It’s obvious why Marvel Comics is adapting Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn novel. Thrawn is logical, calm, collected, and extremely dangerous. He’s a calculating character that you don’t really see in Star Wars stories with most shooting first and thinking later (like Han Solo!). The first issue set things up well, but it was also a bit wordy and slow. You should always give comics at least two issues to get into gear and so, today, issue two drops.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
This series is the first that really digs into Empire politics from the perspective of generals. Through this series, we can see good people working for the Empire, not knowing it may be far more evil in its intentions. It’s also written by the wonderful Jody Houser and drawn by Luke Ross — an all-star duo, folks!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
She’s going to be trouble for Thrawn.
This issue is plotted extremely well and serves almost as a done in one, opening with key details about a robot Thrawn is interested in and closing out with his inevitable victory of logic. The conflict in this issue involves a ship that was attacked by pirates. Thrawn is either plotting in a meticulously controlled way or observing and using that information later. Houser and Ross, through tiny close-ups of Thrawn watching quietly, keep your attention as you try to think like Thrawn and see what Thrawn sees. Eventually, when he succeeds it’s rewarding to see how he did it.
By the end of the book, it’s clear Thrawn has a very clear path he’s traveling, though most can’t see it. Putting himself in a position to be tried for insubordination, for instance, brings his actions to the attention of higher ups. His assistant, Ensign Eli Vanto, continues to add value to the story as a good-hearted person who actually thinks members of the Empire are the good guys. He continues to live in Thrawn’s shadow, which Houser does well to build to what will eventually be a conflict of some sort.
Ross does a great job with this issue, from the pirate outfits to the ship interiors. The environments are detailed and the costumes natural fitting and cool (when they need to be). Given how much dialogue and character work there is, Ross keeps your attention with well-framed shots of groups and well-timed close-ups.
I wouldn’t trust him.
It can’t be perfect can it?
My head was spinning a bit when it came to ship names, locations, and the like. Maybe I’m unlearned in Star Wars lore, or maybe this comic just demands more attention, but I found myself flipping back to make sure I knew what characters were talking about.
There’s a bit of action in this issue, more so than the last issue, and it’s welcome. Whenever there is fighting of any sort it kicks the story into gear. There are long stretches in this issue that is mostly talking, though, and that can kill the momentum.
Is It Good?
This is a strong second issue that stretches its legs and shows how good Thrawn is at calculating the odds to make the best decision. Thrawn is the closer look at the Empire you didn’t know you needed.