The Other Side of the Page: Books and Comics
Marvel’s Thrawn Comic Review
Ahhh, it’s good to be back doing reviews! This time, I’m going to be diving into one of my current favorite fandom husbands at the moment:
Star Wars’ Grand Admiral Thrawn.
This week, the trade paperback for the Thrawn miniseries came out collecting issues 1-6. The writer is Jody Houser, artist is Luke Ross, colorist is Nolan Woodard, and letterer is Clayton Cowles. It’s an adaptation of Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn that was released April of last year.
If you read Zahn’s novel from last year, there isn’t much that’s added to the comic. Still, the fun for me wasn’t looking for new material like in the Rogue One adaptation. I enjoyed seeing the novel bringing characters to life such as one of the protagonists, Eli Vanto. Luke Ross’ art shines through and through. I loved his run on Darth Maul (I need a poster of his Cad Bane), and this run was no exception. Everything Star Wars that he touches has so much passion and emotion in each stroke that I’m confident when I say he needs a full run at Marvel. Woodard’s coloring helps set the tone and mood throughout the entire book.
I also have to praise Ross’ ability to capture faces particularly with Eli Vanto. Vanto is like the John Watson to Thrawn’s Sherlock. He’s an incredibly emotional character not hesitating to hide his snark or opinions. Where Thrawn is often stoic offering the slightest glimmer of a rare smile, Vanto constantly delivers many of the best reactions in the book. My particular favorite:
Also, thank you Luke Ross for giving us long haired Thrawn. Timothy Zahn said in a panel at Dragon Con that was all Ross’ doing, and I can’t thank Ross enough. I loved everything about long haired Thrawn in issue one.
I only have a few criticism of the comic adaptation which mostly falls on the fact I wanted more. I strongly feel like this needed one or two more issue for two reasons:
1. Arihnda Pryce is one of the three main characters in Zahn’s Thrawn novel alongside Thrawn and Vanto. While she had one issue entirely dedicated to her, it wasn’t enough. In the original novel, there was so much more nuance with her relationship to Thrawn and their rise through the ranks together that was left out. She’s a main character in the book, but that wasn’t apparent in the adaptation.
2. In my opinion, there were many major plot points left out of the comic including one particularly huge bombshell at the end. The confrontation with the antagonist Nightswan needed more pages. One revelation that Thrawn tells Nightswan actually completely changes the novel and Thrawn’s purpose in the Empire. They share one of his purposes, but leave out the other which was the more important of the two. I have to wonder if that was a Marvel or Star Wars’ choice or the choice of the creative team.
I guess if I had to nitpick a little more, I think they chose the worst of all the comic covers for the trade paperback cover:
The reason I think this is the worst choice is because Grand Moff Tarkin is the central character on this cover, not Thrawn. Your eye is drawn to him right in the middle. Thrawn is the main character. This is his origin story, not Tarkin’s. Out of all the possible choices, they picked this one? I don’t understand what the thinking was here. I mean look at the other options where Thrawn is the center of his own title:
I hope if they do a reprinting in the future, they go with one of these choices instead.
Overall, I really liked the comic adaptation. Seeing characters from the novel brought to life was wonderful especially for Eli Vanto who is precious and must be protected at all costs. It was a beautiful take on a novel I love. I hope if they do an adaptation of Zahn’s new novel Thrawn: Alliances that they extended it to 8-12 issues. That book is massive with two story lines. If they crammed that into six issues, it’s going to be sorely missing a lot of content.
I gave Marvel’s Thrawn an 8.5 out of 10