Yo, Darth Maul is alive, well, in one piece, and back for the second issue of his standalone miniseries! Hip, hip, hooray! I’m pretty excited to see what happens now that we’re getting into the real meat and potatoes of the story after the introduction and setup of the first issue…I think this could go to some really interesting places for Darth Maul’s character (especially considering all we have of “Darth” Maul otherwise, really, is The Phantom Menace), or, as is always a possibility, it could end up being an entirely pointless series that merely showcases Darth Maul’s incredible ability and unabatable blood lust…which is pretty much the only thing we already know about him…so, which way will the story go? Let’s dive into issue #2 and find out!
Darth Maul #2
Our boy Darth Maulski’s looking for information on a Jedi Padawan that’s to be auctioned off by a Xev Xrexus…so, where does he go? Why, Nar Shaddaa, naturally – when Obi-wan said “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy,” I think it’s safe to say he meant specifically on Tatooine because the Smuggler’s Moon nearly takes the cake on a galactic level…anyway, the first thing I noticed among the opening panels, and throughout the book, honestly, is how amazing the alien diversity is – aside from one dude that looks suspiciously like Count Dooku, there’s not a human in sight and the alien presence runs the gamut from original trilogy, to prequels, to The Force Awakens and beyond. It’s fantastic. It’s what I’ve been hoping for in a Star Wars comic since the word “go”…what better medium is there to really pack with aliens than the comics? None, I say, none. So, the bar’s been set, everyone else, get crackin’! Speaking of bars, Maul goes in one on Nar Shaddaa and starts chatting up the bartender, who also happens to be Zabrak (and has his too-young son with him), in his typical “man of few words” fashion, basically just saying the name of the person he’s looking for a couple times, draws the ire of the crowd, and ends up kicking one of them through a window while dragging a few others along…a fight ensues where Maul is terribly out-numbered but can’t use his lightsaber for fear of someone snitching to Sheev, so he ends up getting cracked in the head by a blade hilt, knocking him down and bringing blood. Just as a Quarren named Dirty Calgriz is about to give Maul a “blaster bolt through that horned head,” the Quarren gets a Force-pushed blade through the chest instead. The thugs think Maul’s just super-fast and don’t know he has the Force, obviously, so they’re about to all blast him when they mysteriously all get taken out…enter: Cad Bane, Aurra Sing, and Vorhdeilo, a bloodthirsty (literally) Culisetto, the same small, pink & yellow, insectoid species as the Dengue sisters from The Force Awakens (see? Killing it with the aliens…yes, that’s a pun, but I also mean it). Maul says to himself it would be good sport to hunt the bounty hunters, but, for now, he needs them…all part of a larger plan, I’m sure. Anyway, while Maul was playing nice with the locals, the bounty hunters found what he’s after, the location of the auction, so they, to paraphrase Cad, make themselves scarce, and head to a ship where the hunters got their info. and happened to kill all the old owners, save a protocol droid that’s being tortured by a Chadra-fan nicknamed “Tek-tek” to extract the last bit of data they need. Tek-tek isn’t doing the trick, though, so Maul steps up, talks to the droid more than he’s talked to anyone thus far, pulls out his remaining eye (Tek-tek had already removed the other one), and says, “Perhaps you’ll find this to be a blessing. You will not be able to see what Tek-tek does to you.” That threat hits home and Fee-bee, the droid, spills the beans…and we’re off to the Drazkel System! Everything goes as planned and the group is allowed into the event, but Maul is nowhere to be found (and during his absence Cad admits to Aurra that they may have been hired as “patsies more than allies.”) – turns out he’s meditating on his experience on Malachor with Palpatine, during which his master literally had his apprentice “let the hate fill you” by Force-moving the ash from a dead Sith into his lungs, causing him to have a vision of monstrous-looking, seemingly-evil Jedi decimating Sith and then turning on him, slashing him and eventually cutting off his hands…then he comes out of the meditation with a *gasp* and we switch locations to an elaborate meeting room, full of a who’s who of what will become Maul’s Shadow Collective, as well as a few guys dressed just like Zuvio (not-so-law-abiding constables, I guess)…and then we see Xev Xrexus who is…a human with red, mechanical-looking arms and a mom haircut…with a name like that, and with how the rest of the issue knocked aliens out of the park, I was a little let down…also, she has four droidekas with her which I find to be an odd choice, but I’ll leave it at that…anyway, she says the auction will begin in two hours, which also seems weird: why, with a huge group of criminals that probably don’t get along all in one place, would you make them wait? If nothing else, it gives Maul time to sneak away, rendezvous with one of his probes, and come face-to-face with the padawan (behind a red shield that he’ll get reacquired with later) right before “To be continued…” appears at the bottom of the page…gah! I mean, of course it ends there, but still…now, for a bit of nitpickiness: Tek-tek has a cybernetic eye in the comic, but not in the “Next Issue” image…I guess it could be a removable thing Tek-tek wears when working on droids, but it didn’t seem that way…anyway, otherwise, great book! I’m really looking forward to seeing where this series goes…
Aaaand scene! Or something…so, what’d you think? The alien diversity is fantastic, right? Aside from the Stepford Wife host, of course…what’d you think of Maul’s (and yes, I know I said I was going to refer to him as “Darth Maul” in these reviews since he’s still technically a Sith at this point, but that’s just too much work…sorry) Malachor flashback/vision? Pretty interesting, right? I like getting the Sith point of view on what happened, and how they were treated by the Jedi…oh and how ’bout Vorhdeilo? Pretty rad addition, if you ask me (and I’m sure I heard someone ask)…unless you think adding the bounty hunters is a symptom of “small galaxy syndrome?” (I might agree, but let’s see where it goes first.) So, give the book a thorough second read and let me know what you think in the comments…or I’ll tell Xev Xrexus that I found another padawan she can auction and send her to your address…until next time, TWS out.