Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1

Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1 (of 4)

Writer: Jeremy Barlow
Penciller: Juan Frigeri
Inker: Mauro Vargas
Colorist: Wes Dzioba
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Chris Scalf

Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1 is a bittersweet story pitting some of the best villains in Star Wars: The Clone Wars against each other. Darth Sidious, Dooku, Maul, Grievous and Mother Talzin are all engaged in a battle for survival. Sidious wants Talzin dead, and with Dooku and Grievous as his pawns, plus Maul as bait, he aims to get what he wants. It’s an excellent setup for a story.

Chris Scalf kicks this mini-series off with a visceral cover. The iconic Darth Maul dons the front of the issue with a snarl, his fiery eyes and gruesome teeth. While the background is a wash of blurry color, the detail of Maul’s face makes up for it with a good amount of detail. Yet that focus also lures the eyes from a very interesting item that Maul is holding: the Darksaber.

As cool looking as the cover is, the interior art is very much a mixed bag. Some of the panels are great. The first panel is a an excellent shot of a secret prison on Stygeon. It’s a brooding castle in a windswept, snowy landscape. Yet the first panel on the next page is the sort of visual that causes you to screech in your tracks. It features Maul suspended in electrical bindings with Sidious facing him. The problem is the utter lack of detail. The art looks very minimalistic, the sort of thing you would expect in far off background characters or a small transition panel. Yet this is large panel, a scene that should command some attention. By giving it very little detail, it gives the viewer very little to enjoy in the scene. There’s a sloppy looking Maul, Sidious’ back, and two word bubbles. It’s disappointing. Making the matter worse is that this happens throughout the issue.

Not every panel is bad, but there are enough of them to hurt the overall artwork. The sad thing is that the artist is obviously talented as can be seen in the other panels. There’s a nice close up of Maul’s fiery eyes, some good shots of Dooku, some good action scenes and nicely rendered droids. But far too many of the panels look rushed with less attention to detail. I certainly don’t fault the colorist as the coloring is good. There’s just only so much you can do when the lines aren’t there in the artwork.

Storywise, this comic presents a very interesting setup. It picks up with Maul in captivity and Sidious briefing Dooku on what needs to be done. They plan to use Maul to bring out Mother Talzin so they can eliminate her. However, Maul manages to escape with some help from Mandalorians. This leads to Dooku sending Grievous after Maul, engaging him in battle, and sending Maul into retreat and hopefully toward Talzin. It’s a good plot and a lot of the dialog feels spot on for the characters.

The art and story aside, there’s one other factor that plays a crucial part in this comic: the lack of an animated episode. Let’s be perfectly honest here, every Star Wars: The Clone Wars fan would much rather see this story done its full justice with an animated episode, be it for television or Netflix. It would be worth waiting another year to get. But since that’s not happening, we’re getting a consolation prize, and as such, this just doesn’t feel as satisfying. You can’t escape the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Making matters worse is seeing those poorly drawn panels and thinking about how glorious this would have looked on a television screen with the top notch animation tools TCW had developed. Alas, we got this.

With a good story, okay artwork and the consolation of at least getting the possible fate of Darth Maul answered, this issue averages out as something worth picking up. One way or another, fans will want to know how the story plays out for Maul. Will he die? Will his ultimate fate be left hanging? Hopefully will get some kind of revelatory answer, otherwise this mini-series could be a bust. As is, I give Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1 a three out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

1 Comment »

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  1. I agree with you. This would have been much better as an episode. Really, nothing happens in this comic. A real let down.

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