Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection Vol. 3 Darth Maul (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Review Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In honor of the Star Wars 30th Anniversary, Dark Horse Comics is re-releasing some of their best selling trade paperbacks into a limited edition hardcover format. These books will only be available through the direct market. The third volume is a prequel of sorts to Star Wars Episode I, The Phantom Menace. It takes place roughly a year before the events in the film and feature about the only thing that made Phantom Menace watchable, the Sith apprentice, Darth Maul. This book isn’t just entitled Darth Maul but it’s virtually a one-man show. 
 
Maul is just near the completion of his training when his Master, Darth Sidious, summons him. Maul wonders if it is time for the Sith to finally reveal themselves and destroy the Jedi but he is cautioned that the time for that is still to come. Instead, Sidious sees that there may be one organization that can interfere with his plans to blockade Naboo, the galactic crime syndicate known as the Black Sun. The Black Sun has its hands in everything that goes on in the galaxy and they are a threat that must be eliminated. Sidious wants maul to strike at the heart of Black Sun, not destroying it, but rather seriously crippling it by killing its leaders. That is the very basic plot to the story.
 
Maul relishes the opportunity to finally use his skills to their fullest, one-by-one, assassinating the various under bosses of Black Sun, and throwing the organization into total disarray. There’s not a lot of subtlety to the story written by veteran comic scribe, Ron Marz. Maul mows down legions of the syndicates finest fighters and assassins as if they were mere practice dummies. It is an artful display of carnage which, if I had to try and compare it to anything, would be the restaurant battle scene from Kill Bill part 1. Maul is a whirlwind of death and even Mighella, a Dathomiri Witch, proved little match for him.
 
What the book lacks in terms of plotting and the usual Star Wars intrigue, it more than makes up for in action. There isn’t a lot of dialog in the book, and not much background is shared about the Sith. This story is action from cover-to-cover. I would say if there was one weakness, it could be that Marz portrayed Maul as being too powerful. Were he quite this powerful, one wonders if a young Obi-Wan would have truly stood a chance against him in their duel in The Phantom Menace.
 
The art by Jan Duursema and Rick Magyar is exceptional and it is their battle scenes which make the book rate higher than perhaps the story should allow. The power and grace of Darth Maul in battle is rendered magnificently. Maul looks like a demon spewed forth from the bowels of hell! 
 
Some fans may moan about the lack of much of a story or characterization, but that’s not what the book was intended to be. The book was intended to spotlight just how fearsome the Sith can be and it does so extremely well. A must have for the Star Wars fan and the best volume so far in the series.


Mania Grade: B+
Story and Art By: Ron Marz and Jan Duursema
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Pages: 96
Price: $22.95