By Jeremy Barlow, Juan Frigeri, & Wes Dzioba
If ever there were a Star Wars character that deserved his own comic series, it’s Darth Maul. He’s been a fan-favorite since his epic battle in the conclusion of The Phantom Menace and has only grown in popularity since. The collaboration of writer Jeremy Barlow and artist Juan Frigeri do the Sith justice by returning him to the media of comics. Both the writing and the illustrations capture the look and feel of the Star Wars universe perfectly. Darth Maul: Son Of Dathomir gives its readers the impression that it has stepped right out of the movies. Everywhere from Frigeri’s character designs, Wes Dzioba’s vibrant colors, and Barlow’s dialogue replicates the feel of the movies flawlessly. Barlow even manages to slip in a little bit of classic Droid humor as seen in the prequels.
This first installment had a of of positive aspects going for it with very few negative factors weighing it down. One drawback in particular was the lack of dialogue and explanation throughout the entire story. Yes, there was a foreword at the beginning and yes, this issue was very action-oriented, but by the end its quite noticeable that the plot wasn’t advanced as much as it could have been. Although the plot and character development was lacking, there was no shortage of action. From Darth Maul’s escape from imprisonment to his showdown with General Grievous, the book’s creators do a great job of recreating the classic Star Wars action we all know and love. The individual action scenes did feel a tad rushed but it was necessary if they wanted to have as many different fights as they did.
In terms of what is left to be desired for further stories, the first issue has a low number of cliff hangers and hints to further plots. The only mystery, mentioned several times, is the witch, Talzin, and her mysterious connection to Darth Maul, which will surely be explained later in the series.
While this particular issue want perfect, it had a lot of elements that made it a good read. Fans of the prequel trilogies and fans of the Star wars comics will enjoy this story as it looks to expand on Darth Maul’s character, something we’ve seen little of. Fans will enjoy the recognizable imagery that comes with the series and most should enjoy a story focusing almost entirely on Darth Maul himself. This book is just more of the proof that some of the best Star Wars books focus on the villains, and what better villain to devote an entire series to than Darth Maul?
Barlow has written a fairly good issue that (if read aloud) certainly sounds like a Star Wars adventure, although focusing more on story-building than action scenes may be beneficial in the future. Frigeri’s art and Dzioba’s colors were certainly some of the book’s highlights as they add a sense of familiarity that helps to easily ease this series into the larger Star wars lore. Hopefully this is not the last Star Wars series published by Dark Horse but if it is, it wouldn’t be a bad one to end on.