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Star Wars: Darth Maul – Death Sentence #4 Review

4 min read

Death is taking the field with only the matter of whom and how many it collects on its path to be decided.

What They Say:
As more Jedi—Obi-Wan included!—and clone trooper reinforcements arrive to take Savage Opress and the crooked mine owner into custody, Darth Maul convinces the locals that the Jedi are in league with the mine owner who exploited them.

If the Jedi fight the natives, they’ll be killing innocents. If they don’t, they’ll be killed themselves! It’s the perfect distraction for Maul to find and release his brother!

The Review: (please note that content portions of review may contain spoilers)
Darth Maul’s plan has been pulled off to a complete success as the Moorjhoni forces he lead to the mines are proving to be the distraction that he intended them to be (even if the opponent is slightly different) as he manipulates them and Obi-Wan’s Clone army into combat outside the entrance providing him cover to sneak in and free his brother. Meanwhile a cornered Ja’boag makes a move to seal the entrance it is going to take the combined might of two Jedi to try to get everyone out alive- and even when one of those Jedi is the celebrated Obi-Wan they still may not be enough.

While that is going on Darth Maul hunts the caves to discover his prey as his malevolent scheme to get Ja’Bong and rescue his brother are fluid enough to be able to take a moment’s pause and dispatch any Jedi or Padawan that might stand in his way. But is it possible that even with everything going his way that Darth Maul may find that his plan turns from triumph into bad comedy with the simplest of words, and will Maul be able to taste anything resembling the fruits of victory or will he only know the taste of ash from a greater defeat in the truth behind those words?

Death Sentence concludes with an issue that feels like the comic is coming full circle after a pair of good to great issues to end up almost back where the events began in terms of standing with the greater Star Wars universe. In fairness to the book this was probably inevitable given the nature of the license and the inability for a comic series to completely shake things up though the second volume sure made it seem possible and the third strung out the hope a bit before the final book just sadly reveals the limitations of what could be done given the set up. The issue feels chaotic and not in a good, midst of a well built cascade of combat events way but more of one that knows where it has to finish up the story now and unfortunately it had already expended most of its energy and unique ideas.

While it isn’t bad exactly the story feels rushed and the moments that should be shocking and powerful just aren’t, in part due to a failure of the series to adequately develop its unique characters enough to make the danger to them resonate and that absence undercuts some of the impact that a number of scenes should have had. Beyond that though the introduction of Obi-Wan to this series served neither him nor the story itself all that well as his almost complete lack of a discernible presence during the events feels like a cameo to please fans of the franchise and play into what looks to be a major showdown somewhere down the line (likely in The Clone Wars Animated Series) and less than as a truly meaningful or organic paying off for this tale. This leaves a measure of frustration hanging above the series as the moments of brilliance seem dulled by an end that appears to be merely going through the motions it must that were dictated by the constraints of the series length and license limitations. While this issue doesn’t negate the journey so far it sure underscores the idea that the destination may not be half as much fun as getting there and one can’t help but wonder if a longer run of issues might not have been useful to alleviate- or at least cover up to an extent- some of the flaws exposed at the end.

In Summary:
Darth Maul-Death Sentence goes out far closer to a whimper than the bang that the previous two issues looked to be building toward as Darth Maul’s manipulations and gambits have paid off with his various enemies and pawns dancing as if in the palm of his hand which grants him easy passage to attempt to achieve his goal. With the world about to burn and a prophecy still to be fulfilled will Darth Maul be able to achieve his ultimate victory or will that prize slip tantalizingly out of his hand. With one last scene before the curtain drops on this performance the final issue may leave readers’ longing for the buildup that was constructed along the way rather than the finished edifice that lies before them.

Grade: C+

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