packed and engaging. I also have to give praise to the artwork as well. Despite being dark in tone and mostly red and shades of black, it overcomes redundancy by detailed and populated environments. The pages and panels that show off Corusant are my favorite, a planet rich in industrial landscapes and an imperative location in the Star Wars universe. These pages perfectly convey Darth Maul’s frustration and ambition. The artwork depicts this so well it could have worked without any dialogue. The emotions the character’s express in their surrounding told me exactly what we needed to know. That being stated, we do get to read some intense and frightening lines from Maul while he is on Corusant.
This is a fantastic start to a mini-series about a character poorly represented in live action. Thankfully the expanded universe has resurrected interest in a character with so much potential. The second part of this series comes out next month and I already have the release date marked on my calendar (3/22/2017). If you’re a Star Wars fan like myself, this is something you don’t want to pass up.