The ink is barely dry on the Phasma novel that hit the shelves last Friday, and here we are this week with issue #1 of Marvel’s Captain Phasma, as the Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi publishing event continues. The four-issue mini-series is written by Kelly Thompson (A-Force, Hawkeye) with illustrations by Marco Checchetto (Shattered Empire, Obi-Wan & Anakin) and follows the Captain immediately after her last appearance in The Force Awakens as the First Order base is under attack by the Resistance. Read on for the full review of issue #1. Spoilers ahead…
You may recall that in the final act of The Force Awakens Captain Phasma is held at gun point by Han, Chewie, and Finn, who force her to lower the station’s defense shields, allowing the Resistance attack on the base to resume. After Han brings up the idea of throwing the chrome captain in a trash compactor, the movie continues and we never see Phasma again.
We know she survived as we have seen her in the promotional material for the upcoming sequel, The Last Jedi. So how did she get out of the trash compactor and off-planet before it went boom? This comic answers that question in its first issue and continues to build Phasma’s character as a conniving villain who only really cares about herself. The foundations of these traits were laid in the novel that revealed her backstory, and it’s exciting to see that she continues to be portrayed in this way on into the next film.
The story is presented in the comic from Phasma’s perspective, as she records notes on the events that transpired on Starkiller base, preparing for the inevitable debriefing with her superiors after escaping the devastation. Unlike Obi-Wan on the Death Star, escape is definitely Phasma’s plan, but she is also aware of the act of treason she has committed and will do everything she can to make sure that the blame is placed on somebody else before she makes her exit.
Not much fuss is made about how she escaped the trash compactor, as she is shown walking out of a large gaping hole in the wall on the first page of the issue. With mere minutes left until the destruction of the First Order base, Phasma heads back to the computer terminal and deletes the record of her accessing the terminal and lowering the defense shields while fabricating a record to implicate another officer in the act – Lieutenant Sol Rivas, who was unlucky enough to have been the last one to access the shield files before Phasma.
She then decides to hunt down Rivas to make him pay for his crime of treason against the First Order. After her assassination attempt on the Lieutenant is thwarted by the ongoing destruction of the station, she follows him to a hanger as he attempts to evacuate in a TIE fighter.
On the way to the hanger, Phasma witnesses Rey and Kylo Ren fighting in the woods and is almost killed when the planetary crust begins to split, separating Phasma from her target. However, Phasma is not one to give up so easily. She leaps across the chasm in a near superhuman feat and continues her pursuit.
Sol Rivas leaves in his TIE and Phasma is forced to chase the poor lieutenant to maintain her cover story. Rivas has to die. Luckily, a TIE pilot had been updating the systems on his own TIE fighter in the hanger when Phasma arrives and she commands the pilot to track the other fighter and the pair leave just before the base is destroyed.
I don’t know that I’d want a whole series focusing on Phasma, but a four-issue mini-series might be just the right prescription for a healthy dose of the character and her ongoing story. I liked that the issue didn’t focus too much on her escape, and more on developing her as a truly immoral individual who will do absolutely anything to make sure that she comes out on top. I kind of had an idea where this series would go prior to reading it given the promotional info behind it, but I had no idea they would wrap all of that up in a single issue.
That fact has me looking forward to the other three issues as I have no idea where the story will take her. I assume she will track down this unsuspecting First Order officer and put a quick end to his unfortunate life, but who knows what adventure awaits her along the way?
I thought this was a great first issue and I think the stage has been nicely set for the continuation of the series. The non-stop action in the issue didn’t really allow for a lot of dialogue or character interaction, so I look forward to seeing what Thompson can do in future issues on that front, but the flow of the action in this story was spot on.
Of course it doesn’t hurt to have Marco Checchetto in your corner providing the illustrations. Regardless of the story, with Checchetto on board, you can always guarantee at least one thing – the pages will be absolutely gorgeous. That holds true here as well. Captain Phasma, much like Shattered Empire and Obi-Wan & Anakin before, is a feast for the eyes.
There were a couple of problems I had personally with Phasma’s depiction however. As awesome of a warrior as she is – she’s not a superhero, she’s human, and I wish that she had been more depicted as such. The Batman cape thing she did when deflecting the blaster bolt and the giant leap she made across the open chasm looked beautiful and intense thanks to Checchetto, but I would have preferred more realistic action. I prefer to see brutality from Phasma more so than acrobatic tricks and nonsense.
But, then again, there is precedent in Star Wars already for humans to have undergone physical enhancement that could explain her superhuman abilities. Either way, this was still a cool comic and it was fun enough to get me excited to read issue #2. The action is exciting and Checchetto’s art is fantastic as always.