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Comic Book / Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir

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Due to its nature as a sequel, any spoilers regarding the first six seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be left unmarked.

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir is a four-issue limited comic book series based on an unused story arc in Star Wars: The Clone Wars due to the cancellation of the series. Originally released as separate issues, it was later reprinted as a full graphic novel. It revolves around the titular Dathomirian Zabrak, whose story arc was Left Hanging.

Following Darth Maul's coup on Mandalore and his failed attempt to form an alliance with Darth Sidious that ultimately resulted in the death of his brother Savage Opress, Darth Maul is now a prisoner of the Separatists. Sidious still apparently had plans for his former apprentice, leaving Darth Maul to be imprisoned within "The Spire" on the frigid planet of Stygeon Prime, interrogated by Sidious's new apprentice, Darth Tyrannus (Count Dooku). When the Count takes a reprieve in torturing Maul, two soldiers from the Mandalorian terrorist group Death Watch bust Darth Maul out of prison, giving the Sith Lord the perfect opportunity to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge...

While the revival season for The Clone Wars did not adapt this story, Maul's story later continued in Star Wars Rebels in stories set over a decade after the conflict ended, with Maul's role at the end of the Clone Wars revealed through flashback sequences in the Star Wars: Ahsoka book. Those events were subsequently adapted and reconfigured with the seventh and final season of The Clone Wars, but not before Solo revealed what the character was up to in the long gap between the end of The Clone Wars and his return in Rebels.

Son of Dathomir also holds the distinction of being the last Star Wars title published by longtime publisher Dark Horse Comics before the publishing rights went back to Marvel Comics at end of 2014. In accordance with Disney's decision to reboot the Star Wars Expanded Universe, it was also the only Dark Horse story that had the distinction of being canonical — at least until Dark Horse regained the license to be the secondary publisher of Star Wars comics in 2021, publishing stories tied to the Disney-original Star Wars: The High Republic line and more.

