Written By: Tom Taylor
Art By: Bruno Redondo
Colors By: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering By: Michael Heisler
Cover Art By: Dave Dorman
As we eagerly await the premiere of “The Clone Wars” season 5, which will kick off with a Darth Maul story, Dark Horse Comics has giving us Clone Wars fans something to hold us over until then with a new comic mini series titled, “Darth Maul: Death Sentence.”
The story of this mini series takes place soon after the events of the season 4 finale, where it’s revealed that Darth Maul and Savage Opress are traveling across the outer Rim in search of wealth so they can establish their own army, but have attracted the attention of some bounty hunters, as well as the Jedi. While I thought this first issue had a pretty generic plot about bounty hunters searching for both Maul and Opress, and then in turn they later go after the man who put the bounty on them, “Darth Maul: Death Sentence” definitely delivered on providing some cool Darth Maul and Savage Opress action!
Right away the issue starts off with a great action sequence in the first few pages, as we see Maul and Opress hiding out in a cantina on the forest planet of Paklan, where a group of bounty hunters are attempting to collect the bounty that was placed on them by a character named Ja’Boag, who’s the leader of a large commercial mining company. Maul and Opress waste no time in showing these bounty hunters how ruthless they are, as they force choke and slice away several bounty hunters with their lightsabers before interrogating their leader to find out who placed the bounty on them, in what was a really cool interrogation by lightsaber sequence.This opening sequence did a great job of showing the kind of action you would expect to see from Maul and Opress with some really cool panels, and writer Tom Taylor perfectly captures the hatred and ruthlessness Darth Maul has throughout the whole issue.
This bounty placed on Maul and Opress gets the attention of the Jedi order, and they quickly send two Jedi and a Padawan to investigate why Ja’Boag wants them dead. This series introduces three new Jedi in masters Salmara and Judd, and Padawan Dray. While it is cool to see new Jedi introduced, I would rather have seen some Jedi we are already familiar with from the movies and T.V. show investigate this situation with Darth Maul, since it will undoubtedly end with them fighting each other, and I would love to see Maul take on as many Jedi we know and love besides Obi Wan. There is also a sequence with Jedi Salmara and her Padawan that I felt was a bit unnecessary, as they talk about what happened to Maul in “The Phantom Menace,” and she tells her Padawan how he survived through his hate. While I can see the need to explain how he survived being chopped in half in case some readers haven’t seen those “Clone Wars” episodes, I felt it was unnecessary to explain and show what happened to Maul in “The Phantom Menace,” as I’m sure everyone reading this issue knows what happened to Darth Maul in the movie.
The last portion of this first issue takes place on the planet Moorjhone, where Darth Maul and Savage Opress have found Ja’Boag, and discover he has an army. I really liked the dialogue Maul and Opress have with each other here, as Savage questions Maul’s actions to take down Ja’Boag head on, when the Sith way is to remain in hiding. Maul wonders if Savage is displaying weakness, and goes on to tell him that he is expecting the Jedi to strike them, but does not want this “annoyance,” as he calls it, to interfere with that. I thought it was great how Maul mentioned here how he’s prepared for the Jedi to strike, which goes back to what he said in the season 4 finale, when he tells Savage he’s counting on the Jedi finding them. Reading that just makes me excited to see what he has in store for the Jedi not only in this comic series, but also in future Clone Wars episodes!
This issue ends with another great action sequence, as we see Maul and Opress take out Ja’Boag’s army with confusion, fear, and chaos. All ways of the Sith, which was cool to see be put into action by both Maul and Opress. I really loved the last shot of this issue, as the Jedi make their presence known to the Sith by saving Ja’Boag, and Maul just has this evil smile on his face as he just says, “Jedi.” No doubt setting up a Jedi Vs. Sith lightsaber duel in the next issue, which I’m definitely looking forward to seeing!
“Darth Maul: Death Sentence” #1 was definitely a fun read, especially for Darth Maul and Savage Opress fans. While I thought the basic plot for this issue was pretty generic, and hope it get’s more interesting in the upcoming issues, I loved the scenes with Darth Maul and Savage Opress, and thought writer Tom Taylor handled the characters great. The action sequences were definitely the best parts of the comic, and while the art wasn’t the greatest throughout the whole issue, Maul and Opress looked great, and the action sequences were all well done. So overall, anyone wanting to see more of Darth Maul and Savage Opress before the start of season 5 should definitely pick up this book, as it’s shaping up to be a fun read that should hold us over until the season 5 premiere.