March 14th came and went, giving us another solid entry to the Marvel Thrawn series to peruse. This time, the narrative did somewhat of a hyperspace jump, taking us past the first Imperial Navy Captain Thrawn served under, Virgilio, and straight into his replacement, Captain Rossi, with whom Thrawn butts head for a bit while “leading smuggler capture and distress aid missions in the Mid and Outer Rim”… By “for a bit” I mean basically the entire length of the comic.
Although seemingly hellbent on having Thrawn renounce the “junk” he’s amassed over the missions with Virgilio, she is turned around by the wily Chiss via some cleverly employed teasers regarding the junk’s value.
I was a bit iffy about a couple of the panels in the first few pages, with Thrawn and Vanto looking less like they’re walking down a ship corridor and more like they’re rehearsing for their next peacock-walk/dance-off performance down at the local hole in the wall, but it’s more of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it occurrence rather than a smash-you-in-the-face one.
Not so much the oh-so-needed (that’s sarcasm, btw) editor’s note linking us to something that happened aaaall the way back in #1. You know, the last and only other issue of the comic...
Thanks for nothing, Heather! I’ll have anything else but a milshake, thanks!
As opposed to last time around, action takes up a larger chunk of pages compared to #1’s audience with the Emperor, Imperial leadership, or one-on-ones between Eli Vanto and Thrawn, and we see get to see his planning ahead acumen work out in a tense situation rather than the more subdued and controlled card game we got before.
The crew of the Blood Crow, the Gozanti-Class Imperial Assault Carrier that Thrawn and Vanto are currently stationed on (and incidentally one of the coolest Imperial designs ever in my book), is tasked with inspecting a derelict ship, which never means anything bad may happen and this totally isn’t its own TV Trope. The operation targets the recovery of Tibanna Gas cargo, an element that is as valuable as it is dangerous to contain and handle properly.
The first thing that will strike people is, I think, Vanto’s decisiveness in acting when faced with a perilous situation, very tonally different from the way he was portrayed in #1, something we’ve covered in that particular review. Whether this is to mean that Eli has come a long way since his first meeting with Thrawn, or his depiction in #1 was indeed a bit off than what I’d gathered from the novel is up to each reader to settle on their own.
Naturally, things do end up going badly for the crew, and Thrawn’s plans within plans bubble to the surface, saving everybody’s hide in the process. I have another niggle here, with a (possibly obvious) double-cross taking up a slot on a page that nullifies any impact the sequence may have had were it edited otherwise, i.e. pushed to the following page. This may seem like a small issue, but this was sold as a “big reveal” kind of thing, and it kind of defeats its own purpose when you can see it coming a full page away.
Due to insubordination in following Captain Rossi’s rules, as well as putting Imperial assets at risk, Thrawn and Vanto are first confined planetside (where we get a pretty cool interrogation sequence), and also have to face an Imperial Navy Judicial Panel.
After being cleared of any wrongdoings, Vanto takes center-stage, showing both restraint as well as pride in refusing a better position (with an all-but-certain meteoric rise through the ranks) offered to him by Thrawn’s political adversaries, whose veiled (at first) insults towards him do not go unnoticed, being a rather deciding factor in his refusal.
Again, I have to bring into question the final panel here when it comes to the way Eli’s emotions are carried across. I find it an over-the-top manner that is meant to emphasize his frustration but makes him look all but ridiculous and childish in the process, again, something I failed to glean from the novel this is based on. The foreshadowing/threat he receives at the very end of it all is a rather nice touch, though.
All in all, this was another enjoyable read, solid in both plot as well as artwork (above niggles included), and a steady course when it comes to Thrawn’s grand Imperial quest. The bits and pieces of information dropped by Zahn in the novel (some of which are mainstays of most novels and works of this period in Star Wars canon, I might add…) is again distilled to a reasonable play-by-play. Looking forward to the next one, teasing Lothal’s own Arihnda Pryce…
The Gung-Ho Geeks rate this 8 out of 10 MK1 Buzz-Droids: