Colleen’s Book Club: Thrawn Comics
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Luke Ross
Published: February-July 2018
Set between 13 and 11 BBY through 2 BBY
Read Timothy Zahn’s 2017 novel Thrawn first.
OOPS! Should Have Read the Book First
So, I read the comic collection before reading the novel. It didn’t throw me off too much, but I wish I had read the novel first. One great thing from consuming the comic first: I visualized all the characters while reading Zahn’s novel. Some people don’t like this however, so if you prefer to go into Thrawn’s story with no biases on character design, don’t read the comic first!
This 6-issue comic collection is a fairly comprehensive retelling of Zahn’s novel, though some parts were shortened or condensed to fit the issue order. Mitth´raw´nuruodo (he tells the Imperials to call him “Thrawn,” knowing his name is difficult for other species to pronounce - aside: the Emperor always uses his full name) comes center stage, entering the Empire as seeds of rebellion are spreading. The Emperor believes Thrawn will serve a purpose, so he is allowed to join the Imperial Navy.
Like the novel, this is an origin story, split into three characters’ narratives (Thrawn, Eli, & Ahrinda Pryce) who are rising within the Empire. This comic helped me connect more with Pryce, though I still fricken hate her. But it was nice to see her as a young woman pushed too far as opposed to her Rebels personality. She remains aloof but comes across warmer in this medium, most likely because we can see her expressions and how certain events hurt her. She’s just another person damaged by the Empire who doesn’t realize what the new regime did to her. Because that's the Emperor's greatest talent: pitting people against each other so they don't notice what he's up to.
Eli is still my king. His reactions to Thrawn’s mysterious tactics are hilarious, and you can feel his frustration. All he wanted was a nice job doing statistics, ordering supplies, and organizing stuff! Not much chance of a quiet life with Thrawn as your best friend.
Thrawn’s and Eli’s “Holmes and Watson” adventures really pop on page. They’re solving problems as they go, but lurking in the shadows is something as big as a moon…but that’s no moon. What I really enjoy about these non-film stories is that they enrich the world, tying threads together with ease.
Conclusion: A great companion to the novel! 8/10 Lightsabers
The authors do a great job transferring Zahn’s characters and story to the comics. The art is gorgeous, and the storylines are easy to follow, which could be difficult with such a convoluted political narrative. The color scheme shifts with the tone of each section, which is really cool. The cover gave me pause: why the heck is Tarkin front and center on Thrawn's book?! But it actually makes sense. Thrawn prefers to operate in the shadows, pulling strings and waiting for the right moment to strike. Tarkin is much more comfortable sitting in the commander’s chair, presiding over his domain. I still would have preferred one of the other comic covers that show Thrawn in all his chiseled glory, but alas.