Darth Maul #5 + Poe Dameron #17

Comic book day, ya’ll! I’m looking forward to this batch (and yes, it’s another batch – Marvel is churning out Star Wars comics with reckless abandon lately) because it includes the finale of the Darth Maul series! I have high hopes for this book, and something tells me I’m not going to be disappointed…on the other side of the coin, is it me, or does it feel like we’ve been getting a disproportionate number of Poe comics lately? It’s like every other Star Wars series is buy one get a Poe free…not that I’m complaining, really, I guess I’m just a little reserved because the series has taken a slight downturn as of late…but what’s the point in wonder when I can just read the books and see what’s up? Great question! Here we go!

Darth Maul #5
DM5The team-up is over, and it’s time to get this battle royale kicked into high gear! But first we have to check in with our previous host and auctioneer while she’s informed that most of the hunting parties that went after the padawan are now dead – their checks cleared though, so oh well…back on the surface, Maul and Eldra are engaged and Maul’s dark inner monologue is ecstatic. He seems to be winning with ease, calling Eldra “inferior,” which, in reality, should be true, and then goes in for the kill…but before we see that, we see some Trandoshans that look for like Barabels to me, but I guess all lizards look the same to some people…anyway, some Trandoshans guarding their ship. Then we see our trio of bounty hunters make a plan to take not said ship, but one next to it because it belongs to the Weequay and is “likely to have more…profitable cargo.” Cad Bane tosses in a few smoke bombs and easily dispatches the Trandoshans while Aurra and Vorhdeilo take out the Weequay, taking one as a live prisoner so Vorhdeilo can have a space snack. The crew then set about their plan to slag all other ships and pick up Maul, who’s having more trouble with Eldra than he expected. Instead of getting the kill, he’s taken off guard with some flying rocks and she gets a close saber strike in that ruins his outfit, forcing him to remove the top so he looks very Star Wars Rebels Maul. Now both fully engaged, Maul thinks again about the potential Eldra would have as a dark side user, but banishes the thought like a good little Sith puppet. Eldra tries in vain to suggest that she’s not even a real Jedi, perhaps hoping Maul will give up the fight (as if that’s an option), but more likely trying to egg on his confidence and look for an opening. She manages just such a moment with a well-timed Force push and then throws her saber at Maul, but embedding it into the rocks over his head. He scolds her for disarming herself without hitting her target, and in action movie style she replies, “I wasn’t throwing it at you.” The rocks come tumbling down on top of Maul, Eldra picks up her lightsaber, and the fight is over…well, duh, that’s not how it ends, Maul comes bursting out of the pile, stabbing the unsuspecting padawan through the stomach, the same way he will later kill Qui-gon. In a fantastic panel where you see tears stream down Eldra’s dying face, Maul says, “make no mistake, Eldra Katis. You are a Jedi.” Her saber drops. She dies. Those straight to the gut saber wounds are quite fatal…it’s a shame, for her sake, he didn’t just cut her in half, there’s a much better survival rate for that…anyway, Maul slices her lightsaber in half, then, oddly, is approached by the protocol droid that the now-dead Chadrafan bounty hunter had mutilated for information. Maul takes him out for good measure, confers with his probe droids to find out where his ride is, but doesn’t go back with them to Coruscant. He has one item of unfinished business to take care of…back on her floating base, we see Xev Xrexus calling for more wine, but it seems there’s no one left to get it for her…because Maul’s killed them all. Xev knows her life is over, and has a little conversation with Maul without ever turning to face him. It’s pretty ballsy, honestly, but makes no difference in the end. He cuts her down as she announces that she knows what he is, a Sith…back on Coruscant, Maul and Palpatine are walking and talking and we find out that not only did his master know what he was doing in “secret” this whole time, but that Palpatine basically put him up to it. And of course Palpatine is happy about it, especially because Maul says his bloodlust remains unsatisfied. And now Maul must once again wait, presumably until he faces off with Qui-gon on Tatooine, before he can confront another Jedi…the end. I really enjoyed this series, and this book especially. It hits all the notes I was hoping for and doesn’t disappoint or go somewhere that doesn’t fit with Maul’s character. Hopefully they keep the momentum going with Mace Windu…

