Monday, July 2, 2012

32 BBY: Star Wars: Darth Maul

I first laid eyes on Star Wars: Darth Maul while I was in Excalibur comics on Bloor Street.  I was buying some Magic: The Gathering trading cards.  I made my way over to the comic stand, picked up the first issue and flipped through it.  It seemed interesting enough, but at that moment I was there to spend some money on improving my Magic deck for an upcoming tournament with some friends. 
Like the KOTOR series, I always knew I was going to get my hands on this collection eventually.  And like the KOTOR series, I wasn’t disappointed.  This was a great story.  I’ve now gone through the entire Rise of the Sith omnibus and it was defiantly worth the price of admission. 

The Darth Maul series gave Star Wars fans exactly what they wanted back in 2000. We had only been introduced to this ascetically intimidating Dark Lord of the Sith only to have him killed at the end of TPM.  We wanted more, and we wanted to see him swing that double-bladed lightsaber around.  In this comic series he did just that. 
There were great little elements of this story I enjoyed, and I’ve categorized my reactions into three sections:  Maul, Black Sun, and Maul’s cloaking device.

Firstly, I think Marz did well with the script of this tale, as I could hear the voice of Ray Park as I read Maul’s lines.  What is more, Marz’s characterization of Maul was spot-on.  Maul was brimming with confidence and malice.  I especially enjoyed it when he asked Sidious if he wanted Black Sun “destroyed utterly”, the subtext being ‘because I can ya know’! 
Also, the penultimate confrontation between Maul and Mighella was great, not because it ended with Maul’s bisection of the Dathomirian witch (which of course foreshadows the Sith apprentice’s own demise), but because there is no need to retcon the exchange between these two. Even though this was written in 2000 before Luceno’s and Filoni’s 2012 additions to the history of Maul, the exchange between these two is totally fitting for what we now know about Maul’s past:

“Do you know what I am?
A Nightsister.  A witch of Dathomir skilled in the use of the Dark Side of the force.  You understand so little.
Do I?  You’ve never faced my kind before.
No.  You’ve never faced my kind before.” (439-440)

Of course Maul knows what a Nightsister is.  And truly, Maul was correct when he said to Maghella that she’s never faced his kind before.  The Sith have remained hidden for all this time, even from the Dathomirian witches.

Still, what really caught my attention with Maul in this series was his killing of the Iktotchi vigo Narees.  Did Maul use Sith sorcery here?  It seems he crushed Narees’ mind with the darkside of the Force, the vigo stammering and bleeding from his nose without Maul so much as raising a hand.  The scene echoed moments of Zannah and Bane’s final confrontation in Dynasty of Evil.  Has Sidious tutored his young apprentice in some minor elements of Sith sorcery?  I wouldn’t be surprised since we know Sidious is a Banite Sith.
Moving on in my reactions, this comic’s mention of Black Sun made me nostalgic for Perry’s Shadows of the Empire, probably my favorite piece of Star Wars EU.  What I found most interesting about Black Sun in this comic is its similarity to the Sith council from the Old Republic era.  Instead of 12 Dark Lords of the Sith, Black Sun has 9 Vigos, and its power structure is set up in the same manner.  Indeed, Black Sun was established after the sacking of Coruscant in the Old Republic era, but its wookieepdeia page mentions nothing concretely of its foundation.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it was set up by one of the Dark Lords of the Sith sitting on the Dark Council at this time as an extension of his or her power. 

Moreover, it also makes sense that Sidious would want to get Black Sun out of the way as he orchestrates his rise to power.  When Maul asks if he should “destroy utterly” the crime syndicate Sidious reins him in.  He knows all he needs to do is divide, but not necessarily conquer in this instance.  Like Sidious, we know Black Sun has a use down the line.
My last comment in regards to this TBP is the mention, again, of cloaking devices. As Sidious presents Maul with his new Sith Infiltrator, he says to his apprentice:

“The Infiltrator’s armaments consist of six laser cannons, but more important is its cloaking generator.  You will be all but invisible.” (380)

This makes three known cloaking devices in Star Wars chronology thus far: the one owned by Tulkh from Red Harvest, Stieg Wa from The Dark Rival, and now Darth Maul from the TBP with his name.  Additionally, there may be a fourth if we take into account the comment by Nym the pirate of the possibility of him coming across one.  He may have had a particular one in mind when he made the comment which may not include any of these. Like Maul, a cloaked Infiltrator is a dangerous weapon indeed.  It reminds me of my second favorite ships from the Star Wars universe (after the Fairwind of course), the VT-49 Decimator. It was the ship I was attempting to get for my Bounty Hunter in Star Wars Galaxies, but unfortunately I never reached Master Pilot status in that game.
Duursema’s artwork was fantastic as usual, but what is more, this comic has gotten me very excited for The Clone Wars season 5.  I’ve never thought much of Maul as a Sith apprentice, but being witness to his killing efficiency in this comic, and his rebirth at the end of season 4 I’m very excited to see what he’s capable of.  See my post on Saboteur to see what I mean when I say I’ve never thought Maul was really “Sith” material.

For my next post I’ll be taking a look at Tales #24 Marked.  Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. I really liked this series. Like I said before, this was my first introduction to Jan Duursema's artwork and it blew me away. I agree the confrontations with the Iktotchi and the Nightsister were awesome, too, especially now that Maul's backstory has been retconned so that he's a Nightbrother.

  2. The second issue of this series was my first introduction to Star Wars comics (I told the whole tale in last post's comments). It's very good, and very very good when considered that it's mostly Maul killing people for hundred pages.

    That Iktotchi killing was something I still don't understand completely, but most likely it was some Krath-like sorcery.

  3. That's what we all wanted at the time, Maul killing people and demonstrating his power. The more I think about this comic the more I enjoy it.

    Yeah, it defiantly seems like Maul was using some sort of Sith sorcery, which just makes him that much more interesting.