Son Of Dathomir contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Given the way Sidious raised Maul, it's not hard to see why the Zabrak turned out the way he did.
  • Back for the Dead: Jedi Master Tiplee, who first appeared in The Clone Wars, dies in the third issue of this comic book series (which is her second appearance in the Star Wars canon).
  • Badass Army: The Death Watch soldiers repeatedly prove their worth. Also the Nightbrothers, who managed to hold their own against Dooku in melee combat, while the Shadow Collective and the Death Watch held up the Separatist droids.
  • Badass Boast: General Grevious in response to Maul commenting on how a new power will rise from Dooku's blood:
    Blood is about to spill all right, yours!
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Grievous of all characters saves the day when during the force battle between Sidious and Dooku vs. Talzin and Maul he delivers a decisive blow against her, defeating Talzin for good.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: A given, but it's the greater evil of Darth Sidious who comes out ahead, achieving his goal of eliminating Talzin and further reducing Maul as threats to his plans.
  • Beam-O-War: Talzin and Sidious engage in a Force-lightning contest, into which Dooku directly, and Maul by transferring his own power to Talzin, eventually joined in. Talzin starts losing and pushes Maul away so that he might at least live.
  • Berserk Button: The mere sight of Darth Tyrannus is enough to piss Darth Maul off, who considers the newer apprentice to be a pretender.
  • Big Bad: Darth Sidious gets more directly involved as a villain in this storyline than he did in most of The Clone Wars, where he mainly operated from the shadows, as The Man Behind the Man for Dooku.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: It's revealed that Sidious once approached Talzin and offered her an alliance to take over the Galaxy, in which she would've been his right-hand. As one would expect it didn't last long, because Sidious soon after betrayed Talzin and took Maul from her.
  • Big "NO!": Darth Maul when Grievous kills Talzin.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Given that the story doesn't have to conform to the comic equivalent of the TV-PG rating that The Clone Wars had, they were able to push through more graphic violence than the installment could. Notably, Grievous is shown to kill several Mandalorians with his claws, which end up covered in blood.
  • Broad Strokes: Became this after the release of Clone Wars' seventh season. Maul's rescue is retained, but the Pykes and Black Sun are still part of the Collective, unlike in the comic.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The Shadow Collective considers Maul's idea of fighting the Separatists to be this. He argues they are spread too thin fighting the Republic to bring enough power to defeat them. He's dead wrong.
  • Cardboard Prison: The Spire is supposedly a particularly nasty prison made with the intent to keep Force-sensitives in captivity. It didn't take two pages for the Death Watch to bust Maul out. Subverted however in that, Sidious always meant to let Maul escape, so that he'd lead Dooku and Grievous to Mother Talzin.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Maul and Talzin warn Dooku that, like them, he's just another Unwitting Pawn to Sidious who will be disposed of, which comes to pass in Revenge of the Sith.
    • Several elements from Star Wars Rebels appear in the comic;
      • One of Maul's Mandalorian lieutenants is Commander Gar Saxon, the main Mandalorian antagonist in season 3.
      • Maul is imprisoned in the Spire on Stygeon Prime, just like Luminara Unduli in Rise of the Old Masters.
    • Conversely, Maul imprisons Dooku and Grievous in the same asteroid base he'll use as a safehouse in The Holocrons of Fate.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Both Talzin and Maul points out Sidious's tendency to betray and abandon his allies to Dooku.
  • Co-Dragons:
    • Maul has two main Mandalorians backing him up; Rook Kast and Gar Saxon.
    • As per usual Sidious has Count Dooku and Grievous hunting down Maul and Talzin for him.
  • Covers Always Lie: While the first through third issues of the comic book series do not invoke this trope, the cover of the fourth and final issue features Maul wielding a double-bladed saber powered by spirit ichor. The saber never appears in any of the issues, let alone the fourth.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Count Dooku delivers one against the Nightbrothers and is barely touched by the end of the fight. Sidious later dishes one out against Talzin in Dooku's body, deriding her as having Dooku's body but none of his skills as he forces her out.
  • Downer Ending: Being a mostly Evil vs. Evil tale, it's inevitable that however the story ends, it spells ill for the Republic. The entire affair ends with Maul's efforts to resurrect Talzin only ending with her having to pull a Heroic Sacrifice so he can escape, and most of his power base among the criminal groups eventually splintering due to being attacked on multiple fronts by Separatists and Jedi.
  • Enemy Mine: Maul and Dooku briefly team up to fight off the Jedi and clones who break into Maul's hideout.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: After Maul and Dooku’s Enemy Mine, Mace Windu suggests that Dooku is the Sith Master the Jedi have been searching for since the Naboo crisis, and Maul is his apprentice. In a moment laced with Dramatic Irony, the one Windu proposes this theory to is Palpatine.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Maul and Talzin are both shown to deeply care for each other.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Maul, Talzin, the Shadow Collective and the Nightbrothers fighting against Dooku, Grievous and the droid armies in a gambit to lure out Sidious.
  • Eviler than Thou: Once again Sidious pulls this on Maul at every level. He leaves him Out-Gambitted by the end, his forces overwhelmed the Shadow Collective, and he succeeds in ensuring Talzin's death.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy:
    • Sidious warns Maul to be careful, because revenge is a dangerous game, and Maul doesn't seem to have much luck with it.
    • Talzin cautions Dooku against trusting Sidious's promises of power, knowing it from first hand, that Sidious would betray and/or discard anyone he doesn't need any longer.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: Darth Maul's capture apparently left a power vacuum in the Shadow Collective, and as a result, the allied crime syndicates decided to take advantage of his absence. For starters, the Hutts - who were strong-armed into joining in the first place - jumped ship almost as soon as he was captured, and according to the first half of Dark Disciple (the first half taking place before this comic), Black Sun and the Pykes got into a merger dispute that involved the former taking the leader of the latter's family hostage and only started getting along again as soon as Maul was freed (and he probably would not be pleased with the infighting). When Maul decides to make enemies out of the Separatists (a major galactic superpower in the Clone Wars that has far more resources at their disposal than the Collective) and his forces are almost massacred at Ord Mantell, the crime bosses start doubting that Maul's mad quest for vengeance is worth getting paid for. When they are outmatched by the Separatists on three different fronts, they too jump ship rather than be slaughtered, seeing the Shadow Collective as a lost cause, and Maul's only remaining allies are Proud Warrior Race Guys that operate on Asskicking Leads to Leadership.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When Dooku confronted Maul in prison, Maul told him that he had heard much of the Jedi traitor, and he was expecting more from him.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • The fact that Darth Maul doesn't ultimately defeat Darth Sidious should be clear, given that the latter will become Emperor.
