Star Wars: Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir #3. Jeremy Barlow (writer), Juan Frigeri (artist), Mauro Vargas (inker), Wes Dzioba (colorist), Chris Scalf (cover artist). July 16, 2014. 40 pages.
Star Wars: Darth Maul—Son of Dathomir #4. Jeremy Barlow (writer), Juan Frigeri (artist), Mauro Vargas (inker), Wes Dzioba (colorist), Chris Scalf (cover artist). August 20, 2014. 40 pages.
The 4-part comic book mini-series based on unproduced material from the Emmy Award winning series Star Wars: the Clone Wars came to an end on Wednesday, August 20. In the final issues, Maul captured Count Dooku and General Grievous in order to exact his revenge on his old master, Darth Sidious, while Sidious (as Palpatine) used the Jedi Order as an obstacle for Maul. With the goal to bring Mother Talzin back to the physical world, Maul’s endeavors and plans quickly fell apart when Sidious entered the fight. The Dathomirian Sith lord suffered another agonizing defeat, forcing him to escape as Separatist armies secured Dathomir.
Overall, the events of the comic stayed true to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars storytelling formula, particularly in the fact that it left with an open ending. We saw this most recently with Ahsoka Tano in the final arc of season five. I can’t, however, fault the comic or show creators with that detail. The intent from the TCW team was to continue Maul’s story in another future arc, as seen with Dave Filoni’s sketch from season seven. As a result of that method of jumping around from story to story, Maul’s fate continues to elude us. We don’t know if we’ll see that season seven arc in comic book or novel form, and because of that, Son of Dathormir feels incomplete–a mere stepping stone to something much greater that we may or may not get.
That said, the remaining two issues contained battle and fighting scenes that would have been outstanding in animated form had the series continued. The art captured the likenesses of most characters (Obi-Wan and Count Dooku not included). Others aspects, however, fell short of expectations or felt completely unnecessary. For example, in the third issue, we found the Jedi on the scene confronting Maul and the Separatists. Tiplee, the sister of Tiplar who died in season six, was among them and joined Obi-Wan in the task to hunt them down. Like Adi Gallia’s death in season five, Tiplee’s death served no purpose. Another female Jedi is lost, and as we all know, the female population in the galaxy far, far away is severely lacking. I found the creative decision cliché, to say the least.
In the fourth issue, the process of bringing Mother Talzin back to life lasted about as long as the blink of an eye. Her death would have been more meaningful if she had returned in the third issue and spent an adequate amount of time with Maul in the physical world, making plans and preparing for the incoming attack. That would have made more of an impact for the readers and for Maul. Additionally, Sidious should have been the one to kill her and not General Grievous. Grievous could have struck her from the back as the Mandalorian warriors pulled Maul away, leaving Talzin open from the front to have Sidious impale her with his own lightsaber. To watch his own mother die at the hands of the man who took him away from her in the first place would have instilled more anger and hatred in Maul. After all, the same man killed his brother, Savage Opress, on Mandalore. If he had personally killed Talzin (another female death, might I add), Sidious would have effectively taken everything away from Maul.
Also, what happened to Brother Viscus? The character was introduced earlier in the series as an added force to Maul’s Shadow Collective, fought with Count Dooku in an impressive confrontation, and then took up the menial task of setting up Talzin’s bed chambers in the final act. He should have been present during Talzin’s resurrection to either die in the altercation or escape with Maul, the former option being more ideal to remove another one of his allies (since the Black Sun and the Pikes abandoned Maul).
Despite these creative decisions that made me frown, it was great to see a story from the animated series appear in another format. To have the content sit on a shelf somewhere without seeing the light of day would be a disservice to those who worked on the series and the many fans who supported the show over the years. The next highly anticipated Clone Wars adventure involves Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos, a novel that will also be based on unproduced scripts. We also shouldn’t give up on seeing these stories in animated form again one day. After all, Disney does have that connection with Netflix, and who knows, we may see content in the form of a mini-series or movie. It is with great hope that this trend continues and that we see more Clone Wars stories in the coming years.
Until the next story, pick up the Son of Dathomir series and experience Maul’s journey for yourself. The trade paperback will be released on October 1, 2014.
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