Darth Maul: Death Sentence #1
Darth Maul: Death Sentence #1 (of 4)
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Bruno Redondo
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Dave Dorman
Darth Maul: Death Sentence #1 is a miniseries that starts off with knock out and blockbuster explosions. The team behind this issue wastes no time in flooring the audience with gorgeous visuals, apt humor, and epic violence. This is Maul and Opress at their best. As one would expect, there’s lots of explosions and mayhem to go around.
Before things even start, readers get the beautiful, or perhaps terrifying, cover by Dave Dorman. Dave is one of the legends when it comes to Star Wars comic covers, and with Death Sentence #1 he captures everything you’d expect and more. Maul comes across in great detail. His visage contains both rage as well as insanity. He looks like someone whose crazy in the dark side. It’s a wonderful way to kick start the issue and prime readers for what follows.
Inside the wonderful art continues with the talented Bruno Redondo combined with the lush colors of Michael Atiyeh. These two shine as they portray a wide cast of aliens, environments, and action packed scenes. Redondo does a great job of capturing the emotion on the characters’ faces. There are small touches, whether it was the artist’s choice or Tom Taylor’s direction, that really make the panels shine. For instance there is a scene where a Falleen negotiator is sent in to speak with the Maul brothers. When he is tossed out and flung into the air, his body hovers in the blue sky and is pinioned by the blazing orb of the sun high above. It’s such a subtle effect but it works wonderfully. It provides a little bit of added suspense and drama to the scene.
Redondo also does a good job of capturing the likeness of the existing characters. Maul, Savage, Mace Windu, and Yoda all look like their movie and tv show counterparts. I also really appreciated the balance the comic struck between portraying Maul and Opress, and then everyone else. Every panel is not dominated by the two, even though they are without a doubt the stars of the story. And speaking of story, Tom Taylor does a great job of spinning a Maul tale.
When it was first announced that Dark Horse was going to do a Darth Maul miniseries with Tom Taylor as the writer, I wondered how Tom was going to handle it. Maul and Opress are both very violent characters, and I didn’t see much room for Tom’s trademark humor. Plus I wondered how he would handle digging into the characters’ heads and exploring their personalities and emotions. Somehow Tom managed to put on his Sith thinking cap and nailed all of the above. He spun a story that was violent, but still managed to include well placed humor. He took two well established characters and poured them out upon the page with surprisingly compelling personalities. In The Clone Wars Opress can sometimes be a bit stale, but here he comes across a bit more lively and more intelligent. He has worries and concerns. He actually thinks ahead and questions his brother. On the other hand, Maul still has that touch of crazy going on that worked so well in his debut in The Clone Wars season four. The blurb for the comic may make the story sound simple, but it fails to encompass the sheer fun hidden inside.
Death Sentence #1 is a comic packed with page after page of entertainment and fun. With great art and a great story, this is nothing less than a great issue of Darth Maul joy. If the series can keep this up for the next three issues, it’ll certainly give The Clone Wars season five a run for it’s money. Tom Taylor is raising the bar on what can be done with Maul in a comic, and the art team delivers all the eye candy readers could want. Darth Maul: Death Sentence #1 earns a flawless five out of five metal bikinis.