In one sense, Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir signals the end of an era. It’s the final Star Wars miniseries to come from Dark Horse Comics and possibly the last we’ll see of prequel-based content for some time. It also represents a finale of sorts for The Clone Wars.
But in another sense, it’s a prelude to the coming “new dawn” of multi-platform integrated storytelling which will start in September. This comic is canon, not in a secondary sense but in a primary sense—it holds its place with equal stature beside episodes I-VI. No matter which way you cut it (no pun intended), Maul survived after the Battle of Naboo. Now we get to see his final fate…
When last we saw Maul, he was bested by Darth Sidious but still kept alive for “other uses”. As the story opens, Maul is imprisoned on the planet Stygeon, a snowy, mountainous wasteland. Sidious and Darth Tyranus begin plotting to sraw out Mother Talzin from Dathomir, fearing she stands in the way of total victory for the Sith; meanwhile, a team of Mandalorian warriors from the Shadow Collective, under instruction from Mandalorian Prime Minister Almec, intend to break the former Dark Lord out of the Stygeon stronghold.
What follows is a tale full of high action and drama. Sidious is not only cold-hearted but cruel in a perverse way, and Maul seems sympathetic and almost heroic in comparison. (It doesn’t hurt that he has very cool Mandalorian warriors by his side.) It all feels very much like classic Star Wars and recalls some of the best episodes offered by The Clone Wars.
The art for me is kind of hit-or-miss, but it’s the story that draws you in. This feels weighty—substantial—like it’s essential Star Wars lore and definitely a story that had to find life somewhere. Maul’s resurrection in The Clone Wars always sounded like a terrible idea on paper, but the execution of the idea by George Lucas, Dave Filoni and the various Clone Wars writers has meant that this storyline has become one of the most memorable in Star Wars. It has also made Maul as a character match the promise of his all-too-brief appearance in The Phantom Menace. This first issue of Son of Dathomir continues to deliver on that promise.
This is highly recommended and worth picking up by any fan of The Clone Wars in particular.