Star Wars: Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir #1. Jeremy Barlow (writer), Juan Frigeri (penciller), Mauro Vargas (inker), Wes Dzioba (colorist), Chris Scalf (cover artist). May 21, 2014. 40 pages.
Filming for Star Wars: Episode VII is currently underway and Star Wars Rebels is set to premiere this fall. Although those two productions have been the center of conversation in recent months, Star Wars: The Clone Wars hasn’t completely faded away. With the successful Netflix release of season six back in March and four daytime Emmy nominations that followed soon after, The Clone Wars continues to live on–even in comic book form.
Based on unaired scripts of the Emmy Award winning television series, “Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir” visually narrates the story of the Sith Lord following his defeat against his former master, Darth Sidious. Part One, the first of a four-issue monthly series, follows Maul through his imprisonment on the planet Stygeon and a second humiliating defeat on Zanbar at the hands of General Grievous. Suffering heavy losses, Maul escapes while a bigger scheme is brewing to bring about his end and the end of the witch behind his resurrection, Mother Talzin.
As a devoted fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, opening the comic book felt like I was watching a brand new episode. Tom Kane’s voice appeared in my head as the announcer and introduced the background of the story to me. Other voices also surfaced, including the late Ian Abercrombie as Darth Sidious, Sam Witwer as Darth Maul, Corey Burton as Count Dooku, and Matthew Wood as General Grievous. The soundboard in the back of my mind added the sound effects and Kevin Kiner-inspired background music. Even with all that in place, my not-so 22-minute episode came to a quick end.
From beginning to end, the events flowed at an even pace with straightforward dialogue, making it a fun and simple read for both children and adults. Darth Sidious’ intentions are clear right from the start, and everything leading up to Maul’s escape from the battle at Zanbar, sets the stage for future characters to appear, particularly Mother Talzin.
The criminal organization known as the Shadow Collective mainly consisted of Mandalorian warriors in this issue, despite Maul having the support of the Black Sun and the Pykes. With three more issues on the way, perhaps we’ll see both of those crime groups in action. As for the presence of Mandalorians, Maul’s use of the expression “My brothers!” (vode, anyone?) and the image of the warriors chanting in response (oya!) instantly reminded me of Mandalorians from Legends (previously known as the expanded universe).
One Mandalorian in particular caught my attention: Rook Kast. I don’t recall seeing her helmet design before. It gave me the impression that she was a different species and that the helmet was modified to accommodate for a different head shape. The design could also be another bird-inspired element, since her helmet shares similar markings to those seen on the helmet owned by Sabine Wren in Star Wars Rebels. Following Commander Saxon’s death at the battle on Zanbar, I want to see her succeed as Darth Maul’s go-to Mandalorian super commando.
Overall, Part One kicked off with a great start and played out as it would in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Some readers thought it was a slow start to the series, but it started off with explosives and finished with a full-scale battle. Part of the comic book reading experience is making the images come to life in your mind. I normally spend about 15-20 seconds on each individual frame because I absorb the minor details, the coloring, how the words would be spoken, etc. Would I have preferred to watch it on television? Of course, but I’m thankful that I have the comic book version of the scripts because we could have easily had nothing at all.
Needless to say, I highly recommend this issue. Darth Sidious is out to get Mother Talzin and that alone is worth the wait for the next three parts in the series.
Star Wars: Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1 is currently out on comic book shelves and available online.
Son of Dathomir #2 will be released on June 18, 2014, “With his Shadow Collective army stalled, Darth Maul calls on Mother Talzin for help and is sent reinforcements—the deadly Nightbrothers! Maul is ready again to take on the Separatist droid army, Count Dooku, and General Grievous—in a trio of simultaneous battles!”
Other reviews and links of interest:
- “Star Wars: Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1” [Review] by James Floyd
- “Marvel Comics Should Save Star Wars: The Clone Wars” by Pete Morrison
- “Star Wars: Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1 Review” by Eric Goldman