Thursday, June 22, 2017

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 Mark Brooks Variant

The Phantom Menace was released to theaters in May 1999.  In the movie, Darth Maul, a Sith apprentice, is killed by Jedi apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi after Maul strikes down Kenobi's master, Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn, in a lightsaber duel.  While Maul has a large presence in the movie chasing Queen Amidala and her entourage, he only speaks three lines.  Darth Maul was presumed dead by fans for almost 13 years before he was revived for The Clone Wars animated series in March 2012.  In the second to the last episode titled Brothers, Savage Opress finds his insane brother Maul, now using cybernetic legs, on a junk planet.  Maul is not the first fan favorite character to be brought back from the dead however, Boba Fett is resurrected after being thrown into the Sarlacc Pit.  Interestingly, in The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett only speaks four lines!

Dark Horse published three 4-issue mini-series featuring Darth Maul as well as two single issue stories which were printed long before Maul was brought back in canon.  One single issue story, Resurrection, is told in Star Wars Tales #9 and features Darth Maul battling Darth Vader.  The other story in the Visionaries trade paperback, Old Wounds, has a living Maul, also with bionic legs, seeking revenge against his old adversary Obi-Wan on Tatooine.  This last short story is the basis for a third season episode of the Rebels animated series which shows the final demise of Maul at the hands of Obi-Wan.

Marvel is currently publishing a 5-issue mini-series starring Darth Maul.  The first issue came out in February 2017 and so far the story is shaping up to being one of Marvel's better Star Wars stories.  My favorite cover for the first issue is the Mark Brooks variant which was initially distributed in a 1:50 ratio.

Star Wars: Darth Maul #1g - Marvel Comics, U.S. (February 2017)
Mark Brooks variant
The cover artwork shows a shirtless Darth Maul sitting on his speeder bike surrounded by his probe droids.  One cannot help but think he is enjoying himself while chasing prey he intends to kill with his double-sided lightsaber.  The art is dynamic and visually appealing; it is easily one of Marvel's more memorable covers.

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