Writer: Jeremy Barlow
Penciler: Juan Frigeri
Inker: Mauro Vargas
Colors: Wes Dzioba
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover Art: Chris Scalf
The cancellation of The Clone Wars was sudden and swift, leaving many fans eager for more. Although some unfinished stories were eventually completed and put on Netflix under ‘The Lost Missions’, there were many stories still untold. One of these was the conclusion of Darth Maul’s story in The Clone Wars. Based off of a unfinished script, Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir was the final Star Wars comic Dark Horse released before the license moved to Marvel. It was as a four-part miniseries and was the first part of the new canon of the Star Wars universe, following the ‘death’ of the Expanded Universe.
Warning: Major spoilers for seasons 4 and 5 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Son of Dathomir ahead!
“After he survived his confrontation with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Naboo, and was saved from madness by the Dathomir witch Mother Talzin, Darth Maul constructed a vast crime syndicate known as the Shadow Collective, gathering the galaxy’s most feared crime lords. Black Sun, the Pykes and even the mighty Hutts have all fallen in line behind the dark warrior.
From a base of operations on the planet of Mandalore, Maul plotted revenge against his many enemies. But Maul’s lust for power and conquest has drawn a great enemy upon him-his former master, Darth Sidious.
Judging Maul a threat to his own designs, Sidious defeated his former apprentice, ruthlessly murdering Maul’s brother, Savage Opress and leaving Maul beaten but, curiously, still alive and imprisoned.”
This comic is a wild and exciting ride, taking the reader all over the Star Wars galaxy, and delving into the mythology of the Dark Side of the Force. The comic begins with Maul, captured and being tortured by Sidious and Count Dooku in a prison on Stygeon Prime. A few pages in we learn that the reason that Sidious left Maul alive is that the Sith lords want Maul to lead them to Mother Talzin, a powerful Dathomiran witch who could interfere with their grand machinations. However, the Shadow Collective has other plans for their leader, sending a group of Mandalorians into the prison to break Maul out. They do so after a brief fight with battle droids, and after giving Maul back his Dark Saber, they leave for Zanbar; where the Shadow Collective fled after what happened in The Clone Wars.
Sending out the Confederacy fleet to destroy the Shadow Collective, Dooku gives orders to General Grievous to hurt but not kill Maul, in hopes of drawing Talzin out. Moving to Zanbar, the Shadow Collective and the Confederacy fight, resulting in a great battle between Maul and Grievous resulting in the Shadow Collective leaving the battle and moving to Ord Mantell.
After a brief scene with Dooku and Grievous we cut away to Maul, asking Talzin to guide him. After which she emerges from his chest in a cloud of green smoke and tells him that she is sending help from Dathomir. The help that she sends are warships filled with Nightbrothers, the male inhabitants of Dathomir and pure warriors. After a brilliantly illustrated couple of pages, in which Grievous commences the bombardment of Ord Mantell and Dooku destroys a massive amount of Nightbrothers, Maul launches a counterattack and captures Grievous and Dooku, and heads to an old Mandalorian supply outpost off planet.
This is where the miniseries gets a little bit bumpy. After the battle at Ord Mantell, the story focuses on Jedi who are investigating what exactly happened at the battle. After determining that Dooku and Maul are indeed fighting each other, Mace Windu reports to Palpatine, and the Chancellor implants the idea that perhaps Dooku and Maul are the two Sith that the Jedi have been hunting for. After determining where the Shadow Collective are, the Jedi attack the Mandalorian base.
While the Jedi begin attacking, Talzin remerges from Maul’s chest and speaks to Dooku, revealing that Maul is in fact, Talzin’s biological son. After this bombshell Talzin goes back into her vessel’s chest and Maul briefly teams up with Dooku, which leads to them killing Jedi Master Tiplee directly in front of Obi-Wan Kenobi, in a scene that I’m guessing is supposed to remind the reader of the death of Satine Kryze, the Duchess of Mandalore and a close personal friend of Obi-Wan. After the base is overtaken by the Republic, Maul, a group of Mandalorians and the re-captured Dooku fly to Dathomir, wherein Mother Talzin returns in the way she did before.
After revealing that restoring Maul to his prime sacrificed most of her form, Talzin plans to regain a physical body by draining the life from Dooku, taking away Sidious’ pawn and disrupting his plans. As Talzin begins her spell, Grievous and Sidious attack, hoping to kill Talzin once and for all. Maul and a Talzin-possessed Dooku hold both of them off in time for Talzin to regain enough life from Dooku to return to her physical form and she begins to fight Sidious in an absolutely amazing Force-lightning battle.
After Dooku regains consciousness, both him and his master blast Talzin with Force-lightning, forcing her to turn her offense into a defense, creating a shield and telling her son to leave her to her fate and escape. Maul’s Mandalorians grab him and drag him away into a ship while Grievous forces his way through Talzin’s shield and stabs her in the chest with two lightsabers. Maul tries to fight his Mandalorians, trying to get to his mother but they manage to get onto a ship and fly away while Talzin dies (presumably). After Maul’s ship flies away, Dooku apologizes to his master, asking Sidious to forgive him for letting Maul get away again. Sidious says that everything has happened as he had foreseen and that Maul’s future has been erased, and the story ends.
This story answers a lot of questions, and leaves readers with many new ones. One of the things that this comic talks about are the Dathomiran magicks that Talzin used and where the difference between magick ends and the Force powers that the Sith use begins. The major revealing factor that this story gives is that Maul is still alive. There is so much they could do with this going forward. They could even have him appear in Rebels or The Force Awakens! I really enjoyed this story and it was a great addition to The Clone Wars series and this era. If you’re a fan of the Clone Wars show or just a fan of Darth Maul I would pick this book up.
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir tradepaperback was published by Dark Horse comics on October 1, 2014.