The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters
The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters
Writer: Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching
Penciller: Vicenç Villagrasa
Inker: Vicante Ibañez
Cover Artist: Dave Filoni
The Sith Hunters is an interesting trade paperback. Before I delve into the story, there are a few things worth pointing out. This comic is one of the small sized trade paperbacks, measuring 5 1/4″ x 7 1/2″ and 80 pages in length. Dark Horse Comics has the age range listed as 8, and the content and art reflects that. However, diehard Star Wars fans will still want to check out the comic in order to get a complete picture of Maul’s story.
For anyone who’s looking for the missing pieces in Maul’s story, The Sith Hunters has you covered. The comic picks up with some quick flashbacks to the Maul episodes in Season 4 of The Clone Wars in order to bring new readers up to speed. Not too long afterwards, we get to see what happened to Maul when he fell to the bottom of the reactor shaft on Naboo and how he was taken off planet. The story also touches on how he was able to survive such traumatic injuries. Later on, the story picks up with Maul being dumped off on the garbage world. It shows how he encountered that talking snake creature and how their relationship formed. Maul and Savage also talk about Palpatine and Dooku briefly, though it’s interesting to note that neither one of them know the names of the Sith that trained them. Instead they just refer to them as Shadows.
Beyond the Expanded Universe elements, the story also focuses on a Jedi Strike team led by Plo Koon. Other members of the team include Obi-Wan Kenobi, and some new guys: Tatsu, Master Grohto, Jun-Fan, and Ko Solok. Of the new characters, Jun-Fan really stands out. For one, he’s very much a Jedi Bruce Lee, both in appearance and in combat. He goes around without a shirt and likes hand-to-hand combat. He also has Force intuition which gives him brief glimpses of where things came from or went to. The team winds up finding the Maul brothers and action quickly ensues.
Since this is a kid’s comic, there’s no blood, but there’s surprisingly a lot of violence. In fact there’s as much violence as you would expect in an adult Star Wars comic. The only difference is the lack of blood. People still get hacked up with lightsabers and plenty of people die. The dialog isn’t too bad. It’s not as good as the dialog on the TV show, but it works well enough to present the story. The art is very bright and colorful with almost no shadows or dark scenes. The style sort of lends itself from the cartoonish aspect of the TV show.
There’s a few interesting surprises that happen in the story. For one, Palpatine learns that Darth Maul is alive. Secondly, Plo Koon is de-masked in combat (although we don’t get to see his face). The reveals of what happened to Maul at the bottom of the reactor shaft and how he ended up on the trash world with the snake creature were pretty cool, too.
With this comic picking up right after the end of the last episode in Season 4, it actually serves as a nice bridge to the Tom Taylor Darth Maul: Death Sentence #1 comic. There we see the Maul brothers in trouble with a bounty on their heads. With the damage they caused in The Sith Hunters, it would be understandable that someone would be after them. We also get a glimpse of Maul starting to train Savage to show more patience and to consider more options before taking action.
Overall The Sith Hunters is pretty decent for a kid’s comic (and to an adult’s perspective). There’s lots of action, colorful alien characters, memorable heroes for the reader to root for, and a nice story to get fans anxious for Season 5. On the other hand, for adult fans who decide to pick this up, you’ll get a bit more of the story behind Maul and some peeks at were he’s heading mentally. You’ll get to see some small steps toward his progression and what may be coming in Season 5. Since this is a young reader comic, I give it a very special four out of five Anji’s (Allana Solo’s pet nexu. For those who haven’t read the Fate of the Jedi books, just think of them as baby nexus).