Darth Maul and his crew of bounty hunters pursue a lead on a missing Padawan in Darth Maul #2.
Warning: This article discusses plot material in depth for Darth Maul #2.
Darth Maul #2
Writer: Cullen Bunn | Artist: Luke Ross | Colors: Nolan Woodard | Cover Artist: Rod Reis | Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna | Assistant Editor: Heather Antos | Editor: Jordan D. White
Darth Maul’s Pursuit of the Padawan
After learning of the existence of a Jedi Padawan in the custody of Xev Xrexus in the previous issue, Darth Maul makes a plan. For years, he chafed under Sidious’s rule. His master prevented him from challenging the Jedi. Now, a Jedi Padawan awaits rescue from the Jedi Order or possibly the outcome of an auction. Darth Maul senses his opportunity and pursues it in Darth Maul #2. The second issue of this series links several eras of Star Wars while delivering an intriguing dark side quest.
Although Darth Maul’s final plans are unclear, he begins his quest by heading to Nar Shadda for information. When he travelled to Kellux in Darth Maul #1, Maul took the Scimitar. However, that is a bit conspicuous, and therefore, he uses a Republic shuttle for his trip to Nar Shadda. Unfortunately for Maul, he operates with a handicap. He cannot use his lightsaber, because it would give him away. However, such a handicap is usually minor for one with his talents and easily overcome.
The “Twin Suns” Connection
His first stop is to a local cantina. The bartender correctly identifies Maul as someone looking for information. Also, he identifies Maul not only as a fellow Zabrak, but as a Nightbrother. For some reason, the existence of the Nightbrothers had always seemed like some sort of secret in the Star Wars galaxy, but apparently, it is not. In addition, when Maul states he seeks Xev Xrexus, the bartender replies “you’re in the wrong place.” Coincidentally, that line, although in a different context, was uttered by another in “Twin Suns,” a recent episode of Rebels.
There is another tie to “Twin Suns.” As Maul enters the cantina, he narrates with an inner monologue and comments that anything is for sale if you are willing to pay with your life. However, he is unwilling to pay with his life, and his “life ends only when his rage has been vented…when [his] need for vengeance is satiated.” In “Twin Suns,” Maul died following a short but spectacular duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Many have remarked that his thirst for revenge was finally quenched. This panel adds depth to that scene from Rebels and is a wonderful achievement for the creative executives at Lucasfilm.
Maul finally resorts to a physical means of persuasion when the cantina patrons fail to meet his demands for information on Xev Xrexus. Maul is up to the task, but he laments the inability to wield his lightsaber. He has the battle in hand until a Quarren spits ink in his face. Although he likely was capable of defeating the remaining cantina patrons, his backup arrives to finish the fight. His backup is comprised of a few characters Star Wars fan are likely familiar with.
Maul’s crew features two prominent bounty hunters. The first is Aurra Sing. She debuted in The Phantom Menace, but then disappeared until The Clone Wars where she featured in many episodes. The next is Cade Bane, who debuted in The Clone Wars and accumulated a large base of fans. Maul retained them an another insect like bounty hunter, a Culisetto to be precise. Cad Bane has good news, he found and “negotiated” passage to Xev Xrevus’s party. Xev intends to auction the Padawan there.
When they arrive at the freighter Cad Bane and company acquired, the reader meets the fourth bounty hunter in Maul’s crew. His name is Troo-tril-tek, and he is a Chadra-Fan. Readers may remember the diminutive patron at the cantina in Mos Eisley that squealed with delight when served with a drink. Troo-tril-tek is one of those. This decision by Bunn is clever. No one would expect a Chadra-Fan to find employment as a bounty hunter. Bunn turned a convention on its head to offer something colorful to the story.
Violence Against Droids
An unfortunate protocol droid serves aboard the freighter Cade Bane’s cadre of bounty hunters acquired. The droids designation is FE-B3, but he is called Fee-Bee. He is also very unfortunate. Maul and the bounty hunters blind him to insure his cooperation. His eyes are literally popped out. This story only gets away with this because he is a droid. Fee-Bee is clearly distressed. After this scene, he wanders around with empty eye sockets. Star Wars sometimes gets away with gruesome violence or behavior simply because it is perpetrated against a droid. If this were a human or other sentient species, then that character would wear a bandana or something around it’s vacant eye sockets. Furthermore, if Fee-Bee were human, these panels never would have portrayed the actual removal of its eyes. Try imagining these panels with a human in Fee-Bee’s place.
