Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Star Wars: Darth Maul Son of Dathomir #1 of 4
Dark Horse Comics
Barlow, Frigeri & Vargas
With the Star Wars license leaving Dark Horse for Marvel at the end of 2014 and the Clone Wars TV series ending being shortened to make room for a new show, Dark Horse is taking advantage by publishing comics that would have been part of the show. This series, will deal with the dangling thread of Darth Maul. For those not familiar with the Clone Wars TV series, Darth Maul was brought back from the dead in season four. This causes some continuity gaps unless he's killed off during the war at some point (this is all moot as the Expanded Universe has been deemed non-canon) and this comic promises to deal with that unresolved thread. The opening issue is sub-par and feels half-baked at best. I was expecting more.
When we last saw Darth Maul on the TV show, Darth Sidious was electrocuting him while cackling away. This comic picks up with Maul being held prisoner and Sidious rubbing some salt in the wound. Sidious introduces Maul to his new apprentice, a fallen Jedi no less, in the form of Count Dooku. Maul is unimpressed.
In classic Sidious fashion, he has more than a straight forward plan for Maul. He concocts a way to use Maul to draw out some of his enemies to deal a swift and decisive defeat to them. Sidious is a crafty one to be sure.
Eventually Maul is on the loose and General Grievous is brought in to lead Maul in the direction Sidious requires. The comic book covers a lot of ground and is definitely paced well. Keeping the comic, villain centric is also another smart move on behalf of the creators but the comic isn't without its problems.
The book's art is a concern. For one thing, Sidious appears to already have half or most of his deformed face as he doesn't resemble Chancellor Palpatine, pre-Emperor-look, with a hood on at all. Another aspect of the art that is a problem is how rushed the book looks. Usually a bunch of inkers is the clue of a rushed book, but in this case, the book has bleeding lines that give the appearance of either no inking at all or faulty printing. I also didn't find action or movements to be terribly fluid. All around, the art needs to feel like it fits in the Star Wars universe and this comic doesn't.
Another issue is the plot around the enemies Sidious wants eliminated. He doesn't really provide a reason and this presents a problem because the enemy is contained to one planet and is relatively a non-player in the galactic span. Whereas an enemy like the Jedi are widespread and are major players on the political and galactic fronts. It seems odd that Sidious would focus this much attention on this level of villain.
Darth Maul is a great character. Even if bringing him back cheapens Kenobi a little bit, the character is better off not dead. This series feels like it was a rush to close out in time for the Dark Horse imposed deadline of August for publishing single Star Wars issues and that there was a scramble to connect the plot dots from the show. This is a below average book but hopefully it will turn around quickly.
2 out of 5 Geek Goggles