In the first few pages of the second issue of Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, there are two big revelations: 1) that Ord Mantell is home to a significant stronghold of the Black Sun crime syndicate, and 2) that Darth Sidious and Mother Talzin were once allies, and Talzin’s teaching’s were “sought out” by Sidious.
It seems that Talzin is “older and fouler” than one might think. Could one of her teachings have been to preserve a youthful appearance despite using the Dark Side for many, many years? Will we eventually get hints to help explain Palpatine’s “scarred” appearance from Revenge of the Sith onwards?
As to the actual story in this issue, it seems that Talzin has been the architect of Darth Maul’s Shadow Collective all along—while Sidious and Dooku used Maul to draw out Talzin, Talzin has been using Maul to draw out Sidious ever since she sent Savage Opress to seek out Maul on Lotho Minor. A showdown between two of the most powerful Dark Side users is now brewing.
This issue of Son of Dathomir is, in effect, the first half of the second act in this story. That means that there is “rising action”, but the stakes won’t be raised until the end of this issue. So you do get a battle on Ord Mantell and some pretty exciting moments, but the best is still to come.
The art is, again, serviceable, but the story is so good that it carries the comic. This is the first canonical appearance of Ord Mantell, and it’s telling that the Black Sun have a base of operations on the planet. (Why were Han and Leia there prior to the Battle of Hoth? Were the Rebellion dealing with the Black Sun?) We also get hints of Palpatine’s larger backstory, and the effect is that more questions are raised than answers are provided.
If episodes I-III made the Star Wars universe seem smaller and smaller, The Clone Wars and now Son of Dathomir expand it once more. Hopefully Rebels and Episode VII will continue this trend.