Well, I see others besides me thought of this update as more of a "mm hmm ok that's what I thought" moment, rather than the usual "omg REALLY? what a revelation/insight/great confirmation of my perceptiveness!" sort of update we usually get.
However, that doesn't bother me in the least. Because solidifying "who" a major player is, even if it's what we expected them to be, is an important process, as well, and I am willing to allow Tramennis and Slately the luxury of a few extra panels to establish that confirmation for us. Especially as, let's face it, there are bound to be some heavy duty action sequences coming up, and the Titans have a way of making us fidgety for the next update, probably on purpose.
It's somewhat amusing to see further speculations as to Jillian's character arise from the revelations of Tramennis and Slately's characters, but I'm not really surprised by it. Jillian, after all, is an extremely polarizing figure, both in comic and in forums, and Slately's take on her being so different than Tramennis' was bound to start that whole thread again.
Personally, I will have to side with the camp that thinks she is a selfish, thoughtless git, with no moral compass beyond a sort of childish "I want what I want and now I have the means to get it" attitude. Nothing in her conversations and interactions with any of the other characters has done anything but confirm that impression for me. For those of you who think being "action-oriented" exempts her from having to think about the consequences of her own actions...well...nevermind. There's no way to speak to such people.
What I did like about this update is the way it set Jetstone's players as the philosophical polar opposites of the GK side, much more obviously and firmly than previously. Slately obviously = Stanley, from their stature to their stubborn stance on their own principles, while Tramennis being set up as Parson's equivalent fills me with nothing but delight. By so blatantly setting the similiarities between these players against each other, the differences stand out in even sharper contrast. My particular delight is comparing Stanley's growth to Slately's regression.
In the course of the comic so far, we have seen Stanley grow from a childlike runt with all the charm of a badger, playing with an overly powerful toy and trying to make it against the big boys, into a slightly more thoughtful runt, who has begun making a real effort to understand the things that are going on around him. From trying to actually learn the names of his units, to analyzing his own assumptions about Wanda, he is slowly but surely "growing into" his position as the ruler of a side. He is likable in the way that your disadvantaged cousin may be, all awkward and embarrassing, but still family, and therefore to be loved.
Slately, on the other hand, has gone from being the decisive and effective leader of one of Erf's most pwerful sides, to a petulant and stubborn whiner, who sticks to his prejudices despite all evidence against them, and is perilously close to becoming an obstacle in the defense of his own realm. Much as Stanley started out being. I feel sorry for him, as we've seen he has ample reasons, at least in his own mind, to respond in the way he has, though we as readers know how disastrously it could turn out for him.
If we can draw out any assumptions from this dichotomy, it may be that, as all signs are pointing, GK (and it's leader) is on the rise, despite recent setbacks, while Jetstone has passed it's peak and is about to go the way of all empires. For Tramennis fans, as I have become over time, this does not bode well. However, it is a poignant reminder that a culture established by extraordinary people doesn't necessarily stop producing extraordinary people... it just starts to decline when mediocrity is accepted as more desirable.
I would hypothesize that Stanely has the potential for greatness...ever since he truly took the "Titanic Mandate" to heart. When he was a jumped-up piker who thought he had the Titan's luck, he was an unbearable git. With Parson's arrival, and subsquent articulation of the Mandate vis a` vis Toolism, Stanley has gradually come to believe that his life and leadership truly DOES have a purpose, beyond his own personal whims. Ironically, having a purpose so similar to the Royal Mandate has become the one thing that truly could make Stanley into a "real ruler". Long after setting out to create his own empire, and failing abysmally, Stanley is finally getting the empire he wanted...but he's likely to have the sort of suspicious view of it that Julius Caesar did. I wonder when he's going to have Zhopa following him around to whisper "you were popped a piker" in his ear occasionally. lol