Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #4

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #4 (of 4)

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

Warning: This review contains minor and major spoilers.

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir brings a climatic conclusion to Dark Horse Comics’ last Clone Wars storyline. With Darth Maul, General Grievous, Mother Talzin, Count Dooku and Darth Sidious all pitted against each other in a massive battle, it’s an impressive send off. But the big question for fans is: who will live, and will die? If you want to remain spoiler free, don’t read any further, simply take heart that this is a really nice end to the series and well worth checking out.

Before we delve into the heavy spoilers, lets start with the artwork. Of the four covers in this mini-series, this one is easily my least favorite. Chris Scalf put out some really awesome covers for Son of Dathomir, but this one is just a little too cartoony for my liking, and the layout is rather odd. The inside artwork is very inline with the rest of the series. It continues it’s cartoony style without matching the style of The Clone Wars, yet also staying away from anything to realistic. There are a few good panels and close-ups, but there’s a lot to be desired. That said, I was very impressed with the panel that had green witch magic leaking out of Dooku’s raging, possessed eyes. It’s easily the best scene in the issue.

Where this issue really shines is the story. There’s not much in the way of filler here. Maul and Dooku quickly make their way to Dathomir and meet up with Mother Talzin. Hot on their heels is Darth Sidious and Grievous. There are a few scenes showing the Black Sun, the Pikes and one of Maul’s Mandalorian followers, and while those scenes could be seen as filler, they directly tie-up the loose ends of Maul’s criminal syndicate without taking away from the big fight scene.

Now in the show, we saw some pretty epic duels. One of the best came fairly late in season five when Darth Sidious took on Darth Maul and his brother Savage Opress. Rather than redoing that battle and having Sidious fight Maul again, this issue does some things I hadn’t thought about. It manages to pull out some surprises, spin a fight that manage to capture my imagination and impress me despite the fact that it’s just a two dimensional page, and set a high bar for The Clone Wars storytelling. Fair warning, I’m going to dig into some serious spoilers.

First off, we see Mother Talzin possess Count Dooku. This ties into an earlier episode of The Clone Wars where we saw Talzin attack Dooku from a distance with her green magic. The story also fills into some plot holes by explaining her mysterious insubstanialness. Often we would see her mysteriously disappear in the show. Thankfully, we get an answer for that. When she possess Dooku, I thought we might get a chance to see Dooku and Sidious fight. Instead, the story decides to showcase Sidious’ skill, and he quickly dispatches the possessed Dooku. Meanwhile Maul and Grievous fight a little. Then Sidious and Talzin really face off, launching Force lightning at each other. Maul joins in to give Force support to his mom, while Dooku hurls lightning at both. It’s a stalemate broken by Grievous in a very emotional scene that had me finally cheering for the often cowardly cyborg. At long last, we see him doing something deadly again.

Sealing all that together is some very poignant and fitting dialog. Sidious has some really good lines in this issue, and that certainly made up for his odd appearance (he looks a lot like a warlock). Maul is pretty good, and Dooku has some nice lines as well. It all comes together to heighten the story. However, the story does do something a little controversial. Rather than finally laying out Darth Maul’s fate, they once again leave it open and hint that it’s all a part of Sidious’ master plan. I have to admit, I’m really glad they didn’t kill Maul off. He’s too good of a character to throw away when they don’t have to. Leaving him out there for future storylines is as much a gift to fans as bringing this TCW story to life.

While I’m not a big fan of the interior artwork for this series or this issue in particular, they still bring the story to visual life. Enhanced by the dialog, and back by a strong storyline, Son of Dathomir pulls off a really entertaining adventure. The tension, the surprises, and the fights in Son of Dathomir #4 had me enjoying every page. In the end, it pulled it off, thus I give it a four and half out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

2 Comments »

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  1. I was pissed at the ending…until I read your review. Now it makes sense that Maul escaped. For future stories, although I seriously doubt that his storyline will continue. At least they left that option, but I think Sidious is right in saying, “His future is erased.”

    The one line that made this entire series, hell ALL OF STAR WARS worth it, “No matter how many times you fail, you never learn this lesson, Maul…There is only one plan, one great design, which shall govern the universe…MINE!”

    Sidious doesn’t want Maul dead. He wants to tame a dog. He teaches Maul that no matter what Maul may accomplish in life, he will never be a Sith, but will always submit to their authority and acquiesce to their plans.

    Also, it’s nice to see why Sidious nonchalantly has Grievous and Dooku killed off in Episode III. He really had no use for either of them. The war ended, he had his clone army in place, and Grievous would just be a liability, which come to think of it, Grievous should have anticipated. Dooku just didn’t cut the mustard.

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