Comic Book Review: Star Wars: Darth Maul – Death Sentence

Darth Maul Death Sentence Tom Taylor Comic Book Review: Star Wars: Darth Maul – Death Sentence Darth Mauls return to the Star Wars universe was met with much controversy. The character had other actually come back a few times in the EU. Once as a clone who fought Darth Vader to the death because he saw him as an unworthy Sith Lord. Once as a personality PROXY used to fight his master Starkiller in FU1. But his return in Clone Wars Season 4 was the first time the original Maul from Phantom Menace would be coming back in a canon story. I personally had the same thought process as when Jason Todd came back. If they manage to tell good stories with the character, I don’t care if they way he was brought was contrived or stupid (like the Super Boy punch).

This particular story takes the Darth Maul of Phantom Menace, who was pretty much a blank slate in terms of personality. Does some genuinely interesting things with him, makes him a three dimensional character and shows just how much of a badass he truly is. While it does falter in some areas and have some weird character choices and art. It is a great character study of Darth Maul and his relationships with people like his brother Savage Opress and his arch nemesis Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The story takes place shortly after Maul and Savage had their first encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi in the finale of Season 4. During the brief time skip, the brothers have gone on a rampage across the galaxy, cutting down Jedi and anyone else who stands in their way. During one of these assaults, an important business partner of the corporate leader, Ja’Boag, is killed. Fearing that more of his associates may fall to the Sith brothers he issues a considerable bounty on their heads.

The Jedi Council also takes notice of this an they assign Jedi  Masters Salmara, her apprentice Dray and Master Judd to protect Ja’Boag as he is a vital ally of the Republic. Maul and Savage discovers where he is and this leads to an inevitable battle between the Force users.

dm6 665x1024 Comic Book Review: Star Wars: Darth Maul – Death Sentence As the title suggests, Maul is the primary focus of the entire story which is a good and bad thing. The reason why this is good is because we finally see how the true apprentice of Sidious operates and how he thinks. While Vader and Dooku were his apprentices as well, he didn’t train either of them and mostly let them operate however they wanted.

Maul was trained since he was a small child by Sidious. He was raised by the most evil and powerful Sith lord of all time for many, many years and unlike his successors, he was a true Sith, not a fallen Jedi like Vader or Dooku. His fighting style is brutal, his use of mind trick and Force powers is devastating but his greatest power is his skill at manipulating people.

The mining world on which Ja’Boag has decided to fortify himself in has population of primitive natives who he abuses for his own purposes. The natives have this prophecy where a demon shall come to their world and strike Ja’Boag down. They believe this demon is Maul and he immediately creates an ingenious scheme to get his brother Savage back from the Jedi.

I really don’t want to tell you what he has planned or how he pulls it off because that’s half the fun of reading this mini series. You’re constantly wonder what’s he gonna do next?! It keeps you on the edge of your seat and not since Vaas from Far Cry 3 have I seen a villain that just kept me guessing all the way through.

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Another highlight of the mini is seeing how Maul feels about recent events and his past. Following a nasty injury given to him by Dray, Maul falls into a trance where he comes face to face with his old self and Obi-Wan. We get a fantastic bit where Mauls broken down old self tells him he’s just a shadow of his former self and the shame of his defeat will never fade. Then we see his fear of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the man who took away everything from him 10 years ago. He took away his legs, his place as the apprentice of Sidious and in general ruined his life.

No matter how much he hates Obi-Wan, deep down he secretly fears him and I just found that incredibly fascinating. It perfectly shows us that no matter how invincible a Sith lord wants to appear on the outside; they are still some what human and can have very human reactions to things.

So, everything Darth Maul related is fantastic but the overwhelming focus on him makes every other character feel either very cliché, a means to an end or a plot device. Characters being means to an end works because on some level because it’s how Maul operates as he’s willing to do what ever it takes to accomplish his goals. It enhances his character but it also makes the story suffer.

Ja’Boag is your classic scumbag corporate asshole who abuses the weak to fill his own wallet, weve never seen that before am I right? Jedi Master Salmara is your classic honorable, stoic Jedi Knight who follows what ever order the Council gives her. The one character who I found very enjoyable, and I think you will too is Master Judd.

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Im not gonna lie, Judd is a pretty awesome dude. Imagine if Spider-Man was a space dog type thing and was a Jedi Knight. The guy isn’t afraid to speak his mind and he talks some serious shit while fighting. In fact he helps keep the running gag going about Maul being cut in half which is again a good and bad thing.