Malachor and the Sith Perspective
During the trip to the Drazkel System, where Xev Xrexus hold the Padawan, Maul meditates. He remembers a time when Darth Sidious took him to Malachor. Actually, the reader must presume it is Malachor. Bunn did not name the planet in the pages of this issue. However, this planet was featured in the season two finale of Rebels, “Twilight of the Apprentice.” In that episode, Maul encountered Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, and Ahsoka Tano. Maul began recruiting Ezra as a potential apprentice as they explored the temple. Of course, the events of that episode occur a couple decades after this story.
In this story, Maul remembers his voyage to Malachor with Sidious. He remembers the ghosts of fallen Jedi arising with their ancient lightsabers, which resemble the lightsaber wielded by Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, rising to fight him. Maul remembers the lessons Sidious taught him. The Jedi stuck down the Sith on Malachor. It was an act of treachery against those that were unafraid of their emotions. The mighty Sith Empire fell, and in the process what was once great was rendered small and perhaps more powerful. Maul awakes as their freighter arrives at the Drazkel System.
The Palace of Xev Xrexus
Once they arrive at the palace of Xev Xrexus, Maul and his companions head to an audience chamber. Bunn expertly establishes Cad Bane’s toughness with a single response to a ruffian. When a Trandoshan insults Fee-Bee’s state and asked what happened to his eyes, Bane replies, “He didn’t mind his own business.” That retort instantly qualified the panel for favorite of the issue. With a single line, Bunn reinforced how tough and confident Bane is.
Xev Xrexus’s palace is full of bidders. Here, Bunn and Ross tied together nearly the entire Star Wars timeline. Xev Xrexus arrives with a bodyguard composed of Droidekas. Therefore, the Episode I: The Phantom Menace is represented. Cade Bane’s presence ties in The Clone Wars. The Trandoshans and a wandering Mon Calamari add the original trilogy to the mix. Finally, the presence of Kyuzos, represented, barely, by Constable Zuvio in The Force Awakens, add the sequel trilogy.
The Lost Padawan
While Xev Xrexus welcomes the various gangsters to her party, Maul slips away. Using his droids, he locates the missing Padawan. Along the way, he curses the motives of the assembled ruffians. None of their motives are as pure as his own. As he did previously in Darth Maul #1, Maul curses the patience and plotting of Sidious. To Maul, Sidious’s plans fly in the face of the power that feeds the dark side. Therefore, he approaches the Padawan with a sense of retribution. As he arrives at her cell, she greets him with, “Who are you supposed to be?” as the issue concludes.
Darth Maul #2 miniseries was as compelling as the first issue of the series. Through the events of The Clone Wars and Rebels, Maul expanded from an attack dog to a nuanced character. He grew beyond the bounds of a trained assassin. Bunn’s story continues to expand the characterization of Maul. Like all Sith apprentices, he chafes under the tutelage of his master. As Darth Vader will do in the future, Maul begins plotting his own ascension in this series. Together, Bunn and Ross craft a vibrant addition to the Star Wars galaxy.
Favorite Panel of Darth Maul #2
Bunn’s writing is superb in Darth Maul #2. In addition, his dialogue adds depth of character to Maul and his companions. For instance, Bane’s retort to the Trandoshan quickly established Bane’s attitude in a single panel. However, that is not the favorite panel of this issue. Ross’s art shines throughout this issue. He carefully added aliens from across the Star Wars chronology, and they all look spectacular. Zabrak, Duros, Twi-lek, Trandoshans, Ithorians, Kyuzos, Chadra-Fans, and many more grace the pages of this issue. Furthermore, Ross’s art sold Maul as a warrior against a handicap. Everyone wants to see a Sith wield a lightsaber, but the story constraints prevent that. Despite this handicap, Ross’s art portrays Maul as a cunning warrior. One panel featuring Maul fighting in the streets of Nar Shadda is a fine exemplar of this, and it is the favorite panel of Darth Maul #2.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.