Darth Maul inspires an army while Savage Opress just stands around… in carbonite in this week’s Star Wars comic: Darth Maul – Death Sentence. Do the Jedi stand a chance on the Day of the Three Suns?
Tom Taylor continues the action-packed tale of the vengeance-hungry Darth Maul on the run in issue #3 of Star Wars: Darth Maul – Death Sentence (DarkHorse.com profile). In his most recent encounter with the Jedi on his trail, Maul has sustained some injuries, while his brother, Savage Opress, has been frozen in carbonite and remains a captive. Nursed back into health by the displaced natives on Moorjhone, Maul finds himself the center of their prophecy as the leader who will guide them to victory and return them into the caves for shelter during the scorching of the planet on the Day of the Three Suns. Meanwhile the Jedi, with their own casualties, investigate the mine owner, Ja’boag, for why he put a bounty on the Sith boys, and his relationship with the natives. Spoilers ahead!
Remember those movie sports training montages (or army training montages, like from Mulan) – now imagine that if Darth Maul was your coach or general. Not exactly Mr. Miyagi. But Maul whips the Moorjhoni into a force whose sole advantage is numbers against Ja’Boag’s high tech army, and challenges them to use their anger. The Jedi call Coruscant to send reinforcements to help get the Moorjhoni into the mines and safety from the oncoming planetary alignment that threatens to burn all life on the surface. But when General Kenobi and the clonetroopers arrive to put a stop to Maul’s assault on the mine entrance, Kenobi is powerless to stop the troopers when Maul provokes them into battle against his own army… while the Darth Maul, Demon in the Light, slips into the mine to rescue his ornamental brother.
While Darth Maul is seen as a hero of prophecy at first by the cat-people of Moorjhon, he is no savior for them – as a proper Sith, Maul sadistically exploits them to further his own aims, and only too late do they realize that their Demon in the Light is still a demon in their midst. While Maul is not a character of humor, Taylor builds in some humor in the scenes with the greedy Ja’Boag interacting with Masters Judd and Salmara. But the focus of this issue is an army unleashed. Plenty of action here, both in the training of the Moorjhoni, and in the battle at the mine entrance. Darth Maul gets an epic moment here, throwing a spear up into the clone army on the cliff above, felling a single trooper, and provoking a massive retaliation. Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo capture that series of moments superbly, in a series of slow motion beats, as everyone realizes what is happening, and what their response should be. A well scripted and well drawn scene that caps off a great issue. Bruno Redondo and colorist Michael Atiyeh have some other evocative panels elsewhere: the final scene of the army training, leaving a grim lesson learned and a Zabrak grinning, and another shot of a smirking Ja’Boag.
Darth Maul has gone quite a ways from being the one man-wrecking machine of his pre-bisection days. It’s one thing to single-handedly wade through an entire crime syndicate, and another to turn a driven but primitive people into an overwhelming army – and then instigate their annihilation just as cover. Let’s hope that Savage is grateful to his brother for the rescue attempt. Thumbs up!
And that cover by Dave Dorman, with Darth Maul facing his frozen brother. Awesome. Probably my favorite from this series so far.