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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Comics Spotlight Review: Darth Maul, Son of Dathomir

Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir – Release October 1st

Review by Brian Novicki
Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir is special in a lot of ways. It’s the first comic to be part of the new official canon under Disney. It’s a continuation of the recently canceled animated series The Clone Wars. It’s also the current end of Darth Maul’s story, someone who looked cool but said little in Episode I - The Phantom Menace, and grew into a compelling, even tragic character over the course of The Clone Wars.

Maul’s story left off with him being captured by Darth Sidious during Season Five of The Clone Wars. When the series was cancelled after Disney purchased Lucasfilm, there was concern that we would never get to see what happened to Maul after his capture. Fortunately Dark Horse Comics was able to adapt a four episode arc from the unfinished Season Six of the show that continued his story. Son of Dathomir follows Maul’s ongoing attempts to get revenge on his former master, and Sidious’ desire to destroy the Nightsister witch Mother Talzin.

Jeremy Barlow adapts the story directly from these unproduced scripts, and does an excellent job capturing the voices of these villains. This definitely feels like an arc of The Clone Wars. There’s a heavy focus on action, which is fitting for an arc featuring Sith, Mandalorians, and Nightbrothers. Juan Frigeri makes the wise decision to not try to imitate the art style of the show. The somewhat blocky character models of The Clone Wars could lead to a very static looking comic. By going for a more realistic look, Frigeri is able to convey the movement and flow of various battles, both on ground and aerial. He inexplicably draws random shapes on most of the battle droids, unlike anything portrayed in the films or show, but that’s a minor quibble.

My only major criticism is that because of all of the battles, the story feels a bit undercooked. It would have been nice to see more from Maul’s Mandalorian commanders, in particular a new female Mandalorian named Kast. The final confrontation between Talzin and Sidious also loses some impact due to the rush to get them fighting at the expense of more interaction between the two villains ahead of time.

While it’s a shame that we’ll likely never see this story fully animated, Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir is an excellent way to get your hands on more of The Clone Wars. The arcs focusing on the villains were always some of the most compelling parts of the show, and while Son of Dathomir doesn’t flesh out its characters’ relationships as well as it could, it’s still an exciting read, and a very entertaining Star Wars story.

Brian Novicki is a dear friend of the site and a sometimes guest on our podcast. You can find his work regularly on EUCatina.net
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