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March 10, 2013 / minusbar

Book Review: Darth Maul: Death Sentence, by Tom Taylor

Book Review: “Darth Maul: Death Sentence” by Tom Taylor

This book is far from bad, but after strong Star Wars graphic novel entries like Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison, this one just felt a little underwhelming. Perhaps the bar was raised a bit too high, too fast. It’s also possible that the immortalized clout and villainy of Maul is just too great for any writer to live up to. It was certainly not a waste of my time to read, but I’ll not be rushing to buy this one either.

“Fearsome Sith Lord Darth Maul, rescued and restored after surviving his confrontation with Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace, wreaks havoc through the galaxy with his brother Savage Opress! When the brothers’ murderous rampage through the Outer Rim is interrupted by a bounty placed on their heads by Ja’Boag, a wealthy mining magnate, the duo decides to target him – only to be met by a team of Jedi and Ja’Boag’s own private army! This would be the break the Jedi have been hoping for, if it weren’t for the fact that Ja’Boag’s ruthless oppression of the native population has given Darth Maul an army of his own!”

I’ve come to expect nothing less than superb artwork from Darkhorse Comics, and they never cease to deliver. The artwork is definitely the strong suite of this graphic novel. We get some very cool fights and I enjoyed seeing Maul making use of his robotic legs in high resolution bone crushing awesomeness. The thing I most enjoy about these comics is the ability the artists have to render a far darker character than live action really can. I mean common, compare this cover picture of Maul to the face of the actor. Both are awesome, but the only one who truly invokes Sith fear is the animated rendering with his face distorted with hatred and suffering.

The story seemed to be a typical Clone Wars animated movie’s worth of substance. That’s not to bash the show at all, as I love it and watch almost every episode I can, but I expect a little more from these types of novels. I want something deeper that might not be so easily rendered on the show, maybe a little darker or edgier. I’m an adult, and I feel like these graphic novels are where I turn for my adult content (No, not the graphic nature you might be thinking, you deviants, you!) Star Wars fix. I just like a bit more to the story than what can be explained in a couple sentences. For the sake of remaining spoiler free, I’ll not be doing that though.

Okay, despite my little rant about the lack of scope demonstrated in this story, I have to give credit to some good character development. Master Judd, a character who I had no knowledge of coming into this, was very fun to read about. His character offers a wide set of emotions that many Jedi’s fail to show. Also, he seemed to be more of a Knight class Jedi rather than one who relies too heavily on force powers during combat. You know what that means, right? Yep, he has some pretty cool fight scenes as well. Despite the title of this book being “Darth Maul – Death,” Judd definitely stole the show for me.

So lets see, how should I wrap this up… Is it good? Yes. Is it great? No. If you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan and a completionist, it’s not a waste to pick this one up. If you are more of a casual fan such as myself, I’d encourage you to save your money til this one goes down from the cover price or something truly exceptional comes out. I only say this because Dark Horse has a lot of truly exceptional comics that are worth far and beyond what they charge.

This book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks,
Roger Bellini

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