Thrawn 5 is the fifth, penultimate issue of the canon comic book miniseries Star Wars: Thrawn, which adapts the 2017 novel of the same name. The issue was written by Jody Houser, illustrated by Luke Ross, and published on June 13, 2018 by Marvel Comics.
"THE RISE OF THE GRAND ADMIRAL" CONTINUES! Thrawn's obsession and pursuit of the mysterious crime lord "Nightswan" has led him to Batonn. But what his aide Eli Vanto hopes will be the final stand between the Empire and its enemies soon turns out to be nothing more than a trap…and Ensign Vanto is the bait!
Aboard the freighter Slipknot, Admiral Thrawn and Commander Eli Vanto watch as Admiral Durril's One Oh Third Task Force engages with the Batonn insurgents on Scrim Island. The island is defended by a deflector shield. The insurgents bombard Durril's Imperial Star Destroyer Judicator with an ion cannon and a turbolaser, damaging the ship.
Thrawn notices that the insurgents are attacking the Judicator's portside flank, opposite to the direction of an insurgent freighter flying eastward from the island. Under Thrawn's instruction, Vanto contacts the pirate freighter, positing as the weapons smuggler Horatio Figg and the captain of the Slipknot. Thrawn explains that this is his plan to get an invitation to visit Nightswan's base. Thrawn manages to gain the freighter crew's trust by posing as an arms dealer interested in purchasing their weapons.
The freighter crew send Vanto the coordinates of the insurgent's base aboard the freighter Nomad. Before embarking on their mission, Thrawn transmits an emergency distress signal on Admiral Durril's behalf. At Thrawn's behest, Vanto disguises himself as a weapons smuggler who has stolen an Imperial officer's uniform. He also outfits Vanto with a lieutenant's plaque that has been modified with a remote and a hidden holdout blaster. Thrawn tells Vanto that he will be engineering their escape aboard the Slipknot.
After landing aboard the Nomad, Vanto is searched by the insurgents, who seize his holdout blaster. One of the insurgents tell Vanto that their boss wants to see him. Vanto discovers that the insurgent leader is Nevil Cygni, whom he encountered years earlier during the Dromedar incident. Nevil thinks that Thrawn is commanding the assault on Scrim Island and that Thrawn sent Vanto to seek him. Nevil tells Vanto that he first heard about Thrawn fighting alongside the Jedi General Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars.
Nevil's followers inform him that the Slipknot's engine compartment is showing a radiation leak. Cygni thinks that is a ruse used by Imperials hiding aboard the ship. While the ship's search is taking place, Cygni taunts Vanto about living behind Thrawn's shadow. Vanto responds that he is a Commander with several victories up his ledger. Their conversation is interrupted by a radiation leak explosion. Vanto takes this as his cue to activate Thrawn's modified rank insignia, which causes his captured holdout blaster to explode.
Vanto fights his way through the insurgents and escapes with Thrawn aboard a stolen insurgent freighter. The two then return to join the Imperial fleet. Thrawn tells Vanto that he picked the freighter in order to acquire navigational records that might lead them to insurgent bases and supply lines. Vanto confirms that Nightswan is indeed the Batonn insurgents' leader. Thrawn compliments Vanto for his actions and tells him that he did not reveal Nightswan's identity because he wanted Vanto's performance to be genuine.
Thrawn to the rescue
After returning to the Chimaera, Admiral Thrawn and Commander Vanto attend a holobriefing with Admiral Kinshara, Fleet Admiral Jok Donassius, and Admiral Durril. Admiral Durill apologizes for his failed assault on Scrim Island and says that he has ordered repairs to his ships in anticipation for a second assault. Meanwhile, Admiral Kinshara reports that he has defeated the insurgents on Denash but that prisoner interrogation suggests that most of their forces have already transferred to Batonn.
Thrawn reports that Sammun has been pacified with two enemy ships destroyed, fur ships captures, and a large amount of small arms ordnance captured. Fleet Admiral Donassius inquires whether Thrawn was absent from the engagement. Thrawn responds that the action was carried out under his direction. Due to the damage inflicted on Durril's forces, Donassius orders the Admiral to bring his task force to the Marleyvane shipyards for repairs.
The Fleet Admiral asks Thrawn about how much time he needs to gather intelligence on the Batonn insurgents. Thrawn calmly responds that he has finished gathering intelligence and is ready to eliminate the insurgents. Thrawn's assault on Scrim Island occurs offscreen.
Crisis at Creekpath
Several days after the recapture of Scrim Island, the Empire is laying siege to the Creekpath Mining and Refining complex, which has been taken over by the Batonn insurgents. Admiral Thrawn and Commander Vanto meet with Colonel Wullf Yularen and Governor Arihnda Pryce. Thrawn explains that Vanto was able to track down the insurgents' shipping vectors to Creekpath. Vanto and Thrawn explain that the insurgents are protected by a deflector shield and that there are approximately 30,000 civilians within the complex's boundaries.
