A long time ago, a girl’s parents took her to see a science fiction film called Star Wars. On that day, she fell in love with all things Star Wars, even the extended universe that began with Timothy Zahn’s 1991 book, Heir to the Empire. But in 2012, Disney purchased Star Wars and proceeded to erase the majority of the extended universe she had come to know. With much of her Star Wars knowledge no longer applicable, she begins a journey through the new canon. Her goal – to travel the path of the new canon, experiencing as much of the new material in story order as best as she possibly can.
Star Wars: Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir is a four-issue comic book first published by Dark Horse in 2014. Written by Jeremy Barlow, with pencils by Juan Frigeri, inks by Mauro Vargas, and colors by Wes Dzioba, Son of Dathomir is based on unproduced scripts from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Dark Horse published a trade paperback in 2014; Marvel took control over this comic to make it part of the new canon. I read the digital version of the comics, which were made available on Amazon.com in November 2015.
First big point to make: the cool dude from The Phantom Menace is alive!
Second point: I have no idea how Darth Maul got from Naboo to a junk planet on the Outer Rim, but hey, he’s alive!
We learn Darth Maul is alive in season four of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Asajj Ventress, wanting vengeance on Count Dooku for trying to kill her, has Mother Talzin, the head witch of the Nightsisters, prepare a new apprentice for Dooku, one secretly programmed to obey Ventress. This new apprentice, Savage Opress, becomes strong in the dark side, so he resists Ventress and Dooku and flees back to Dathomir and Mother Talzin.
Mother Talzin gives Savage a magical amulet and tells him to find his brother, Maul. Savage finds Maul’s upper half attached to a mechanical spider type thing. Maul is on the verge of insanity because he has been in this state for over ten years. Savage rescues his brother, has artificial legs attached to Maul’s body, and helps Maul create the Shadow Collective, a crime organization comprised of members of the Mandalorian Death Watch, Black Sun, and Pykes.
The Nightbrothers are successful until Darth Sidious shows up. Sidious sensed the growing power of Darth Maul, and, according to the Sith Rule of Two, only two powerful Sith are allowed to be present in the galaxy at a time. Maul and Savage must die because Sidious does not want to replace Count Dooku. Sidious is surprisingly quick and nimble and easily kills Savage, but he has other plans for Maul.
I covered the material from The Clone Wars because the comic assumes you’ve seen the show, which is a weakness of the book.
The comic picks up after the events in The Clone Wars. Maul is Sidious’s prisoner, and the Sith Lord has a plan to use Maul to coerce Mother Talzin out from hiding so Sidious can settle an old score. Count Dooku thinks Mother Talzin was killed during the attack on Dathomir, one he ordered because of Savage’s betrayal and the involvement of Ventress and Mother Talzin. But Sidious knows better, and he’s right; Mother Talzin saved her spirit.
Mother Talzin possesses a vast amount of power, and Darth Maul plots to help his mother regain her physical form. Darth Sidious and Darth Maul try to outmaneuver each other, thinking each has the upper hand because they know each other’s tactics. Count Dooku and General Grievous try to destroy Maul’s Shadow Collective in hopes that he will run to Mommy, and he does run to Mommy, but Maul and Mother Talzin know Sidious is after them.
It’s great fun seeing Darth Maul in action. Maul understands how to accumulate power, but as Dooku points out, managing and maintaining power takes effort and patience, which are not Maul’s strongest qualities. Like many villains, Maul is guilty of monologuing and assuming Sith are eager to turn on each other. Maul contacts Sidious after he captures Dooku and Grievous; Sidious tells Maul he can kill both. Instead of killing his captives and striking a blow to Sidious’s plans, he offers Dooku a deal to strike down Sidious so they can be the two ruling Sith. Dooku plays along, but he reveals his true loyalties by freeing Grievous and by helping Sidious kill Mother Talzin in the final battle.
Darth Sidious is pleased. Mother Talzin is dead. Maul’s crime syndicate has collapsed. He believes Maul’s future has been erased.
Not so fast, Sidious. Maul escapes, giving him the opportunity to rise again and seek revenge.
Up next: Star Wars: Kanan – First Blood (comic)