Release date: April 26, 2017
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Luke Ross
Colors: Nolan Woodward
On Tuesday, Marvel released a press statement trying to assure its readers that despite their assumptions, there is no reason to be alarmed that… well, Captain America is currently a pseudo-Nazi. On the one hand, I get where Marvel is coming from: the ending of the story will hopefully justify the journey to that point. At the same time, the journey needs to be enjoyable and worthwhile, and from what I can tell, it’s leaving a lot of people frustrated and confused. I bring this up because I really want to give Bunn the benefit of the doubt here–that the payoff will be worth it–but if Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Maul #3 is any indication of what’s to come, I’m ready for the series to retire.
To be fair, the story itself is interesting. Maul is a very predatory character, so playing to that strength makes sense, narrative-wise. The concept of him hunting down a Jedi Padawan, with Aurra Sing and Cad Bane in tow, sounds like a match made in heaven. However, the issue itself, similar to the previous one, feels like an absolute chore to read. Once you reach the end, you realize this served simply as an introduction to the next part of the story, and if this is following the trend of other series, we only have two more to go. That’s concerning, considering how slowly the story has progressed so far. Throw in the overused inner monologue bit, and it’s not hard to see why this has not been as well-received as other series.
Whatever can be said about the story, the artwork is still as gorgeous as ever. This is definitely a darker, angrier storyline, and Ross masterfully conveys the rage and pain these characters carry. Unlike some artists (Larroca, I’m looking at you), each character feels like he/she got the time and attention deserved, not like a tracing from a movie still. Woodward does a great job with the coloring as well, making sure to reflect the appropriate mood and emotion. Artwork cannot save a boring story, but it definitely helps it go down more smoothly.
Initially, I felt like I was in the minority of people excited about the Darth Maul series. Now? I wouldn’t mind if it ended prematurely. However, as we’ve learned with Maul, it takes more than a lightsaber to the waist to end the Sith Lord. It’s that tenacity that I admire about Maul, and despite my harsh words, I hope Bunn has the same drive and determination. I would love to see the series wrapped up in a satisfying way.
I’m just leery, to say the least.