Written by: Jody Houser
Art by: Luke Ross
Published by: Marvel Comics
Chronology Placement: Set after “Darth Maul” and shortly before “A Phantom Menace”
Set shortly after the events of the “Darth Maul” mini-series from Cullen Bunn and Luke Ross, this one-shot comic deals directly with some of the repercussions of that storyline as Darth Maul continues to hunt Force-Sensitive individuals to quell his bloodlust. Writer Jody Houser picks up on the character development established by Bunn in his mini-series, referencing key events from that storyline and exploring his hatred (and fear) of the Jedi order. In a strange mirror-image to the preceding Age of Republic issue centred on Qui-Gon Jinn, Maul faces doubt as to his true calling and undergoes a vision quest to gain some wisdom and guidance. It’s interesting to see the duality between the Jedi and the Sith and the similarities between Qui-Gon and Maul ahead of their fateful clash in The Phantom Menace. It’s a subtle symmetry, but one that serves both characters well.
Luke Ross returns to draw the character of Darth Maul, and brings the Sith Lord to life with a visceral energy and fury that is reflective of his live-action portrayal. Ross’ artwork has an intense grittiness to it which suits the neo-noir underworld of Coruscant perfectly, and when the action transitions to the ashen planet of Malachor, his artwork remains tonally perfect. Despite the reduced page-count, Houser manages to cram in a lot of character development in this single issue, which works perfectly as an epilogue to Bunn and Ross’ “Darth Maul” graphic novel. Dwelling more on his internal struggle between the Darkness and the Light, Houser is able to explore the traditional “temptation of the Dark Side” trope from a different angle, whilst providing some more details on why Maul is so determined to bring the Jedi down. While short in size, these single issue vignettes are neatly condensed shots of character development that succinctly explore the fundamentals of each hero and villain spotlighted.
Score – ★★★ ½
Star Wars: Age of Republic – “Darth Maul” is available in a digital format from Comixology and Amazon, or collected in the trade paperback, “Star Wars: Age of Republic – Villains”, which is also available from Comixology and Amazon.