Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #4 Review

Darth Maul Son of Dathomir 4Improved art and a plot-driven story make Son of Dathomir #4 an exciting ending to the post-Clone Wars story.

This review is spoiler-free.

The art has been growing on me steadily throughout the comic’s run. Color was used to set scenes in previous issues, but seems amped up here. A red and orange sunset to match Darth Maul’s Nightbrothers contrasts with the cool green of Talzin’s alter. In this, as in the writing in #4, the creators trust the reader to keep up. Scenes and colors switch quickly and keep the story moving toward the inevitable ending - an all-out fight between five bad guys.

The art also helps sell the relationship between Darth Maul and Mother Talzin. He follows her blindly, and overall I would have liked more about the source of this loyalty - familial fondness made stronger by Savage’s death, or a feeling that he owes her for saving his life? However, one panel toward the end makes me believe that relationship, no matter what it was built on, and that’s because of the strength of the art.

As in the series as a whole, #4 has the occasional cheesy line, but there are some poetic ones that work too. Some of my favorite dialogue in this issue came from the spectacularly awkward, unmasked Rook Kast trying to salve the Pykes’ and Black Sun’s hurt feelings. She isn’t in the forefront in the rest of the story, but gets several important scenes.

Darth Sidious does less damage than I expected, and the final fight as a whole felt confined to a small physical space. However, the ending is tense and dramatic, partially because it moves so fast. On a whole, the comic really settled into the scenes while still keeping up a lot of momentum.

We don’t learn as much about Maul’s personality in this issue, but that work has already been done in issue #3. Any unresolved questions at the ending can be attributed to the nature of that ending, which I found to be preferable to the alternatives. Part of the finale is straight out of horror movies, although I couldn’t help but also be reminded of Mumm-Ra from Thundercats.

I have to wonder what this story would have looked like if it had been shown on The Clone Wars, and what is supposed to have happened to certain characters next in the Legends universe.

Overall, I highly recommend Son of Dathomir to Darth Maul fans - as well as to those interested in The Clone Wars and the more magical side of Star Wars.

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