As Return of the Jedi revealed, there's such thing as slave trading in the Star Wars Universe. And though Jabba the Hutt's plans for Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca never panned out, it hinted at a stronger presence for the vile market in A Galaxy Far, Far Away.
The storyline in the new comic depicts Darth Maul and Darth Sidious before they are revealed to the Jedi Order in The Phantom Menace, when the Sith still lurked in the shadows. But Maul has grown restless and wants to strike at his foes.
He goes behind his Master's back and recruits fan-favorite bounty hunters Cad Bane and Aurra Sing to help in his secret mission. They determine that an evil crime syndicate, ran by the trafficking gangster known as Xev Xrexus, has kidnapped a Twi-Lek Jedi Padawan named Eldra Kaitis and plans to auction her off to the highest bidder.
So Maul, in order to sate his desire to kill all of the Jedi, settles for this one in secret—and elects to kidnap her himself.
He and the bounty hunters infiltrate the auction and wait to see which criminal actually claims the Padawan. They then infiltrate the winner's ship, take out the crime lord's security force, and take the Padawan for themselves.
But Kaitis recognizes Maul's Force abilities, as well as his abstaining from using a lightsaber in an effort to remain hidden.
Though she's never encountered a Sith before, she recognizes his evil immediately.
The group tips off Xrexus in their escape, who orders a squad to go after them for undermining her criminal authority—she still doesn't know who she's dealing with either.
But Kaitis confronts Maul, who states that when the time comes and they are safely in the clear, that he will give Kaitis back her lightsaber for a duel in which he promises to kill her.
What's a Sith Lord without honor, right?
The comic is certainly heating up, promising all sorts of ramifications for Maul, his Master, and the criminal scum of the galaxy. But what of this new Jedi Padawan? And who is her Jedi Master?
Star Wars: Darth Maul #3 is available stores and digital right now.
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(W) Cullen Bunn (A) Luke Ross (CA) Rafael Albuquerque
• An evil crime syndicate is auctioning off a Jedi Padawan...
• ...that Darth Maul plans to take - and kill - for his own.
• Featuring: a band of bounty hunters including Cad Bane and Aurra Sing!