Review: Captain Phasma

Fall 2017 should probably be known as the Season of Phasma. First the Phasma novel graced our shelves and now the fantastic Captain Phasma comic by Kelly Thompson and Marco Checchetto is here in collected trade paperback form. By their powers combined, they give Star Wars fans a better sense of just what it is that makes Phasma tick and why you should never ever be on her bad side.

Despite the comic book being marketed as how Phasma gets out of the trash compactor, the comic spends absolutely no time on the particulars and the good Captain leaves Starkiller Base behind entirely by the end of Issue 1. If we’ve learned anything over the last few months, it is that Phasma will do whatever it takes to survive and she doesn’t care who gets in her way. In this particular situation, that means lowering the shield and then subsequently erasing any proof that she did so and hunting down Lieutenant Rivas so he can’t ruin her secret. Along the way, she recruits pilot TN-3465 and an entire society on a planet that reminds her of Parnassoss. Obviously this is going to go well for everyone involved.

While the comic can certainly stand on its own, reading Delilah Dawson’s novel beforehand really adds to the experience especially in the brief, several panel flashback to Siv, Torben, and Frey that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Knowledge of how Phasma handles situations gives the comic a sense of impending doom throughout. Her time on Luprora serves as a nice mirror to her final days on Parnassos.

On a non-Phasma note, I rather liked TN-3465. She’s a TIE pilot who ends up getting pulled into this adventure whether she wants to be or not. While she’s just a side player in Phasma’s plan, it’s interesting to consider what this mission might feel like for her. Is this the first time she’s ever worn clothes that weren’t First Order issued? Does she actually have a name that her squad mates use? Would she have even made it off of Starkiller Base if Phasma hadn’t ordered her to fly them away? She’s a nice addition to a book that helps bring a more human note to Phasma’s story. (She and Siv should be friends.)

Marco Checchetto continues to be a delightful artist choice for Star Wars especially when they let him draw the slightly more weird. Checchetto’s style combined with Mossa’s colors really are a winning combination that I hope we continue to see in this universe.

Captain Phasma is a fast, four issue read that’s worth your time and money for both the story and the artwork. Pick up this in tandem with the novel and you won’t regret it.

Captain Phasma: Kelly Thompson/Writer, Marco Checchetto/Artist, Andres Mossa/Colorist, Clayton Cowles/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Star Wars Annual #2

In a shocking turn of events, it’s looking like the Star Wars Annuals might actually be Annual! I hope that they continue to be (and that they continue to be standalone stories with characters who appear in the book later.)

Excitingly, we get to add another woman to the list of female creators for Star Wars as Kelly Thompson takes on writing duties. Marvel fans will know her from A-Force and she’s a great pick for a story that centers around two women. The story centers around Pash Davane (aka Bash) who used to be an underwater engineer but is now stuck lugging around crates. She’s not terribly fond of the Rebellion and yet she still finds herself helping the one and only Princess Leia out of a very tight corner. For some reason.

Thompson tells a fun and engaging story that gives us a better idea of how the normal person might see the war between the Rebellion and the Empire. That’s something that Star Wars in general has been striving to do more of with the new canon and I like it. Pash is likeable and believable. Thompson also rights a pretty darn decent Leia. I’d definitely be interested to see more of her Star Wars work.

Unfortunately, I have mixed thoughts on Emilio Laizo’s artwork. While I love that Pash breaks away from the standard one female body types and that she actually looks like a big, muscular woman, Leia’s tragically subjected to a few too many awkward poses that are clearly intended to be sexy. It stands out just a little too much especially in comparison to the rest of the art on the Star Wars line. On the other hand, it’s wonderful to see Rachelle Rosenberg doing colors on a Star Wars book again though! Her work on Legacy Volume 2 was lovely and continues to be so here.

But hey! There’s a nice little nod to Firefly on the very first page which is always fun and there are even art cameos by the esteemed editors of this book. How can you not appreciate this book just for those?

Star Wars Annual #2: Kelly Thompson/Writer, Emilio Laiso/Artist, Rachelle Rosenberg/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Editor/Jordan White, Assistant Editor: Heather Antos