This one is going to be somewhat difficult to talk about for a few reasons. The main one is that there is a ton of material out there when it comes to Star Wars especially in written and comic form. Not only that but recently much if not all of the cannon has been pushed aside as if it never happened with the release of the newest movie The Force Awakens. Another reason is that this book is quite rare and hard to find.
I tracked down the writer, Jeremy Barlow, who can hopefully answer some of my questions about this story. Check out my interview with Jeremy here.
This story opens up sometime shortly after Phantom Menace. If you are like me you though that Darth Maul was killed, but he actually survived and now has robotic legs. Shortly after he is healed he is captured by Count Dooku and sent to a remote prison. It does not take long for his followers to come and rescue him. From there Maul and his followers are intent on killing the Emperor and overthrowing the Empire itself. Maul is also searching for someone called Mother Talzin, who claims that she can help him destroy the Emperor and together they can take his place and rule the galaxy.
Even though I am a Star Wars fan I have not read any of comics, not sure why just haven’t. The only reason I came across this one was because a friend told me about this book and how it was worth some money. I had never heard of it and really did not understand how or why it was valuable. So I did some quick internet searches and found this simple 96 page paperback selling for $150 or more on Amazon and Ebay. As a collector I immediately began trying to track this one down and try to find a cheap copy. Through the graces of the internet I was able to stumble upon a site that had not one but two copies and because it was an actual book store website they had to sell them at retail, so I bought both of these books for like $30 or something. I was feeling pretty proud of myself after that purchase!
Another reason I am having trouble truly judging this one is that the story itself is very short and I am not quite sure how it truly fits into the Star Wars cannon even before the powers that be said that none of it counts. There are a few references in this book that mention other previous books and stories and so forth. So I honestly felt that I picked up a really long novel and just read a chapter and am trying to give a review of the entire book. Obviously that is not ideal. Regardless I think the book was good, certainly interesting if nothing else. As a Star Wars fan I really have no complaints.
I did like that Darth Maul was explored more as a character in this one. I felt that the character was awesome and certainly cool, but way too mysterious and had too little screen time in the movie. I mean he was there had a battle then was killed, that was it. This story focuses more on him, his story, and what happens to him after the movie. I would almost label this an origin story, but not quite. I cannot really say that it is an origin story, but it does talk about his life, home planet, as well as, his mother, and how Sidius found him and trained him to use the dark side of the Force. Which is all very interesting as again I knew next to nothing about this character. This book also gives the reader some more insight into General Grievous as well. What I thought was interesting is that in the movie he was seen as not that powerful of a villain, but in this book he is depicted as more of a badass. So just kind of interesting so see how different characters are depicted.
The artwork in this book is pretty solid. It is a very traditional style and is what you would expect when you open a comic book. I honestly have no complaints about the artwork. I do like the different worlds that are shown in this book. Star Wars has always been great for showing new and different worlds, and this book is no exception. I enjoyed the colors in this one, they seemed to really jump off the page and were deep and rich giving life to these strange new worlds and characters. All in all I have no complaints about the artwork in any way.
As a Star Wars fan I have to say you should check this one out. It is certainly a cool follow up to the movie and you get to see more about Maul and his backstory. However the trade paperback is very difficult to find and as I have already mentioned expensive. So I think for this one if you truly must read it I think the digital route is probably better. This may be the only time I recommend buying a digital copy as opposed to a paper copy. I am old fashioned and like a physical copy of a book no matter what it is. Still if you are a collector and you must have a copy get ready to spend because they are not cheap. A third alternative may be to collect the individual issues that make up this story. I think you could possible get them all for $30-$50 which is still cheaper than buying the trade.