Canon Comic Review: Darth Maul #4

Darth Maul #4

– Spoiler Review –

While the verdict is still out if this latest of Darth Maul comics is a must-read, as there’s still one issue left, issue #4 makes another strong case for itself due to providing even more reasons to adore, root for, and be afraid for the likely doomed Jedi Padawan Eldra Kaitis.

Darth Maul 4I was already quite the fan of the spunky Padawan Eldra Kaitis after her fierce show in issue #3, but issue #4 has made her into one of my new favorite characters and now I’m even more worried about her potential fate than ever before. I think it was a very smart move for the series to introduce such a memorable new Jedi character because otherwise it wouldn’t be so compelling to see said character face off against Maul in a time period where any fate other than death is quite the long shot. In fact, I believe by the end of this issue you’ll be a fan of Eldra too, but how do I know this: because if both Cad Bane and Darth Maul seem to consider it a pity she’s fated for death (with both of them wishing she could’ve joined their respective teams), then you know she’s got quite the memorable personality. Her determination is fierce and unrelenting, while her quick acceptance of the situation (aka her likely death) and unwillingness to give into fear shows she’s already quite the Jedi, something Maul even notices and has some appreciation for. And as an added bonus her snark is not only funny, but it’s another strong personality to force Maul to be more than just a killing machine at this point in his life. Beyond Eldra turning to the dark side (which at this point I highly doubt she’d do), her joining up with Bane and going off to do awesome bounty hunter things for awhile, or just walking away from everything (also something she wouldn’t seem to do), I don’t quite know how this series doesn’t end with her death and that will very well be extremely disappointing. Please don’t kill her, Cullen Bunn, please?! This brings me back to the pre-Darth Vader #25 days and hoping Doctor Aphra didn’t bite the dust either…so maybe take a note from Kieron Gillen’s book? It’s going to be a long month sitting at the edge of my seat waiting until issue #5 drops, but I just need to remember all is as the Force wills it (and hopefully it wills Eldra to survive this, somehow).

Though the series started off with the bit of a mindless, thirsty for revenge against the Jedi-type Maul and as it has progressed and put Maul in contact with a more colorful menagerie of characters, it’s helped bring out a more nuanced Maul. This is a far more compelling Maul, as both The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels have shown, which comes across in interesting ways here like how Maul losses a bit of his blood-red mindset when he realizes he’s more excited about what comes next then just satiating his anger, as well as giving Eldra a chance to prove herself worthy of her claim as his equal from last issue instead of outright killing her. He’s learning more about himself this way and his commitment to the bigger picture Palpatine has in mind, hence why after his resurrection in TCW he is spurned by Palpatine continuing on with the grand plans without him, and at least by this series end we’ll see him be more content with patiently waiting to kill (more?) Jedi until told to do so by The Phantom Menace.

While Luke Ross’ art continues to really fit the tone and underworld-focus of this series, Nolan Woodard’s colors take the proverbial cake this issue, playing around with lights and shadows to show the hints of the dark side in Eldra or the more tempered mind of Maul in his later days. It all comes together to highlight the issue’s script and characters and help elevate it to be more than what it appears. Fantastic work by the art team for this series to date! Also, one of the best covers to date to boot, as even the lettering on the issue you’ll pick up at your LCS plays with the color dichotomy…kudos to Rafael Alburquerque.

Here are a few other things:

  • I know Maul, at this point pre-TPM, wants to have revenge against the Jedi, but I don’t know if we’ve ever heard him articulate that it had been due to him essentially wanting justice against the Jedi for slaughtering the Sith many, many years ago. We still don’t know canonically what happened, though in Legends the Sith more or less brought it on themselves (when using a thought bomb), thus why the survivor Darth Bane began the Rule of Two. It’s a bit of a skewered world-view to believe the Jedi were at fault, especially since I doubt Palpatine or even Bane all those years ago felt that way, but hey, Maul was just looking for an excuse to use his hatred to kill some Jedi so let’s not dive too deep into the details.
  • I laughed a little when Tek-Tek got some comeuppance for messing with the protocol droid they stole last issue.

By making Eldra Kaitis such a memorable character, it puts fans on pins and needles (and gives them some potential false hope) for the final issue of Darth Maul.

+ Eldra Kaitis makes quite the lasting impression on readers and characters alike!

+ The duel is on!

+ Maul shedding some of that bloodlust

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

Darth Maul
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