Poe Dameron #17
PD17I’m disappointed in myself for not recognizing Suralinda from my favorite Poe issue ever in the “Next Issue” image from #16…for shame…anyway, we start out seeing the ex-journalist-turned-Resistance-janitor scrubbing the bathroom floor before she’s approached by Poe to attend a meeting with he and Leia. During this meeting we find out that the Resistance is mostly funded by “sources across the galaxy sympathetic to our cause,” but that the money isn’t really coming in anymore because people are starting to believe that the First Order aren’t a threat and therefore the Resistance is unnecessary. This is where Suralinda comes in:  as an former Journalist, she’s being tasked to drum up support for the Resistance so they can get the money they need to carry on. So, using intel from 3PO’s “operatives,” she’s going to set out to dig up some dirt on the First Order. Meanwhile, Commander Malarus (Phasma-not-Phasma), is juicing on an all-natural alien steroid that she injects into her eye…this lady is fairly crazy…anyway, and she has Terex hooked up manually so she can search his brain for information on Poe Dameron and Black Squadron herself, rather than asking him, because she doesn’t trust him. Is she right not to trust him? Did his collision with the wall in the last issue really un-lobotomize him, or is he still a drone and I got my hopes up? We don’t find out here, but, if he is back, he’s certainly playing the part well…back at the Resistance base, we find out (well, I find out, this may have been old news for the truly hardcore fans) that the Y-wing has my initials in it. So, needless to say, I’m a much bigger fan of Y-wings now. But, why is there a Y-wing, you ask? Good question. The answer is simply because they need a two-seater because Leia doesn’t trust Suralinda with her own ship. So she’ll be riding with Jess in the Y-wing with Kare as escort for their mission, while Poe and Snap go off to find the traitor Oddy Muva. So, Black Squadron is split up, and we find out that astromech’s won’t fly with Jess anymore, so Kare has to send jump coordinates before they can go to hyperspace (this will either be a story point at a later time when they’re in trouble and need to jump quickly, or it’s just for laughs…too early to tell). During the flight, the ladies have a little conversation, and we learn that Jess likes to fly her ships with her modifications because she likes “control,” and we see a flashback of a young Jess and her sister playing some kind of datapad hologram fighting game that looks awesome before the next panel reveals that a ship (I believe we’re to assume it’s First Order, though it sorta looks like the Ghost) shows up in front of them and her mother says, “oh, no.” I really hope we get more into this story. That’s some compelling character building they have going on…we also find out that Suralinda tries so hard to make her mark because her people, the Squamatans, were nearly wiped out by the Empire – an all-too-common tale (like the Lasats, for example). Then they tell Suralinda that Poe & Snap are after Oddy because he’s a traitor, and we shift to he and his wife packing their things from their home (which seems like a horrible idea – if I knew not one but two different groups I’d screwed over were after me, I wouldn’t head to my last known address) after seeing a shot of Oddy planting a tracker on someone’s ship. They’re trying to hurry to make it out before, uh oh! Too late, the First Order arrives, takes Oddy, and Phasma-not-Phasma, aka Angry Eyebrows, whispers sweet little “it’s a trap” nothings into Oddy’s wife’s ear for her to pass on to Poe when he shows up…then we’re planet-side with the ladies on a world that’s Earth-like except that everything that would be green seems to be red…pretty interesting…anyway, Suralinda goes about setting up camera probes and the ladies have to set up camp because they’re not sure how long it’ll take to catch the First Order doing something awful…then the last panel shows a First Order officer having just shot what looks to be the tall, skinny version of an Abednedo with antenna…so maybe it won’t take long after all, or maybe they’ve just missed the worst of it…we’ll have to wait and see, though, because that’s all for this one…

And there it is, all finished! So, what’d you think? Did you enjoy the conclusion of the Darth Maul series, or was it too nice and tied up and felt kinda ho-hum? How did you feel about the way he killed Eldra? Was having it be just like Qui-gon too on the nose, or was it a nice sort of homage? Or is Maul a character in a fighting game and that’s his finishing move? Would you be interested in seeing another Maul mini-series, or has he had enough time in the sun? What about older Sith, like Bane or even Sidious and Plagueis, would you want to read their comic? And what about this Poe storyline? Do you like the split protagonist style they’re going for, or would you prefer it be more centered around Poe exclusively? Do you think Terex is faking, or is he really still a yes-bot? Give the books a thorough second read and let me know what you think in the comments…or the next time you walk by a pile of rocks I’ll make sure Maul is lying in wait to give you the ol’ gut skewer…TWS out.

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