Darth Maul: Death Sentence #1
As we’re all familiar with, Darth Maul was last seen in Episode I: The Phantom Menace as he was cut in half and tumbled down a hole to his death…or so we were lead to believe. On the heels of the animated series Clone Wars announcing Darth Maul would be back, Dark Horse has released this mini-series detailing his survival. Short answer for all of you that MUST know: Maul’s unquenchable rage allowed him to survive, even as he was driven mad by pain and fury. That’s straight from the Horse’s mouth for ya! Anyway, if I’m to go off the quick summary of what happens immediately prior to this issue, Maul was categorized as trash and ushered off Coruscant in two halves to the garbage planet, Lotho Minor and his biological Zabrak brother, Savage Opress, rescues and takes him back to their homeworld, Dathomir, where he’s given ROBOT LEGS. Obviously, the Jedi catch wind of his survival and that’s where the issue begins. A member of a small, intelligent rodent-like species has sold the whereabouts of the brothers to an unsavory blond man, flanked by several Wookiee bodyguards and a red skinned man who looks like he’s raided Nappa’s closet. “Nappa” is rapidly murdered and for some reason, this signals to blond man that he can walk in there and come out alive (spoiler: he doesn’t). Savage Opress (which is a STUPID NAME) looks exactly like Maul down to the dual sided lightsaber but is rendered yellow, I’m assuming so we can tell them apart. Back on Coruscant, the Jedi Council dispatches a Jedi named Salmara and her Padawan Dray to get to the bottom of the rumors about Maul’s status now that word has reached them of a substantial bounty put on the Zabrak brothers. Maul and Savage Opress don’t take kindly to bounties put out on them and while we get to see Maul’s robot legs, they’re stupid. They look like transplated metal chicken legs instead of metal appendages that strike fear in my heart. The issue ends as Jedi Salmara confronts the brothers and while Savage Opress frowns at this, Maul grins. I didn’t care for the story. It’s vapid and silly and I can’t see a Star Wars fan sticking with it.
Christopher Freeman was an average male in his late twenties until he died and gained the power to “bring” people back from the dead…well, their spirits at least. This talent helps him out as a medical student but also brings forth attention from a black bald guy remniscent of the Turk, Rude, from Final Fantasy VII. Anyway, Chris has figured out that he can bring back someone for 24 hours and help them come to peace with their death and if they were murdered, help solve it. His latest client is a chatty, middle-aged man and they travel to the antique shop where the murder took place. The shopowner relays what’s missing from his shop and that he has a room for rent upstairs, leased by a young girl in a rock band. The guy starts to complain about all the people she would have coming over, the dates she had, and how much her band practiced overhead and in attempts to drown out the constant blabber, Christopher takes a closer look at the crime scene, noting the door was locked from the inside. He finds a flyer with the tenant’s band on it and heads out to their gig to question the girl. As the duo search the little club, Chris is rubbed more and more wrong by the things the shopowner is saying and notes that maybe he wasn’t a nice guy while he was alive. He finds the girl sitting backstage in tears and goes to talk to her. The shopowner also spies her and calls her a little slut but that she wouldn’t take the time to notice him so he showed her. Christopher immediately confronts the shopowner and bits of the crime fit into place. The girl flees, again in tears and Chris follows her to the roof, telling her he knows she killed the shopowner in self defense after he tried to rape her and he will help her. Later, he is congratulated by his boss and the local PD on a job well done and is approached by the Turk who says the shopowner was “his” and if Chris wasn’t careful, things were going to get dangerous. Christopher dismisses this warning and goes about life as usual, arriving at work late for a chance to see his crush. When she isn’t there, he is crestfallen and clocks into work at the morgue when he notices she’s the next victim on the table. Decent pacing, wonderful story telling from Lemire as usual. The art could be better but it works with Lemire’s haunting story telling. The ending is a bit ambiguous as to whether this will be ongoing or if this is just a one-shot…I’m hoping it continues.
X-Treme X-Men #1
The open to this comic is nearly unintelligible. To quote Charles Xavier: “You need to accept infinity.” Many severed heads of the good Professor from multiple realities are being harnessed by a young alternate version of Nightcrawler in order to transport a team of cross-dimensional X-Men from their dying planet to an uninhabited alternate Earth, which overloads the Xaviers and a portal opens above the new world. Meanwhile, Dazzler is putting on an impromptu show in San Francisco and as fans and hagglers gather, a burst of magic encircles her and the crowd gets excited and into the performance. A blonde girl on the edge of the crowd smirks and walks away as a thought bubble reveals SHE is actually Dazzler. She apologizes to her date for the momentary distraction and as their flirting reaches a peak, she is paged back to Utopia in order to charge the ghost box so Cyclops can help the X-Men team he’s met on his own inter-dimension adventures prior to AVX. As the portal is open, the alternate Wolverine (Captain James Howlett) bursts into the room followed by his team and a thrashing, tentacled creature. Dazzler rushes the creature in an attempt to close the portal but it grasps her in its tentacles. Emmeline Frost shrugs off Dazzler’s peril but reluctantly follows her leader to the rescue. A floating Xavier head laments that the tentacled being is what he looks like in this particular world and as the tentacled Xavier attacks with mental waves, the impervious Captain slices through its eyeball, saving them all. Introductions are made and Emmeline makes a snide comment that “Dazzler” isn’t what they call their Alison Blair. Floating Xavier interrupts and says that the mass teleportation may be the reason for the atrocious monster to have been created and that there are ten more monster Xaviers to take down, which he will teleport them to in hopes that they’ll be defeated. Floating Xavier makes the first jump and they’re teleported to a Roman looking empire where they encounter a group of armored god-like X-Men. Round One.
A little confusing and the art is lacking but I think it’s a solid intro to what looks like a ten to twelve issue series. The X-Men at the end are fucking badass and I want to cosplay as Storm.