Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Review: DARTH MAUL #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Cullen Bunn
ART: Luke Ross
COLORS: Nolan Woodard
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Rod Reis
VARIANT COVERS: Rafael Albuquerque; Mark Brooks; John Tyler Christopher; Terry Dodson; Rod Reis; Michael Turner; Ashley Witter
36pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (April 2017)

Rated “T”

Book 1, Part 1

Since he first appeared in the film Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Darth Maul has been a favorite character of Star Wars fans.  Maul is a Sith Lord, an apprentice to Darth Sidious, and is seemingly killed in his film debut.  With striking facial tattoos, vestigial horns, and a double-bladed lightsaber, however, Maul proved too popular to stay dead.  The character returned in the canonical Star Wars animated series, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels.”

Now, Darth Maul gets his first Star Wars comic book from Marvel Comics.  [There were Darth Maul comic books from Dark Horse Comics, the previous license holder of Star Wars comic books].  Entitled, Darth Maul, this five-issue miniseries is written by Cullen Bunn; drawn by Luke Ross; colored by Nolan Woodard; and lettered by Joe Caramagna.

Darth Maul #1 opens before the events depicted in The Phantom Menace.  The Sith Lord, Sidious, is not ready to reveal himself to his enemy, the Jedi.  However, his apprentice, Darth Maul, grows restless, and finds that hunting some of the galaxy's most dangerous creatures does not satisfy his blood lust.  Now, Sidious sends Maul on a mission that will unexpectedly yield just the kind of hunting that Maul really wants to undertake.

It is easy for me to be cynical every time Marvel Comics announces another Star Wars comic book, but I know I am going to read at least the first issue of each new series, and likely read miniseries in their entirety.  Sometimes, I am genuinely happy with what I read, which is the case with Darth Maul.

Writer Cullen Bunn completely sells the idea that Maul so chafes under Sidious that he would willingly tempt fate and go against his master's wishes just to feed his blood lust.  It is a side of Maul that writers of Star Wars animated television series and novels have either hinted at or fully depicted.  With his Darth Maul comic book, it seems that Bunn is going to use this to full effect, and he may actually take the character places others have not.

The art team of Luke Ross and Nolan Woodard are producing a visual and graphical style that is unlike other Star Wars comic books.  I don't know if Woodard is coloring the art directly from Ross' pencils, but the effect is striking – bold, rich colors over moody compositions.  I recommend.

[This issue includes the bonus story, “Probe Droid Problem” by Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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