Maul is one of those characters where it seems like most people either love him or can’t stand him anymore. I personally fall into the second category mostly because I don’t know why he keeps not dying. But hey! A pre-TPM story about him? Count me as intrigued.
Darth Maul #1 is a lot of character building and plot set up. There’s a lot of time spent in Maul’s head and uhhh… spoilers: he’s kinda violent. At times, it felt like a little bit too much especially given that we don’t even hear about this padawan from the solicits until the last few pages but bigger fans of the character will likely really dig it. Personally, I loved getting to see Maul take on a rathtar. It’s a nice blending of the eras and besides, it’s not like Maul doesn’t have a fine tradition of taking on aliens who originally hail from much further down the timeline. One of the places where the issue fell short for me was with Palpatine. That’s not really a mark against the book and Cullen Bunn though. It’s more that I don’t think we’ll see anyone else write as great of a Palpatine as Charles Soule in our comics any time soon.
On the art front, the combination of Luke Ross and Nolan Woodard is a good one for this book. Their combined style fits nicely with the vibe Bunn seems to be going for. I definitely prefer to this to Ross’s prior Star Wars work on The Force Awakens comic adaptation.
As a side note, Marvel has continued its tradition of giving us a little something extra to go with the first issues and honestly, I could read an entire graphic novel that’s nothing but cute little droids getting into trouble if Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire write and draw it.
But back to the main Maul story… is it worth it? If you’re a fan of the character than definitely yes it is. While I liked the issue well enough, I’m inclined to hold off from telling those more of the fence to run off and buy it just yet. Ask me again after the next issue.
Darth Maul #1: Cullen Bunn/Writer, Luke Ross/Artist, Nolan Woodard/Colorist, Joe Caramagnas/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor