Thrawn. Mitth’raw’nuruodo. Bad-boy Blue.
Call him what you will, Thrawn is one of the most beloved characters in all of Star Wars’ famed existence, and he was recently brought back from Legends status into Disney canon. And what a glorious return it was…
Both his Rebels appearances as well as the Thrawn novel by Timothy Zahn (may The Force bless his tiny socks!) were widely well-received by new and old fans alike. Then, the comic based on the novel was announced… And an entire Galaxy held its breath, waiting to see if Marvel could turn its recent slump in form around and do justice to Smartass McFancy-Eyes. And, in my opinion, Jody Houser, Luke Ross, and Nolan Woodard did just that!
First of all, the artwork hits hard on all cylinders, with everything from the perspective, to the colour palette, lighting, and the bursts of action that pepper the mostly conversational narrative working together smoothly to pull you into the whole thing, offering a brand new PoV and dimension to what goes on in Thrawn’s rise-to-power story.
The digital edition cover I got, by Paul Renaud and Francesco Mattina, is as beautiful as it is enticing, and the small fact that Thrawn has no pupils in this rendition makes oldschool me feel warm and fuzzy.
I’ve never been a big fan of halftone dots as I feel they can be easily overused/used poorly and somewhat cheapen a comic that aims for “blockbuster” status in this day and age, but here they’re mostly employed for background setup or blended into character work, where they both make sense as well as enhance physical traits, setting characters even more apart from one another. You’ll hopefully see what I mean when you read through issue...
I will say that I was surprised and a bit let down by some depictions of Eli Vanto, Thrawn’s aide and translator. While reading the novel I never once got the impression that he was a whimpering child as a few of the frames let us know via his body language and him welling up at one time. Frustrated, with a limited outlook on things, and in need of guidance, yes, but never an outright weakling as frames like the one below may suggest.
The only other drawback to this comes from having read the novel prior to it. For now, it’s a note-for-note rendition of some parts of Zahn’s work, so there are no surprises to proceedings.
That said, I was in no way, shape, or form bored while reading this. Fantastic work is done by distilling a rather chunky part of the book to a handful of scenes that hold great importance in both the formative steps of Eli Vanto, as well as the slow reveal of exactly who Thrawn is, and exactly what he is capable of.
His ruthlessness, wit, and ability to make decisions without emotional attachment bleed from the clear and to-the-point scenes that roll through several facets of the titular character’s personality and capabilities, as well as showcasing Eli Vanto’s first steps alongside a race he thought was mere legend at the start of it all.
As far as #1s go, this one was one of the best I’ve landed in a few months, but I want to make it clear that this is not bias coming through from me willing to take anything Thrawn-related we’re given and run with it. I had very high hopes and expectations going in, and it ended up delivering on more than enough points for me to keep reading it judiciously, and actively gnawing on my fingernails until March 14th when the second issue is due for release.
With a more than solid base to build upon and minor unfortunate artistic interpretations aside, Thrawn #1 launches the Chiss mastermind into a bright future that any Star Wars fan can enjoy.
The Gung-Ho Geeks rate this: 8.5 lieutenant plaques out of 10