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Darth Maul (Sith Apprentice)

SW: Darth Maul
by yo go re

Take it off!

Darth Sidious' apprentice and enforcer Darth Maul has cut his way through the ranks of the galactic crime syndicate Black Sun to take on the pinnacle of their organization.

For a Force-sensitive killer raised on The Planet of the Goth Girls, Maul Opress sure does keep ending up tangled up in the leadership of large organized crime families, doesn't he? The (now non-canon) comic series this toy is based on saw Palpatine sending Maul on his first mission, one to keep Black Sun from being organized enough to upset the upcoming Trade Federation blockade of Naboo. But even in continuity, he's basically founded two different gangs: first the Shadow Collective, and then Crimson Dawn. Wow, it's almost like when you steal a child away from their parents at a formative age, they spend their adulthood trying to re-create a family for themselves.

This is not the first Black Series Darth Maul. And this is not the first time this design has received a toy. Heck, this isn't even the first time these molds have been released! While we were waiting for this figure to ship, two pre-paints became available at GameStop: the Nightbrother Warrior and the Nightbrother Archer, both from Jedi: Fallen Order. It was just faith that this one would eventually release that kept me from getting either of those. Since this Maul is shirtless, the only parts that come from the Series 1 figure are his pants - no wonder Hasbro would want to reuse the new pieces as much as possible!

Not even the head is shared! The 2015 Maul had a stoic look, while this one has his mouth open in a snarl, perfect for fighting. Actually, considering the old one had two heads, it's surprising they both had the same calm face. He certainly looks a lot more threatening like this, even if his face seems a little more narrow. If you look at Ian McCaig's original designs for Maul, you'll notice that he didn't actually have horns: zoom in real close, and you realize those are feathers bound by wire; it's the other Lucasfilm artists who misinterpreted them as natural growths.

You may be able to swap this head onto the clothed Maul, but you won't be able to go the other way: the red used here is a lot darker than it was seven years ago, and there's a lot more of it; if you have the older Darth Maul and put his head on this body, it won't blend at all. The torso is molded in black and the arms in red, with the coordinating color painted on eash. The lines are crisp and clear, and it's awesome to see the ancient design done in this scale.

The original shirtless Maul had minimal articulation - not something that's a problem for the Black Series! Beach Fun Maul has balljoints at the top and bottom of the neck, pec hinges, swivel/​hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/​hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/​hinge ankles. His skirts are plastic, so you can't do anything too wild with the legs, but the extra chest/shoulder joint on each side does make him a little more dynamic than he might be.

Maul's only accessory is his lightsaber. It has two removable blades, and the hilt can be split apart. A peg on on segment allows it to be plugged into his belt. While the original release was dark grey, this new one is a lighter silver. One of the sockets on the end of the hilt must have been molded incorrectly, because no matter which blade you put in there, it sticks out at an angle rather than straight from the body. You'll have to find a pose to disguise that.

This is, like Jaxxon, one of the comic-based figures sold in boxes that look like books, with comic cover art on the front. That means you can only get him via "fan channels" (aka "nerdy stores"), so he's going to cost a bit more than he should. But this is a fun, iconic design that makes for a striking action figure, one that really looks good in the collection.

-- 10/01/22

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