Colleen’s Book Corner: Star Wars: Darth Maul
Author: Comics by Cullen Bunn and and Luke Ross
Published: February 2017
Set pre-The Phantom Menace (around 32 BBY)
Give me even more Maul
As a Maul enthusiast, I expected to LOVE this comic series. While I enjoyed it, I was left wishing there was more to the self-contained story. It was great to peek into Maul’s already unstable mind, to see the world as he sees it. When I finished the last issue, however, I wondered about the missed opportunities. It’s set before The Phantom Menace, and it could have given a lot of context to Maul’s and Palpatine’s headspaces directly before that film, but it’s more of a side adventure. I wanted more backstory on Maul – seriously, just give me all the Maul – and while we get into his mind, we don’t have any context for why he’s turned out this way, meticulous and obsessive.
I mentally filled in the gaps myself (hurray for head-canon), knowing the tiny bits of his childhood that’s considered canon - such as details from CW, Son of Dathomir, and Rebels - and crafted a hideous anti-Jedi training under Palpatine. From this head-canon theory, it was easy to deduce that most of the opinions/thoughts Maul has aren’t his own but have been force-fed to him since youth. This would be a great contrast to Count Dooku, who was raised a Jedi and turned to the Dark Side. Maul never stood a chance against Palpatine's indoctrination.
When the Story Focused on Maul’s Inner Workings, It Shined
It was fascinating to see Maul’s twisted mind go to work, disobeying Palpatine like a willful teenager (lots of Nightbrother angst here), wanting to stay a faithful apprentice but desperately needing to forge his own way. He might be Palpatine’s apprentice, but he’s on such a short leash that I doubt he would ever be able to succeed his master. Which is just how Palpy likes his apprentice relationships. Maul encounters some interesting and familiar faces along the way, including a Jedi Padawan character who screamed for more page time, but Maul himself is definitely the unstable star of the show. When the comic focused on Maul’s inner workings and ditched the minor characters, it really came alive.
The Art in this Comic was Alive, Edging into Horror at Times
The art style is vibrant and a little creepy, edging into horror comic territory at times, which makes sense for Maul’s character. Seeing his shadowy silhouette and shining eyes was visually beautiful and frightening. Maul’s frantic, kinetic energy is evident on page through the art. He looks great, guys.
Conclusion - Would Recommend: 8/10 Lightsabers
So, should you read it? If you enjoy Maul as a character, YES. It’s a nice showcase for him, even if the story doesn’t add a ton of information to the main saga.
Last note: I’m the type of person who can hear the actor’s voice while reading, so having Sam Witwer in my head for this quick read wasn’t too shabby.