Published: December 12, 2018
Writer: Jody Houser
Penciler: Luke Ross
Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera
RISE OF THE SITH! A living weapon of rage and bloodthirst, DARTH MAUL has stayed in the shadows of CORUSCANT waiting for his chance to strike against the JEDI ORDER! However, since tasting his first blood, the SITH lord struggles to contain his desire for destruction and questions the wishes of his methodically plotting master. Could Maul have had another path in life, or was he always fated to follow a dark road? Guest-starring DARTH SIDIOUS!
Deep in the bowels of Coruscant’s lower levels, Zek Peiro is joined by a masked figure. The Kaitis Cartel have sent his backup for his job. Unknown to Peiro the masked help is Darth Maul.
They make their way to the site of a spice deal and watch from the shadows. The masked help seems overly eager to start their attack, but Peiro manages to curtail his eagerness. When all of the dealers are there, they start their attack. Peiro and his masked help take little time in taking down their targets. Behind the mask, Maul can sense an inkling in the Force from Peiro. He is untrained, but could have been a Jedi? The scarn cannot be found, but Peiro starts to search than Maul senses the Force guiding his companion to their bounty. He finds and they flee with their takings.
They rest and discuss their doings. Peiro is impressed with Maul, even if he is a little eager. Maul senses the Force in him again and then decides to extinguish it.
Fresh from his underworld activities, Maul meets Darth with Sidious to discuss his recent actions and his bloodlust. Maul believes he is ready and his training is complete, he wants to hunt Jedi for real, but Sidious wants him to exercise patience.
Maul’s Sith Infiltrator lands on Malachor, the Sith Temple and the infamous battleground of where the Sith were slain by the Jedi. Sidious has brought here for more than a lesson. Maul approaches a figure and scoops up some dirt in his hand, holds it to his nose and breathes it in.
A boy begs him to save his family, Maul is in Jedi robes looking in astonishment at his attire. A rancor like beast is attacking and the boy needs him to save his family. He takes his lightsaber from his belt and ignites its blades. They are blue and not the customary red of the Sith. He swiftly kills the rampaging beast and is honoured by the boy’s family to a meal and an overnight should he want it. Maul is in panic at the head of the table, the family talk of him as great Jedi warrior and he knows this isn’t him. He strikes down each one at the table and turns to the child. Now stood there in his black Sith robes, his lightsaber blade glowing red, he knows it a lie and ends it.
Dark shadows surround Maul, lightsaber’s of blue, green, purple and yellow raised at him. Then the vision ceases, he is stood before Sidious, who is pleased with his progress. He asks what Maul what he has seen. Many things, but importantly he has learned his emotion make him strong. Sidious reminds him anger his not his master, but is a tool. Maul acknowledges this, but knows Sidious is his master.
This time there are 5 covers to hunt for this issue. Is it better to stick to set or just go with what you like? That is the big decision when you get in to the comic book shop and you get so much choice.
I decided to go for the B cover by Luke Ross and Nolan Woodard. I must say I like all the covers, but this one has something special about it. I noticed it when the original solicitations came out for the series and knew this was going to be my purchase for this issue way back then! Again, we have a movie, concept and puzzle piece cover to continue these themes throughout the series.
Ok, so I wasn’t the greatest fan of the Qui-Gon Jinn issue that started the series, so I was slightly apprehensive when starting this issue. When I’d finished I felt that this was the issue the series should have started with. It captured me in a story that I really enjoyed, but more so because it focuses on a character I love.
There are some connections, if not similarities, to Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter and Darth Maul: Saboteur, but that for me actually adds to this storyline. I’m sure Jody Houser will have used these novels for her research while creating this story.
Maul’s dealings in the underworld also give a hint at what we came to see in Solo: A Star Wars Story. He is already operating in the criminal underworld on Coruscant, by creating the Kaitis Cartel, which is more than likely his precursor to Crimson Dawn.
Like the first issue, we see more teachings to our main character via the Force, but this time it’s the dark side. It was cool that we get to see Malachor again, so we learn how Maul knows about this planet pre Rebels. Malachor is a place I would like to see visited in a live action movie or series in the future. It has so much scope and could be an excellent plot line for a Vader movie.
Now I can’t go any further without mentioning the artwork. Luke Ross could be called a favourite of mine, well ok, he is my favourite comic artist! I just love the way his art adds so much to the story. Expressions on faces and a hugely intricate level of detail, even to items that are in the background. Some of the art we see in some modern comic books can be very basic, but Ross adds so much depth to his illustrations.
This issue has gone someway to allay a lot of my fears about this series being a set of one shots. So to sum up this issue; the story is great, the artwork is even better and now I’m really excited as to what is in store for my favourite Star Wars character, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
This issue was released on 12th December 2018 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.