Captain Phasma #1 Review

by Dennis Keithly

In a tale spinning from The Force Awakens, the First Order’s enforcer escapes from Starkiller Base in Captain Phasma #1.

This article contains plot details for Captain Phasma #1.

Captain Phasma #1 Cover

Captain Phasma #1

Writer: Kelly Thompson | Artist: Marco Checchetto | Colorist: Andres Mossa | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Cover: Paul Renaud | Assistant Editor: Heather Antos | Editor: Jordan D. White

Marvel Star Wars comic readers already know that Captain Phasma escaped from Starkiller Base before its destruction in The Force Awakens. Readers know this because Gwendoline Christie, the actress portraying Phasma, is in The Last Jedi. In addition, Captain Phasma appears in the teaser for the upcoming film as well. During the final act of The Force Awakens, Han Solo and Finn discussed dumping Phasma in a trash compactor. Captain Phasma #1 begins the story of how Phasma escaped from the trash compactor, Starkiller Base, and began a mission to cover her tracks.

The Captain’s Problem

Captain Phasma has a compounded problem. First, she is stuck inside the trash compactor. Second, she is responsible for lowering Starkiller Base’s shields and allowing the Resistance to attack the First Order’s most powerful weapon. Should she escape with her life, she is guilty of treason even though she was under duress. Fortunately for her, a solution to both problems presents itself quickly.

Captain Phasma #1 begins with a panel in which Phasma records notes detailing the final moments of Starkiller Base. The very next panel occurs ten minutes earlier. Therefore, Phasma’s escape and the following pursuit (more on that in a moment), and other actions occurred in only ten minutes.

Captain Phasma #1 - Phasma and Troopers

The Solutions

The trash compactor detained Phasma only briefly. An apparent errant blast from the battle between the Resistance and First Order made a huge hole in the exterior wall of the compactor. The whole made a convenient escape for Phasma. The narration boxes are from Phasma’s notes. These boxes indicate Phasma “proceeded to the most immediate computer access point to ascertain how the shield defense might have been penetrated.”

Phasma is, of couse, lying. She already knew how the shields were penetrated because she deactivated them. This is incredibly inconvenient for her. She used her personal code in deactivating the shields, and this could theoretically get traced back to her. Therefore, under the guise of investigation, she accesses the terminal and deletes the record.

The Cover

Once Phasma deletes the records, it occurs to her that someone else might have accessed the defense system. On the one hand, this is a problem. Someone might know she deactivated the shields without any context. On the other hand, this presents an opportunity. She could frame whomever it was for her own act of treason. Therefore, Phasma checks the records and learns someone did indeed access the system after her, a lieutenant named Sol Rivas. His access occurred seven minutes after she deactivated the shields.

However, that doesn’t stop Phasma. She reports in her notes that Rivas deactivated the shields at the precise moment she did. Now she has a scapegoat. Time to kill the scapegoat.

Captain Phasma #1 - Gadget

The Hunt

Time was of the essence for Phasma. She immediately began her hunt for Lieutenant Rivas. Phasma quickly caught up to him, but the instability of Starkiller Base made him elusive. Eventually she tracked him down to a hangar and commandeered a TIE Fighter to continue his pursuit. Rivas already departed the planet.

What Makes Captain Phasma #1 Work

Several elements combine and make Captain Phasma #1 a fascinating and captivating read. First, the art by Marco Checchetto is top notch. In addition, the coloring provided by Andres Mossa expertly blends with Checchetto’s work. Captain Phasma’s armor presents a challenge with a book like Captain Phasma. For one thing, her armor is reflective. For another, there are plenty of explosions and varying light sources on Starkiller Base that reflect in her armor. Regardless, Mossa and Checcheto make her armor convincing. In addition, Phasma is just menacing looking.

The next element contributing to the success of this book is the writing. Kelly Thompson nailed Phasma’s personality, or at least what many Star Wars fans imagine her personality to be. She is cold and ruthless. The report she crafts is economical and efficient. She doesn’t waste words. Also, Phasma is methodical. A number of obstacles (chasms, explosions, etc.) arise, and she overcomes them. Phasma simply notes “continued explosions and destabilization of the planet prove problematic.” Perfect.

Third, there is a sense of urgency. Captain Phasma #1 informs readers immediately that the story of this issue is ten minutes long. Starkiller Base crumbles around Phasma. She never panics. Instead, she methodically goes about her business and then stalks Lieutenant Rivas. Phasma has a personality many wish Boba Fett had.

Captain Phasma #1 - TIE Pilot

Concluding Thoughts on Captain Phasma #1

Captain Phasma #1 reads like the perfect post-The Force Awakens and pre-The Last Jedi story. It bridges the two movies and provides connective tissue. This issue explores an interesting aspect of Phasma’s personality. She has a duplicitous nature. Furthermore, she is willing to sacrifice Lieutenant Rivas for her own gain. One might expect later issues will reveal an alternative motive. However, at the moment, Phasma looks like she is saving her own skin in the face of likely accusations of treason.

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