Monday, April 16, 2018

Star Wars: Thrawn #3 Review - Marvel Monday

Come on down, the Pryce is right!

Written by: Jody Houser
Art by: Luke Ross
Colors: Nolan Woodard
Publisher: Marvel
Reviewed by: Andrew McAvoy

As us comic book readers know from watching the news and/or Game of Cards, life isn't like the West Wing - a kind heart and a corny speech won't get you too far in modern politics. Reaching the top in politics calls for cunning, guile and a good poker face. Now imagine what smarts you need to maneuver your way to the top of politics in Palpatine's Empire. This issue introduces the formidable political climber Arihnda Pryce, as she rises through the corrupt political climate of Coruscant.

For anyone who is familiar with the animated series Star Wars Rebels (which I'd recommend because I am a child stuck in a man's body and I also think it captures the sheer Saturday morning matinee feel of Star Wars very well) a mention of the name of Governor Pryce is enough to send them scurrying off to hide in case she sends them to the Imperial detention center on Lothal. She doesn't mess about. This is the story of how she got to the top.

Let's begin though with the art. Luke Ross is a standout talent and really should be given the lion's share of Star Wars Marvel art in future if he so desires. Not only has he consistently rendered Thrawn brilliantly to date (I'd say the best depiction of Thrawn in any comic book including the old Dark Horse line), but he nails the depiction of Pryce. Much is made about how Pryce's appearance in the TV show is based upon Cate Blanchett's Irina Spalko character from Indiana Jones (and TKOTCS). Again though I think Ross gives us the definitive image of this character. His depiction really brings her to life. Did I mention Luke Ross' art is brilliant in this series? I did? Well it is.

The colors from Nolan Woodard are also matched perfectly to the art. He selects a lot of rich colors in this issue, the dress at the Imperial reception are wonderful, but the standout work from both Ross and Woodard in this issue comes with the arrival of Grand Moff Tarkin into this issue. Hot damn, Peter Cushing's features as rendered by these two artists really managed to give me the frights. One would think that Wilhuff Tarkin wouldn't scare me at this age but somehow he still does, and this time it is courtesy of Ross and Woodard who summon up the Hammer Horror spectre of Cushing wonderfully. 

As for Houser's writing, she is developing this book from source material but it is extremely complex source material to distill into a 6 issue mini-series. The last installment of Thrawn didn't appeal to me too much. I felt that even in the novel it was a convoluted side story. This issue sees the narrative return to the great parts of Zahn's novel. Houser delivers against high expectations in a task which may seem simple but is anything but. Her skills as a writer are really brought out by this issue as she picks up on the important details of the novel in order to distill them into this series. 

Bits and pieces

After a brief dip last issue (which was the fault of the source material not this creative team) this issue rocks back onto the stage, with political intrigue on Coruscant. Thrawn's fate starts to become intertwined with Pryce's and it is made clear that she is prepared to walk a political tightrope to get ahead in Palpatine's Empire. Great art and a wonderful story, the only point to make is that this issue necessarily has a reliance on the preceding issues, so it can't be recommended as a standalone issue (so make sure to read issues 1 and 2 for maximum enjoyment).


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