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Star Wars: Age of Republic - Darth Maul #1 Review

by Kaasen Koy on December 12, 2018

Darth Maul #1 Cover

Writer: Jody Houser

Artist: Luke Ross

Colorist: Java Tartaglia

Publisher: Marvel
 

Star Wars: Age of Republic - Darth Maul #1 is a dark one-shot that follows the infamous Sith through the underworld of Coruscant to the temple on Malachor. The second issue in the Age of Republic series, it’s another beautiful comic that shows us a powerful Force-user seeking a deeper understanding of his role in the wars to come.

Far from the odd and fantastical framing story of Qui-Gon #1, this issue’s opening act feels very much like the Star Wars prequels at their best and grittiest. A Force-sensitive thief named Zek Peiro is (all-too-briefly) introduced, with enough flair and intrigue surrounding him to warrant a comic of his own. The second act — and the meat of the plot — takes place on Malachor, where Sidious hopes a vision may help Maul to understand why his bloodlust must be tamed.

As another comic centered on a vision from the Force, the storytelling is primarily visual here. Many of those panels feature little or no dialogue, but there’s still a bit more than necessary. The artwork is more multifaceted and interesting than the direction enforced by the captions (or the simple, one-note lesson Maul is to take away). On the other hand, the first act is worth an immediate reread to review Maul’s thoughts — after you know what it is he’s hunting.

The artwork is detailed and expressive, alternating between bright, multicolored pages and a few that would be black-and-white if not for the deep red of Maul’s skin. This color variety avoids any jarring effects and provides a recognizable characterization to each planet and sequence. A recurring action layout where panels are strewn across a page like photographs spilled from a keepsake box works to decent effect but it keeps the action small and creates a lot of wasted space. This is particularly annoying during the vision sequence, especially in light of the multiple gorgeous full-page splashes used for Qui-Gon’s vision in the first issue.

Age of Republic - Darth Maul #1 is a dark and beautiful vignette of the Sith as a mirror to the Jedi. It could show a little more and tell a little less, but it’s a strong one-shot with a deliberate and complete story within its pages, elevated by its striking artwork.

Our Score:

8/10

A Look Inside