Mitt’hraw’nuruodo, better known as Lieutenant Thrawn of the Galactic Empire, has graduated the Imperial Academy with the highest marks possible, as well as been assigned his own personal assistant, Ensign Eli Vanto, but that doesn’t mean that everyone in the Imperial army wants him to succeed. Tensions run high in the ranks of the Empire as Thrawn continues to defeat new enemies.
Gozanti-class cruiser Blood Crow, Imperial Navy.
Captain Rossi stands with Thrawn in the storage area of the Blood Crow next to scrap items from the Clone Wars. Captain Virgilio has permitted Thrawn to keep his ‘collection’ on board so he can study them to understand the technology. Rossi reminds Thrawn the Virgilio is no longer Captain, but Thrawn twists this to make her feel that the items, which are valuable, are hers as she is the commanding officer. This has the desired affect and he is allowed to keep them on-board.
Thrawn is joined by Eli Vanto and he has noticed Rossi wants to wipe Virgilio’s trace from what is now her ship. The buzz droids are mark one’s which means they contain Doonium, which is in demand and very expensive. What she doesn’t know is that they aren’t scrap, but fully operational.
Derelict freighter Dromedar.
One month later…
A shuttle approaches the Dromedar on-board is Thrawn, Vanto and three engineering crew. They are taking bets on why the ship is derelict. The ship is a transport using an older method for securing its cargo called static-locking. It is primarily used now to transport Tibanna gas. The shuttle docks and initial scans show no life-form readings, but the static locking is not letting them get a true reading. The air is free from chemicals and it is safe for them to proceed. Vanto, Layneo and Jakeeb are to proceed to the engine section, while Thrawn and Ensign Barlin will head to the bridge.
Vanto, Layneo and Jakeeb are heading down a corridor towards the engine section, they are blinded by a light in front of them and ordered to ‘freeze’. Vanto ignores this order and tackles the person around the midriff and disarms them.
They are joined by Thrawn and Barlin. The man they have captured is Nevil Cygni. The Dromedar was attacked by pirates with no name, he’d hidden during the raid in a locker and had not been found. He is a coward, the others fought, but they were taken by the pirates back to their base. The hyper drive was locked down the ships former Captain and Cygni had heard her screams. He thought Thrawn and his team were the pirates returning and decided to attack. The main reactor has leaked, so he is advised to avoid the power compartment. Thrawn asks Vanto to report the incident to Rossi and he will continue to investigate the ship, but they still may be able to restart the hyper drive. If not, they will transfer the Tibanna gas modules to the Blood Crow. Rossi won’t like this Vanto tells Thrawn, but it is his recommendation.
Vanto reports to Rossi and he was right, she disagrees. She will not rick the lives of the crew as it may explode. There have been new developments which require their attention. Vanto volunteers that the team can stay behind while the Blood Crow attend the emergency on Motlok. She agrees that Vanto, Thrawn and no more than three crew can stay behind with the Dromedar. The pilots of Thrawn’s shuttle look on disbelief as the Blood Crow jumps to hyperspace.
In the hold Thrawn and his team have unloaded a crate on board. The crate contains a buzz droid. Cygni is amazed to see it and question if it is functional. Thrawn reassures him it is and that they have a plan to access the Tibanna gas by using it. The hyper drive is coming online and they are ready to proceed to Ansion. Cygni draws a blaster and holds it towards the Imperials and asks them to surrender. Through a door appears numerous ‘pirates’ led by one called Angel, the rest of Cygni’s team, they were here all along for the Tibanna. The Imperials surrender and the pirates holster their weapons. Thrawn lifts his comm-link and ordered Ensign Barlin to surrender when the pirates reach and he will not be harmed.
The Imperial Team sit on the floor cross legged with hands on their heads while Cygni and Angel discuss their next move. Angel seems agitated and almost trigger happy, but Cygni offers him the buzz droid to sweeten his side of the deal. Reluctantly he agrees.
Cargo hold of the Marauder.
Thrawn and his team stand with the original crew of the Dromedar discussing their options. The crew were tricked by Cygni and taken prisoner, but Thrawn is waiting for the pirates to board the Dromedar. He removes his plaque to reveal that has been converted into a beckon call, Vanto believes this is for Blood Crow, but he is mistaken, it’s for the buzz droid. He activates the caller.
The buzz droid comes to life starts to cut through into the hold and then starts to cut away at the bars of their makeshift cell. Some of the pirates return and start blasting at the droid. The prisoners break free and overpower the pirates. They need to find the remaining pirates to take control of the ship, but Thrawn says this is unnecessary. Ahead of their position a second buzz droid has ruptured the hull and the area is now exposed to the vacuum of space.
The Blood Crow.
Rossi is not happy with Thrawn’s actions aboard the Dromedar and Marauder, it was a stupid risk. He agrees it was a risk, but not a serious one. She is angry at the loss of the valuable cargo, but Thrawn says he saved the crew, captured several pirates and their ships. This has no bearing for Rossi and she suspends them.
The two of them trudge back to their quarters, Thrawn apologises to Vanto, but reassures him there is still important work to do on their arrival on Ansion.
Imperial Prison, Ansion.
Three of the captured pirates sit before Thrawn, he is offering them a deal. They are not receptive to this idea, but he continues to outline his offer. He wants their leader Angel and he wants to trade them for him. He could always leave them to Grand Moff Tarkin and the ISB, but there is an alternative. They will be given a civilian transport, although ailing, it will be sufficient to see them away from this sector. In return he wants to know the location of Cygni and Angel. They want guarantees that he won’t hand them over to Tarkin. Tarkin will take pleasure in Angel knowing that they have betrayed him and freed as a reward. They doubt that Tarkin could show mercy, but that is why Thrawn is ordering this himself. He leaves for them to discuss their options.
Thrawn and Vanto watch a holo of the pirates discussing the offer. They are talking in Sy Bisti to disguise their conversations, not realising that their onlookers are fluent. Uba in the Barsa Sector is the location Thrawn requires.
Imperial Navy Judicial Panel, Coruscant.
A dais seating a five-person panel towers over Thrawn and Vanto in a cathedral like room. The panel have cleared them of all charges of insubordination. They leave the hearing and walk through the corridors discussing Vanto’s family business in shipping. Thrawn is still inquisitive about the vast amount of Doonium being procured almost secretively. Angel had realised the value of the buzz droid and that was due to its Doonium shell, Vanto offers to explore Thrawn’s suspicions.
A female figure, elegantly clothes calls out to Vanto. She introduces herself as Culper, aide to Moff Ghadi. She has a job offer for him, but he is committed to the Navy for a further three years. The offer would see him promoted to lieutenant and possibly captain along the way, but he is suspicious. He asks if this is setting up Thrawn to fail, but she denies it. Vanto thanks Culper, but declines the generous offer from Moff Ghadi. She thinks he’s a fool and he will remain an ensign and he needs to get used to it.
To be continued…
After a good start last time out, I’m pleased to say that this issue continues in the same way.
We have another two covers for issue 2. The direct edition is by Paul Renaud which shows Thrawn standing proud in his uniform, with TIE fighters and the Blood Crow in the background, while the variant cover by Declan Shalvey, is a clever illustration of Thrawn and his buzz droid spying on one of the would be pirates aboard the Dromedar.
The storyline follows the novel very well. As I said for the last issue, I did think this was going to be a difficult novel to adapt, but the conversion is admirable. If you’ve read the book, what happens in each issue won’t necessarily be a surprise.
You get to see how cunning Thrawn is. Vanto seems at times to be his stooge in the eyes of the Imperial hierarchy, but I think Thrawn relies on him heavily and is as important as Chewbacca is to Han Solo. They are a partnership that bounce off each other well. I think Vanto realises this when the offer is made to him via Culper, from Moff Ghadi.
Luke Ross is the lead artist, and I am really enjoying his work. His artwork is very consistent and the likenesses, especially of the lead characters, reflect that. Jody Houser who has adapted the story from the original Timothy Zahn novel has done an amazing job! The original Zahn novels back in the early 90’s is what rekindled my love for Star Wars, so for me Thrawn is probably my favourite character, yet to appear in a film.
With that in mind, I may be biased, but I am loving this series. Roll on issue 3!
This issue was released on 14th March 2018 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $3.99.