Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the CGI show, not the 5-minute mini-episode cartoon series) was the only piece of the old Expanded Universe (EU) to be kept around when Disney decided to reboot the franchise’s continuity in April 2014. The show had a good run but did end a bit prematurely. The show’s premature cancelation did, unfortunately, leave several plotlines unfinished. Luckily, the new EU is making sure that some of those unfinished areas get wrapped up. This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for readers who are not up-to-date on The Clone Wars.
For those of you who just want to read this book without having to watch a bunch of Clone Wars episodes, here is a brief recap. Following his defeat by Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of Episode I, Darth Maul survived being cut in half. Exiling himself to a garbage dump planet, Maul replaced his missing appendages with robotic spider-legs (seriously, this is what happens) and went insane with thoughts of extracting revenge against Obi-Wan and the rest of the Jedi. There he was found by his long-lost brother Savage Opress (again, not making this up) and taken to the Witches of Dathomir. Using magic, the lead Witch restored his mind and reworked his legs into a bipedal form.
Maul was quick to begin his revenge, bribing/uniting the various criminal factions running rampant due to the war into a group called the Shadow Collective. In the process, he killed the leader of Death Watch, a rogue group of Mandalorians, and used his new leadership to assassinate the Duchess of Mandalore, who was a friend of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Shortly thereafter, Darth Sidious (Maul’s former Sith master) confronted and defeated Maul, taking him captive and killing Savage Opress in the process. This was the last we see of Maul in the television show.
Now, we can finally talk about the book itself. This story was not written off the top of author Jeremy Barlow’s head; it was adapted from an unused script that would have been included in a new season of The Clone Wars had the show not been canceled. Like many things Star Wars, the overall plot of this book is not that important to the series as a whole. The major events of the franchise are, at least for now, more or less confined to the films. This book is more about the characters and allows them to be fleshed out beyond what the limited screen time of the movies allows.
Darth Maul is a big fan favorite character, being one of the few actually entertaining things in Episode I. Comparing this story, as a graphic novel, to the EU books is difficult and it does come off differently from a straight up novel. Because of its short length and the use of pictures, as well as the script it was adapted from, Son of Dathomir feels more like an episode of The Clone Wars than a novel. It is a fast-paced, but well told, story that reverberates the fact that Darth Maul is a badass. This book was a quick read but also a very enjoyable one. Anyone who liked The Clone Wars show will be happy to give this book a gander as well.
Next week we will take a look at the book Dark Disciple, which wraps up the story of assassin-turned-bounty hunter Asajj Ventress and reintroduces Quinlan Vos, a fan favorite character from the old EU, to the canon Star Wars universe.