Pryce reveals that she is here because two of the civilians are her parents. Colonel Yularen briefs Thrawn and Vanto about Pryce's proposal to infiltrate Creekpath and study the insurgents' defenses and weapons set-up while visiting her parents. Yularen thinks this would be an opportunity for them to take down the shield generator.
When Thrawn expresses concern about Pryce's public profile, Pryce responds that she will be traveling undercover with the Imperial Security Bureau Agent Gudry. Yularen explains that their cover story will be that they are hunting down a friend mixed up in the mine situation. Thrawn reluctantly approves the plan since it does not involve Pryce taking part in a dispute but expresses concern that they don't know her parent's loyalties. Pryce reassures Thrawn that she is capable of looking after herself and reiterates that he needs the information.
In private, Colonel Yularen gives Vanto a set of passcodes, telling him to keep an eye on Thrawn. Yularen questions Thrawn's decision to position the three damaged light cruisers Shyrack, Flensor, and Tumnor at disadvantageous positions above Batonn. He explains that they would be vulnerable to enemy starships and too far from the Chimaera to render support. Vanto reassures Yularen that Thrawn is thinking strategically. Yularen expresses concern that Cygni is getting beneath his skin and tells Vanto to keep an eye on him.
Pryce's family reunion
At the Pryce Residence in Creekpath, Pryce's father Talmoor asks why his daughter is wearing a blonde wig and eye lenses. Pryce responds that she is here unofficially and claims that her friend "Mattai" is looking for a friend in the mine area. "Mattai" supports Pryce's account. Talmoor defends the insurgents as heroes fighting for their rights against a "repressive and dangerous" government. Pryce thinks her father is painting the Empire with a broad brush but he responds that Governor Restos and his friends are corrupt.
Pryce promises to look into the matter. When "Mattai" claims that his friend may have been pressganged by the insurgents, Talmoor agrees to help them find his friend but that they will obey the insurgents' instructions to leave. Pryce discreetly swaps her mother Elainye Pryce's comlink with her own since she plans to evacuate the mine before the Imperial attack.
While traveling to the mine, Talmoor blames Governor Restos for not sending troops to secure the mine. He explains that the insurgents had captured the mine's DSS-02 regional shield and expelled the operators before they knew what was happening. Pryce uses her mother's comlink to tell Talmoor that she doesn't feel well and that they need to return. This gives Pryce and Talmoor the pretext to return home. "Mattai" accepts their explanation even though he is suspicious.
Returning to her family's home, Pryce tells Talmoor and Elainye that the fake comlink voice message was a pretext to get them away from Mattai. She warns her parents that there is going to be a big battle and that they need to pack. Talmoor responds that he does not think the Governor will attack the mine. Pryce responds that there is an Imperial task force above Batonn with orders to neutralize the insurgents.
Elainye tells her daughter not to panic but Pryce reiterates her warning. Talmoor tells his wife their daughter is right. When Elainye asks about their friends who work in the mine, Pryce responds that she is not her for them but only for her parents.
Meanwhile, Admiral Thrawn contacts Nevil Cygni in his office aboard the Chimaera using a frequency found in the records of the stolen freighter. When Cygni asks why Thrawn has contacted him without issuing an ultimatum, Thrawn replies that he wishes to speak to Cygni face to face with no barriers between them.
The comic implies that Admiral Thrawn's three light cruisers Shyrack, Flensor, and Tumnor were damaged during Admiral Durril's first assault on Scrim Island. The original Thrawn novel makes it clear that the light cruiser's were damaged during the second assault on Scrim Island commanded by Thrawn. Thrawn used the three light cruisers as decoys to draw the insurgents' fire so that the Chimaera could bombard the insurgents' defenses.
- UPC 759606088409; June 13, 2018; Marvel Comics
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Notes and references
- The Del Rey timeline places Thrawn between Solo: A Star Wars Story and A New Dawn. Solo: A Star Wars Story The Official Guide dates the prologue of Solo to six years after the formation of the Galactic Empire, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY, therefore Solo must begin in 13 BBY. Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide dates Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla's first meeting in A New Dawn to six years before Star Wars Rebels, which according to Galactic Atlas, begins in 5 BBY. This places A New Dawn in 11 BBY. This means that Thrawn must begin between 13 BBY and 11 BBY.
- Thrawn ends shortly before the events of Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow. Dawn of Rebellion dates the events of Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow seventeen years after the end of the Clone Wars, which Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates to 19 BBY; therefore, the events of Steps Into Shadow must take place in 2 BBY.