Captain Phasma #1 | Writer: Marco Checchetto | Colorist: Andres Mossa | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Release Date: September 6, 2017
Just a few days ago I finished reading Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson, vowing to do so before I read the Captain Phasma comic. I’m so glad that I did. With the context of her character and her capabilities so well defined, I was able to go into Captain Phasma #1 with a fresh idea of what to expect from the character, and Kelly Thompson delivers. With stunning art and an astounding representation of the character, Captain Phasma #1 pulls us into a firsthand view of the Galaxy through the First Order Captain’s visors.
Captain Phasma #1 picks up right after where we last see the Nubian armored Stormtrooper on screen, in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. I didn’t know what to expect as far as time period or setting when I picked up this comic, but I always had a slight issue with how easily they were able to dispatch the Captain in the trash compactor. While poetic (as a call back to episode IV) and amusing, it also somehow felt unreal. After reading Phasma, by Dawson, I can’t help but think of that scene as even that much more ludicrous. Only Chewie allows me to accept it as reasonable. The Captain is both too skilled, too resilient, and too well equipped to have let that happen without exoneration of some sort.
Seeing Kelly tackle this head on brought a childlike joy to my heart. When she emerges from the trash compactor, Phasma’s first order of duty was to try to cover up what the Resistance had forced her to do, and nearly succeeded. In Star Wars Episode VII, Han, Finn and Chewie force Phasma to power down the shields protecting Starkiller base so that the X-Wings can do damage on their bombing runs. What looks like is happening in this issue is Captain Phasma attempting to delete any history of her ever powering the shields down as to not be traced back to her. She succeeds, but then confirms that a Lieutenant Sol Rivas accessed the system just a few minutes after, retrieving this information. She makes her mission to hunt him down.
What I like most about this, is that on the initial read I didn’t catch on to what was going on. Throughout the issue, Captain Phasma is recording a mission log explaining what happened in Starkiller Base’s final moments. She’s doing one thing, while recording something else. As she hunts down the one man who has information on her authorizing the shutdown of the base’s shields she’s recording that he is the one who shut them down, and that she was pursuing him to make him pay for his actions with his life. It’s a clever way of telling the story while speaking volumes to her character.
Based on the novel, Phasma, the woman is the prime example of “The Fittest” that will survive in any given situation. This means that when she is held up at gunpoint, in order to survive she was willing to allow the destruction of the base as opposed to her dying for the First Order. She isn’t the type to be a martyr because her life and status are her primary priorities. Here, as she hunts down this fleeing lieutenant, she further solidifies who she really is. She is First Order so long as it serves her best, but the moment it or anything else threatens her, she adapts to survive. Period.
The art in this comic is simply gorgeous as the art on all the Star Wars’ books are. I truly, truly appreciate the standards and level of quality they put into this work. They express that far away galaxy as it should and only could be expressed on the pages of a comicbook. The beauty makes us realize why the comicbook medium is necessary for telling Star Wars’ stories. The action scenes make for awesome storytelling and based on this issue alone I want to count Andres Mossa as one of the best colorists in the business. Truly breathtaking visual work.
I really appreciate Thompson’s work, and I love even more her intimate understanding and expression of Phasma. The Star Wars universe is something very near and dear to me, and seeing the characters defined and written with intricate consistency makes my heart leap for joy. I highly, highly recommend that you list and read Captain Phasma for an epic storytelling experience as well as prep for Star Wars Episode VIII, coming out in December.