Since we need to focus on the frontend for a while, we will not be undertaking minor tasks in the panel until we decide to put frontend dev at rest for a short while. Panel 2.0 will be a task that requires some time and focus ... I think we still need Jan+Feb to focus on important frontend improvements.
Back to your original question though: "It would be nice to be able to see the images and take action on them without having to click on the image file first."
... You can't see the images I know, but you can take action on them without having to click them first. Just click the settings icon in the image list: