Title: Star Wars: Darth Maul
Publisher/Year: Dark Horse, 2001
Artist: Jan Duursema
Writer: Ron Marz
Collects: Star Wars: Darth Maul #1-4
Darth Maul blows into Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in one piece and leaves in two. Otherwise, very little is known about this demonic-looking Sith who helped launch the rise of the Empire.
Ron Marz fills in the gaps with this graphic novel, dynamically illustrated by Jan Duursema. Taking place before the events of Menace, obviously, the story demonstrates just how tough a character Maul was, how brutally efficient he could be and how devoted to his evil master's cause he remained.
The primary focus of Maul's attention here is the Black Sun, a widespread criminal syndicate that Darth Sidious (the future Emperor Palpatine) fears could prove a thorn in his side during the coming conflict. Maul's mission is to cripple the syndicate enough to diminish the threat without destroying it beyond the hope of being useful later.
He carries out his mission single-mindedly and ruthlessly. Anyone who enjoys the Star Wars brand of action will love it, because once he gets going, Maul is a juggernaut. And Duursema's pencils carry the action brilliantly and colorfully forward so that Marz's story splashes right from the page.
I am not a diehard Maul fan, in part because the character was so underdeveloped in the movie. This book makes me appreciate the character a whole lot more.