The Dark Side takes a break from in-fighting to repel the outside threat of the Jedi! At the end of the last issue, Maul appeared to have captured both Count Dooku and General Grievous, and now he's ready to dictate terms to Darth Sidious. But the Jedi might just get in the way of his plans. Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: Darth Maul - Son of Dathomir #3 ( profile).

Summary: With both Dooku and Grievous under his control, Maul tries to negotiate with Sidious, who would rather write off his minions than deal to get his pawns back. So Maul and Mother Talzin try to convince Dooku that switching sides is in his best interest, but during their talks, Republic forces led by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Tiplee arrive at the asteroid base, having traced the Mandalorians from the recent battle on Ord Mantell. With the Jedi closing in, Dooku decides to join Maul and the pair take the fight to the Jedi, now reinforced by Aayla Secura and Mace Windu. With Dooku's clandestine help, Grievous escapes in the commotion. Tiplee is killed, the bad guys escape, and the Jedi report to the Chancellor that that Dooku and Maul might be the Sith Lords they've been seeking out all this time - even if there's no answer to why they were previously fighting each other.

Review: With the style of this comic not like the style of the cartoon series, it might slip to the wayside that this is a continuation of the animated series - but then Tiplee's appearance brings it back together (She was seen in the season 6 story arc about Order 66). The conflict so far in this series has been among various dark side groups, but in this issue, the Jedi finally also get into the action, forcing Maul and Dooku into a quick alliance of survival, though it seems unlikely that Dooku is willing to betray his master, even if he does know deep in his heart that his master would dispose of him in a second if a better apprentice appeared. Not sure if bringing in the Jedi into this conflict is what this story needed, but it does push the plot into a new direction: misleading the Jedi into thinking that they've identified the Sith Lords behind everything. And that could have some interesting consequences. 

The writing by Jeremy Barlow works great - he must have had some tough choices in deciding what to cut to translate from tv script to comic book page, and the art captures the action well.  There's some good tension at the big revelation as Mother Talzin tells her side of the story of Sidious and Maul. I can hear Talzin's creepy voice as I read her words, and that's due to some great storytelling and artistry - with pencils by Juan Frigeri, inks by Mauro Vargas, colors by Wes Dzioba, and letters by Michael Heisler.

Beyond the pages with spectral Mother Talzin, some of my other favorite panels are of Grievous springing out of his jail cell and taking on the Mandalorians guarding him; and of course the battle between the Jedi and the Sith. Good stuff all around. Plus that cover by Chris Scalf: great likenesses and great lighting from the darksaber!

One more issue to go? Say it ain't so!

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Tags: Dark Horse Comics , Comics out today , jeremy barlow , Darth Maul , Juan Frigeri