It’s good because it leads to some really funny dialogue between Maul and the Jedi. They constantly comment on the fact about him being cut in half and Judd makes fun of him because of it. But they bring it up enough to make you question…. How the hell did he survive being cut in half?!

I gave the writer too much credit as I was hoping he would explain it in some way because a lot of people don’t understand it but sadly he didn’t. Sure hardcore Star Wars nerds like me are going to understand why but the regular audience wont. So now it falls on me to explain it too you.


Maul is a Zabrak. A humanoid species recognizable for their horned heads but renowned for their insane tolerance for pain. This immediately gives him an in born ability to suffer crippling injuries without it killing him. He has also spent much of his apprenticeship improving his ability to tolerate pain so much so that he once took a gargantuan barrage of Force Lightning head on and shrugged it off without it affecting him at all.

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The only time this guy ever flinched was when Obi-Wan cut him in half! That brings me to my next point, the properties of the lightsaber. The lightsaber is a double edged sword. It can cut through almost every material in the universe but it also cauterizes the wound upon inflicting the injury. That’s why you never see anyone bleed when they’re cut by a lightsaber.

The final reason is his anger, Sith have been able to survive many crippling injuries thanks to their sheer will power and pure rage. Darth Malgus for example was buried under an entire mountain, an upon burying his ass out of it he fought several Jedi and managed to defeat them despite almost every bone in his body being destroyed AND upon recovering it didn’t impair his abilities at all. Quite the opposite, it actually made him stronger.

Want a less obscure character as an example, okay, how about Darth Vader. This guy had all of his limbs cut off, had what was left of his body burned which melted his ear tubes and destroyed his lungs. Only his hatred for Obi-Wan allowed him to not die instantly from such injuries.

To further prove my point, Vader and Malgus were both nothing but ordinary humans! They didn’t have Mauls natural tolerance for pain and they suffered WAY worse injuries then him. When you compare the injuries of Vader, Malgus to Mauls, his just completely pales in comparison. What they all have in common is that their pure anger and need for revenge allowed them to survive crippling injuries that would destroy lesser beings. THAT is the power of the dark side.

So I hope this segment actually cleared things up for you guys and hopefully gave you more insight into Star Wars and how it works, and yes, im a total nerd.


Let’s get back to the review. The natives are also quite cliché as they’re the standard oppressed primitive people that are nice and have prophecies of a Jesus like figure saving them and so on. Although when Maul begins training them as his own personal army, it does lead to a fantastic scene with him and two brothers. I won’t say what happens but its pretty damn cool.

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Then we have Dray. First of all, why is he even on the mission? Reading his dialogue with his teacher Salmara indicates that he’s about 8 or 9 years old, again why bring him on a dangerous mission like this? They know Maul and Savage are a serious threat as they’ve killed several Jedi already. Why bring a little boy into it when he’s clearly not ready for this kind of battle.

He even gets both his arms cut off by Maul which just makes me wonder is he even there? He’s a one dimensional character that really serves no purpose at all in the grander plot, he easily could have been cut out entirely and it would have made my overall impressions better.

Savage is barely in the book and when he is, he just acts like Mauls personal body guard. There’s a hint of Maul actually caring about his brother by the end and I wish that was a big theme of the story. But sadly its not and Savage ends up being a plot device for Maul to raise and army and do all the things he does in the book.

Obi-Wan also shows up and while there’s a fantastic scene between his Clones and the natives. Again he serves no real purpose here and they easily could have had the Clones already stationed there. The ending is also very predictable, it wasn’t particularly exciting but at least it explained how Maul was able to get the pirates to work for him in Season 5.

Finally we have the art and it was pretty good most of the time. The action scenes were grand and they easily could have been in a film. The panel lay out frequently showed characters doing minor things and it reminded me of the Samurai Jack cartoon at times because of that.

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However the art sometimes fails to properly show what characters feel/think. Some of Mauls faces during conversations are down right laughable and when Dray gets both his arms cut off, he’s just like eh, no big deal.

This mini series is a tough one for me to rate. It does many, many things right but it also gets some key things wrong. If you like a story where the protagonist is well developed but the side characters really don’t matter all that much or if you like stories where the Sith absolutely dominate, then pick this one up.

But many of you will find everyone else (except Maul) woefully underdeveloped and while the action scenes and Maul stuff is all great. Many of you will feel the complete and utter focus on a singular character robs everyone else from having any sort of personality and almost every other character will come off as a cliché or plot device to get Maul & Savage where they need to be for Season 5.




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