21 September 2012

New Republic Week: Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy by Mike Baron with Timothy Zahn

Comic hardcover, 436 pages
Published 2009 (contents: 1995-99)
Acquired December 2010
Read July 2012
Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy

Scripts: Mike Baron
Pencils and Inks: Olivier Vatine, Fred Blanchard, Terry Dodson, Kevin Nowlan, Edvin Biukovic, and Eric Shanower
Art Assists: Vincent Rueda
Colors: Isabelle Rabarot, Pamela Rambo, and Dan Brown
Lettering: Ellie DeVille
Adapted from the novels by Timothy Zahn

Though I've read the novels many times, this was my first time reading the comics adaptation of Timothy Zahn's trilogy of Star Wars novels, Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command, making this a different sort of climax to my time of rereading New Republic-era Star Wars novels.

Unfortunately, although it was rarely bad, mostly this book served to remind me of a much superior work. Zahn's Thrawn novels are distinguished by their large, complex political plots; abbreviated into comics, each story is nothing but a series of haphazard and rapid scenes. Characters go places and do things for reasons the reader doesn't quite know, referring to things the reader hasn't seen. Though Baron gets better with this as the adaptations go on, they never become involving or deep.

The art itself is nice. Olivier Vatine and Fred Blanchard have a very distinctive style-- I love their narrow-eyed Thrawn-- and I certainly enjoy the work of Terry Dodson and Eric Shanower. (And since I complain about it so much elsewhere, never once did I feel here that a female character had been gratuitously sexualized, not even Mara to my surprise.) While it's nice to get visualizations of some of the story elements, this comic fails to add much of a new level of meaning to the original. Mostly, I just want to read the original now.


  1. I got tired at some point of the uneven quality of these Star Wars novels. The Thrawn trilogy was great, but then other titles, some of which you've mentioned, weren't so great, and it seemed a slog to get through the so-so ones to get to the good ones. They seem to be publishing a lot of these today in hardcover and doing well, but I can't garner enough interest to find a jumping-on point; just have to tide myself over with Clone Wars.

  2. I'd forgotten how uninteresting The Courtship of Princess Leia was. I mean, I didn't remember liking it, but dang! Shadows of Mindor and Tatooine Ghost made the whole reread worth it, though.