    • Also, anyone who has watched Rebels were able to figure out that based on the fact that the crew behind The Clone Wars had plans for Darth Maul in a hypothetical seventh season of the installment, it was safe to presume that he made it out of all this alive.
    • Anyone who has watched Revenge of the Sith knows that Sidious, Dooku, and Grievous will survive the events of this series.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jedi Master Tiplee, by Dooku. Also Mother Talzin's final fate, courtesy of General Grievous.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When the Separatists launch a full scale invasion of all three of the Shadow Collective's safeworlds at the same time, the Pykes and Black Sun decide to call it quits and flee.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: In the third issue, it is revealed that Darth Maul is Mother Talzin's son.
  • Mama Bear: Talzin sacrificed herself to allow Maul to escape.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: The Shadow Collective's climb to being one is deconstructed here. With a large chunk of its forces being made up of crime syndicates that were already considered NGO Superpowers individually, said syndicates weren't all that loyal to begin with and only joined because they were either strong-armed and/or promised wealth. As soon as Maul was captured, the Hutts immediately broke off. Once Maul starts butting heads with the Separatist Alliance (one of the actual superpowers during the Clone War with a fully-established army) in his quest for revenge against Sidious, the Black Sun and Pyke Syndicates start to have doubts and think Maul may be in over his head. The Separatists send attack forces to the Collective's strongholds and prove to be too much for the Collective to handle, and Black Sun and the Pykes decide to call quits.
  • Not Worth Killing: Sidious considers Maul to be this by the end, believing him to be no threat without Talzin.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When the Lord of the Sith, his apprentice, and his top general are in the field working to bring down an enemy, it shows just how seriously they take said enemy.
  • Origins Episode: Part of the story explores Darth Maul's childhood and training.
  • Out-Gambitted: Talzin and Maul managed to - even if temporarily - beat Darth Sidious of all people, in his own game. Sidious planned to use Maul to draw Talzin out of hiding, so Dooku and Grievous could take care of both. Talzin fully expecting this, helped Maul lure Dooku and Grievous into a trap, which resulted in both of them being captured. Then it turns out, that even this was part of Sidious's plan.
  • Out of Focus: Obi-Wan, Mace Windu, Commander Cody, and a few other Jedi make a brief appearance when they try to ambush Maul and his prisoners at his asteroid hideout, but are not a part of the main story.
  • Pet the Dog: Kast, Saxon, and some of the supercommandos are loyal enough to Maul to show concern for him that may almost be genuine. For example, in the first issue, Saxon and Kast check and ask him if he's okay and able to move, and the both of them also make it clear to others that they fully believe in Maul. In the ending, Kast and another supercommando also hold Maul back from fighting Sidious and preventing Talzin's Heroic Sacrifice because it's too dangerous for him.
  • Revenge Before Reason: After breaking out of the Spire, Maul prepares for an immediate war against the Confederacy, even though his forces are scattered and vastly outnumbered. When it becomes clear he's only out for revenge, his criminal partners abandon the Shadow Collective to it's fate.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Hutts do this before the comic begins, ditching the Shadow Collective after Maul is defeated on Mandalore. The Black Sun and Pyke syndicates follow suit in issue 4, abandoning their posts rather than staying to fight the Separatist droid armies for an unprofitable cause.
  • Shame If Something Happened: After being captured by Maul, Grievous warns Dooku that it "would be a shame if he had to add the Count's lightsaber to his collection", before being taken away, leaving Maul and Dooku to "negotiate".
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Grievous admits that he and his droid army are in for a rough fight against Maul and the Shadow Collective.
  • Took a Level in Badass: General Grievous has slightly more success in dealing with Maul, both personally, and as a battle commander, than he usually has against Jedi and the Clone Army. He is also the one to deal the death blow to Mother Talzin, finishing what he started in the Clone Wars episode "Massacre".
  • Undying Loyalty: The Mandalorian Supercommandos, particularly Rook Kast, are among Maul's more fervently loyal allies (along with the Nightbrothers) due to him claiming the Mandalorian throne from Pre Vizsla. Even when the Shadow Collective's falling apart and the remaining two crime syndicates decide to desert (they're just mercenaries), the Mandalorians stay loyal, to the point that Kast actually threatens to hunt down and kill the Pykes' and Black Sun's leaders when they do.
  • Villain Protagonist: Darth Maul himself. Of course, he's also surrounded by supporting villains and Villain Antagonists.
  • Villain Team-Up: Maul and Talzin form an alliance with Dooku to bring down Sidious and the Jedi. Dooku, however, seems to be only drifting with the flow, since moments before he accepted the offer, he also set Grievous free, without Maul noticing anything.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Brother Viscus considered Dooku as such, who however rather easily subdued him.
    • Before they go into battle, Grievous warns his droid forces that the Mandalorians will be much tougher opponents than the clone troopers they are used to fighting.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Sidious' overarching plan turned out to be one. He sent an army to attack Maul and lure Talzin out to his defense, but on the off chance that failed, he had instructed Dooku and Grievous on back up plan for Maul to lead them to her hiding place, where he would deal with her himself.
  • You Have Failed Me: Upon learning that Maul managed to capture both Dooku and Grievous, Sidious simply left them to die, stating that he has no further use for them if they're this weak.