Star Wars: Thrawn #4

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Luke Ross
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Clayton Cowles and Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel

Review by Michael Farris, Jr.

In Star Wars: Thrawn #4 Commander Thrawn and Ensign (yup, still ensign) Vanto are on the trail of a criminal known as “Nightswan,” who is still somehow able to elude Thrawn. Their hunt takes them to the planet Cyphar where a land dispute between two races is boiling over to violent reactions. Thrawn uses his tactical cunning to diffuse the situation—with the help of an artillery barrage from a Star Destroyer up above.

Thrawn and Vanto return to Coruscant under the assumption of military chastisement, but instead receive overdue promotions and go off to face a new nemesis…other admirals of the Galactic Empire. A disagreement arises between the admirals and Thrawn, and Thrawn and Vanto head off to a secret mission in borderline disobedience to their orders. But is this part of Thrawn’s plan to finally ensnare Nightswan?

After a strong entry with last month’s issue, this chapter of the series felt a little slower, but it didn’t feel like a tedious read. We spend a lot of time with Thrawn dealing with authority figures on various sides of a land dispute all for the purpose of planning his next move and testing the capabilities of Eli Vanto in reaching the same conclusions. Seeing Vanto develop under the tutelage of a master strategist was one of the more satisfying aspects of this book.

With the exception of one scene, the book was sans action. But dealing with a character like Thrawn, you’d expect that. Thrawn is more or less the Moriarty of the Star Wars universe, so part of the fun is getting a glimpse of his thought processes and seeing the precise way he lays his traps. So while most Star Wars stories leave you with the, “Dang, I wish I could use the Force,” feeling, this leaves you with a, “Dang, I wish I was that smart,” feeling…which is a lot more realistic.

One of my favorite parts of this series has been the artwork, and that continues in Star Wars: Thrawn #4. I particularly liked the scene where Thrawn and Vanto were drawing conspirators into their web. The use of blues and shading make you feel enveloped in the darkness, and then when the fireworks started, you can easily imagine the momentary bright spots in your eyes. There’s also a single page shortly after Thrawn and Vanto’s promotion where you see situations in which they conquer, and it’s a page I would frame and put in my office.

Verdict: Buy it.

Star Wars: Thrawn #4 proves that this series is the thinking man’s Star Wars story. While blaster beams and lightsaber duels are in rare supply, this issue still showcases one of the Emperor’s strongest weapons at his side: Thrawn’s intellect.

Michael Farris Jr.
Michael is a Virginia-born Idaho convert (stuck in Georgia) and a huge fan of sci-fi. He took time off from comics and sci-fi during the dark years of being a teenager and trying to impress girls, but has since married an amazing woman with whom he regularly can geek out and be himself. He's also a drummer, loves metal music, and can always be found in a melancholy state while watching all things DC sports.

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