Maul learns the key Sith survival and success in Star Wars: Age of Republic – Darth Maul #1
This article contains plot points for Star Wars: Age of Republic – Darth Maul #1.
Star Wars: Age of Republic – Darth Maul #1
Writer: Jody Houser | Artist: Luke Roth| Colorist: Java Tartaglia | Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham | Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera | Production Designer: Anthony Gambino | Editor: Mark Paniccia | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman
Star Wars has plenty of lore concerning the infamous “Rule of Two.” In Legends, this rule governed the Sith over the millennia and prevented their extinction while protecting them from themselves and the Jedi. This rule survives to a degree in the current canon. As Star Wars fans know, Darth Maul is the first in a succession of apprentices to Darth Sidious. Always two there are, and they are our powerful. Maul is strong and powerful, fueled by rage, and eager to confront the Jedi. In Star Wars: Age of Republic – Darth Maul #1, Sidious teaches Maul that for the Sith, patience is more than just a virtue. It is a key element of survival.
Maul the Hunter
In Darth Maul #1, Maul reveals his construction of a criminal enterprise in the underworld of Coruscuant. He established the Kaitis Cartel as an expression of his growing power. The cartel is named after the Padawan he fought and killed in the Darth Maul miniseries. Killing Eldra Kaitis failed to sate his lust for hunting Jedi. However, Darth Sidious prohibits his active pursuit of any other Jedi. Therefore, Maul preys on the force sensitive in Coruscant’s lower levels. But, can hunting the scraps of the Jedi ever truly satiate his appetite?
Maul recruits and evaluates a thief in the lower levels of Coruscant. The antics of Zek Peiro came to Maul’s attention in whispers and reports through his cartel. In Darth Maul #1, Maul sets up a drop of pre-spice as a means of evaluating Peiro. Maul suspects Peiro has some ability in the Force. If Maul cannot openly hunt Jedi, then he will try to content himself hunting the Force sensitive. As they stalk a rival gang, Maul evaluates Peiro’s rudimentary use of the Force. Once Maul and Peiro dispatch the petty criminals delivering the pre-spice, Maul kills Peiro. Predictably, it was unsatisfying.
This is the same issue Maul experienced in the Darth Maul miniseries. His lust for Jedi blood is simply insatiable. The issue is that his need to test himself against Jedi and those with power in the Force overwhelms him. Plus, he disagrees with Palpatine’s need for secrecy.
Sidious demonstrates limited patience with Maul. After Maul returns to his master, Sidious cautions him. He notes that Maul’s antics are foolish and risk drawing the attention of the Jedi. As far as Maul is concerned, the Jedi are welcome. Maul wants to end their plague on the galaxy. It is time for another lesson.
Sidious and Maul return to Malachor. It was here in the Darth Maul miniseries that Maul learned of the defeat of the Sith at the hands of the Jedi. Now, there is another lesson waiting. When Maul inhales the dust of Malachor, he experiences a new vision. It begins with Maul garbed as a Jedi. The reader can’t help but be as startled by his appearance as Maul himself is. The other Zabrak in his vision address him as “Master Jedi” and plead for his help. After disposing of a monster, Maul joins them for a meal. Eventually, he loses his patience with the Zabrak and their insistence he is a Jedi and slaughters everyone at the table.
As that portion of his vision ends, he awakens and finds Jedi forms everywhere. Just as they ignite their lightsabers, the vision terminates. Maul was overwhelmed. Sidious asks Maul what he learned. Maul replies that although his rage fuels him, it isn’t enough. Utilizing a semi-Socratic method, Sidious guides him through evaluating the vision. The Jedi are many. They will be overwhelmed. Therefore, they must temper their rage with patience and a plan. This was what Sidious preached all along. Maul acknowledges Sidious as his master in recognition of the lesson.
Concluding Thoughts on Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Darth Maul #1
Age of Rebellion – Darth Maul #1 is an excellent counterpoint to Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Qui-Gon Jinn #1. In that issue, Jody House explored Qui-Gon’s understanding of balance. Like Maul, Qui-Gon learned through the Force. In his vision, he fought the dark side and risked being overwhelmed only to escape when the light side of the Force presented a path through the darkness. One cannot simply eliminate the dark side without becoming consumed by it. Therefore, one must seek balance and follow the light through the dark. He clashed with Yoda over these ideas.
In Age of Rebellion – Darth Maul #1, Maul learns a difficult lesson. He too receives a vision in the Force. He simply can’t embrace the dark side of the Force and unleash himself on the galaxy. Despite his desires to slaughter the attacking Jedi, he can’t simply rely on the power of the dark side. To an extent, he must temper his rage and the fuel it provides his power with an element of the light: patience. There is no way to defeat the Jedi relying on the power of the dark side alone. Maul, like Qui-Gon, has a disagreement with his master on how to serve and employ the Force. Unlike Qui-Gon, Maul’s master seems to have the better handle on the Force. The symmetry between Maul and Qui-Gon’s stories is brilliant.
Luke Roth provided the art for Age of Rebellion – Darth Maul #1. Coincidentally, he provided the art for the Darth Maul miniseries written by Cullen Bunn. As in that series, Roth’s work excels at capturing Maul’s rage. In addition, Java Tartaglia’s color work is excellent for capturing the mood of the underworld on Coruscant and the darkness and mysteriousness of Malachor.
The Star Wars: Age of Republic maxiseries is a success so far. The point and counterpoint between the first two issues is an achievement in storytelling. These two issues illustrate concepts of balance and the dark side succinctly in a way that many novels and other sources simply couldn’t achieve. This is more than just a series of one shots. Age of Republic says significant things about the Force and should be read by anyone that wishes to explore the idea of balance.
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.